Ratibida columnifera

Mexican Hat Flower (Upright prairie coneflower): How to Grow and Care

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One of the easiest plants to remember! You will not forget this flower’s name or shape, because the Mexican hat flower indeed resembles a Mexican “sombrero’’ (hat). This early bloomer will surely bring a smile to your face whenever you see it.

So, keep on reading and find out everything you need to know about Mexican hat flowers.

Facts about Ratibida Columnifera

The Mexican hat flower or Upright prairie coneflower is also scientifically known as Ratibida columnifera, and they belong to the Asteraceae or the (Aster) family of plants.

mexican hat flower close up

Because Mexican hat is one of those common Mexican flowers, many people will think they can only be found in Mexico, the truth is these plants are located in the western part of North America. Talk about confusion, hey!?

Not only are Mexican hat flowers easy to maintain, but they are also very drought-resistant, as they have tall stems that help them cool down whenever the weather is too hot. However, they prefer well-drained soil, as they will need it to thrive.

They also like to be placed directly under the sun, as they need to attract pollinators looking and interested in the flower’s valuable nectar.

This unique flower has interesting-looking blooms, as they tend to have oval petals with a central brown or red cone. They have dark red and yellow petals and a very long stem! Although it is not uncommon to see some flowers with only yellow petals or with only dark red petals.

upright prairie coneflower

If you are looking into planting a hardy perennial, look no further, the Ratibida columnifera flower is the one for your garden! 

How to Grow and Care for Mexican Hat Flowers

As stated before, growing Mexican hat flowers is straightforward; you will need two things: patience and lots of space as they tend to spread out quickly! But even if you don’t have enough space to have many of this type of flower, you can still control them and their growth.

How and When to Plant Mexican Hat

mexican hat flowers

The Mexican hat flower needs to be exposed to full sun; otherwise, they won’t develop fully. They also need to have well-drained soil; however, they are drought-tolerant, so if you forget to water them for a couple of days (or even weeks), you won’t kill the plant!

They are grown from seed; you need to sow directly onto the soil in fall (if you live in a warm area) or spring (if you live in a colder climate). Keep in mind that they won’t flower for a year or two, as this will depend on how hot it is where you are.

Pests and Diseases

When I tell you that Mexican hat flowers are easy to grow, I mean it! They won’t get eaten by any insects, and they won’t present many diseases if you basically forget about them! 

It sounds surreal, but it is the case. You do have to keep in mind that you shouldn’t overwater the plant, otherwise, it could suffer from root rot. But, apart from this particular disease, these plants are very easy to maintain. 

Planting Location

Ideally, you will have enough space in your garden, and you will plant these flowers there. They won’t do well indoors, especially if you live in a cold climate.

However, once you have grown them, you can place them indoors in beautiful containers. They will bring a pleasant scent to your house, and they will also catch everybody’s attention as they are truly unique! 

Mexican Hat Flower Uses

This plant has been used in several different ways throughout generations, such as:

  • It is used to make sunny borders in the garden.
  • It is used as an ornamental plant; ideally, you would have more than one to make a more significant impact.
  • They can be used to improve a patch in your garden. If you have an area that receives lots of sunlight and has no idea what to plant there, you should definitely plant Mexican hat flowers!


Here are a few of the frequently asked questions about Mexican hat flower:

How do you harvest its seeds?

If you already have a Mexican hat flower (or more) and think about harvesting its seeds, you should do so immediately! Did you know you could get more than 50 seeds from one single flower? If this is the case, you could plant all of them, and then you will have a higher yield!

You only need to wait until the blooms have entirely dried up, and you will see some seed heads in the plant. It would be best if you then rolled your fingers slowly throughout this area, and you will soon be able to see all of the seeds in your hand.

Be careful not to drop them, although they are big and visible to our eyes! If you would like to store them for next season, I would advise you to look for a cool but dry place and put the seeds there. 

You can then make a small paper bag and save them in it until you are ready to fill up your garden with Mexican hat flowers.

Are Mexican hat flowers edible?

Apparently, Native Americans use this flower to make a strong tea, which would combat the common flu. However, you must always ask your doctor before consuming this flower!

Native Americans also use the flower to create beautiful and different inks.


As you can see, if you are looking into having an interesting looking yet easy to maintain flower, then you must plant the Mexican hat flower in your garden. 

Not only will you attract pollinators who can even help the rest of your garden, but you will also have a sea of red and yellow flowers which will make your house look even better! And they are so easy to plant you can even forget about them, and they will still thrive!

More more easy to grow flowers, check this list: https://florgeous.com/types-of-flowers/

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