GROWING AND SAVING THE SEED OF ECHINACEA


Latin name Echinacea sp. is a cold-hardy perennial that can bloom in the first year if seeds are started in early spring. The hardy plants are a top choice for low- and no-water gardens; they are care-free and provide a long season of blooms.


 

HISTORY

Native to eastern and central North America, often found in moist to dry wooded areas and prairies, as well as roadsides. A popular folk remedy to boost the immune system and prevent communicable diseases.

USES

  • Herbal remedy plant, especially popular in tea
  • Perennial garden, wildflower meadow, landscape, beds, borders, large containers, cottage garden, cut flower production
  • Rehabilitation and restoration sites
  • Pollinator garden
  • Visited by butterflies including the swallowtail, native bees, beneficial wasps, and more
  • Goldfinches and other birds love the seeds
  • Hummingbird attractor

 


 

  • Seeds germinate in 10-30 days.
  • Start indoors 8-12 weeks before last frost or direct sow seeds outdoors before last frost (you can direct sow in the fall and allow seeds to sit over winter).
  • Sow seeds 1/4- 1/2 inch deep.
  • Ideal germination temperature is 65-70 F.
  • Keep soil relatively moist until germinated.

 

  • Plants are very adaptable and will tolerate a wide range of conditions, but will perform their very best when given full sun and rich, well-drained soil.
  • Space plants 12-24 inches apart.
  • Keep plants deadheaded to promote blooming.

PESTS/SPECIAL CONSIDERATIONS

A generally disease-free plant.

  • Be sure to keep echinacea free of powdery mildew and rots by not overcrowding plants.
  • Poor air circulation and very poorly drained soil can lead to fungal issues for the plants.

 

  • Allow the flowerhead containing the seeds to completely mature and dry on the plant, then clip off the flowerhead and place in a container.
  • Working over the top of another clean, opened container, rub the flowerheads between the palms, breaking them apart.
  • The small, blackish seeds can be separated from the chaff by first screening and then winnowing.