Purple coneflower (Echinacea purpurea) will self-seed but the new plants won't
always be exactly the same as the parent. Usually the color will vary somewhat
(among other things) and can be various shades of pink/purplish-pink. The more
different plants you have, the more potential variety, which is quite
fascinating year to year. If you're sure these are the same plants, bloom
color in general can be affected to some extent by prevailing conditions in the
habitat as well as cultural practices, but I'd have to leave that discussion to
botanists and the like.
I'm not sure what you mean by "annuals that act like perennials." Echinacea
purpurea is a perennial plant throughout its range and will come back from the
roots (as well as reseed prolifically. Black-eyed susan is the common name for
different species in the Rudbeckia genus. Some of these are true annuals, some
are tender perennials that act as annuals if grown in colder climates, some are
biennials or short-lived perennials, and some are hardy perennials.
nNJ usa z7, having the best purple coneflower year ever.....
Of course, you know that it is impossible for annuals to act like
Growing new plants from seed that flower the first year and reseed
themselves to come up from seed again in succeeding years is exactly what
annuals are supposed to do.
On the other hand there are many tender perennials that act like annuals
because they flower and fruit the first year from seed.
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