How To Harvest Purple Coneflower Seeds

Although the first step might seem straightforward, it is significantly more crucial than you might realize. Once you have recognized certain plants, you can determine whether they are actual native species or cultivars if they are found in the wild.

However, you should be mindful that the plant might be a hybrid if you plan to save seeds from a neighbor’s strangely colored (orange, white, or red) coneflower. The seeds will produce a different flower if it is a hybrid. (More information is provided at the article’s end.)

Collect seed heads

The seeds will begin to form a few weeks after the flowers have finished blooming. There are really two locations on the seed head of echinacea where seeds can be gathered. both inside the actual “cone” of the cone flower as well as at the base of each petal.

Echinacea seed heads can be harvested whenever they begin to turn brown or dry out. Either 5 or 6 below the seed head is where you should make the cut. Alternately, hold the seed head gently and make an incision immediately below it. These should go in a paper bag.

Before harvesting, you should allow the seed heads to completely dry out. Alternatively, you could give the seeds themselves a week to completely dry out.

Remove seed from the seed head

Here’s where my method for preserving echinacea seeds shines the brightest! The “cone” or seed head is highly thorny and unpleasant to handle, as you are already aware. Therefore, we will do something far better than using clippers to cut the seed head open and release the seeds.

Obtain a container with a minimum 6 diameter and 6 height, such as a used coffee can made of plastic. Place a few seed heads into the coffee can, shut the lid, and give it a good shake! The seed will come free from the cones after shaking for roughly 10 to 20 seconds.

Simply lift the top and take out the (now-empty) coneflower seed heads at that point. The majority of the good, live Echinacea seed will be what is left in the can (and a small amount of chaff). The seed can now be allowed to dry for another week or two on a plate or in a cool, dry area (and not in direct sunlight).

Sift the seed to remove chaff (Optional)

I also have another suggestion if you don’t want some chaff mixed in with your seed. A standard kitchen strainer can be used to get rid of the chaff. Simply pour the seed/chaff mixture into a strainer and twirl it around lightly.

Most of the chaff will either fall or blow away if you do this outside. Much of it will fall through the strainer if it is inside. Everything depends on you. Hey, to each their own, but I don’t mind the chaff.

Store the seed

I keep my echinacea seeds in a variety of plastic jars or containers. Zip-lock bags or plastic baggies also work well. I’ve found that the seed will remain healthy for a number of years following harvest. However, the proportion of seeds that will sprout gradually declines with time.

Additionally, I have uploaded a video to YouTube that details the procedure. In order for you to witness the entire procedure from beginning to end in action, I’ve provided a link to the video below.

Want to know the best techniques for germination of echinacea? Below is a thorough description of how to cultivate coneflower from seed that addresses any and all queries (stratification, planting depths, etc).

How are purple coneflowers grown from seeds?

One of the simplest perennials to raise from seed is echinacea. It is a perennial herbaceous flower that is popular for flower beds and is indigenous to North America. Over the years, I’ve successfully sown hundreds of coneflower seeds, and I’ll offer my step-by-step instructions below!

Direct sowing or planting seeds in seed starting pots at a depth of 3-6 mm is required for echinacea or coneflower. Leave them in a spot that receives morning sun and afternoon shade, and keep the soil moist (not wet). Normally, seeds germination takes two to three weeks.

As the most popular variety of Coneflower and one that does not require any cold, moist stratification to attain a high germination rate, Echinacea Purpurea will be the focus of this essay. Other Echinacea species will need to be stratified in the cold or sown in the winter.

Materials Required

  • Pots this can be a straightforward six-pack for starting seeds or even just an old plastic container with drainage holes punched into the bottom.
  • Seed starting mix or potting soil
  • small trowel or shovel for the garden
  • watering bottle with sprayer
  • Seeds
  • Note
  • You can read our article here to find out how simple it is to save your own Echinacea purpurea seeds.

How to plant Echinacea or Coneflower Seeds in Pots or in the ground

  • To about 1/2 (12 mm) below the top of the pot, add moist potting soil. It is easiest to hydrate your soil in a bucket before adding it to the pot, even though it should be damp. Spraying water into the container as you add soil, though, will make it simple for you to do. You want the soil to be damp, not drenched.
  • Put three to five seeds in each cell or container. In the dirt, firmly press them.
  • Water after applying 1/8 to 1/4 of the soil (3-6 mm) over the seeds.
  • Place the seeds in a wet spot that will receive morning sun.
  • Within two to four weeks, germination ought to take place.
  • The seedlings must then be taken care of until they are several inches tall. placing them in their ultimate location at last.
  • Be aware that rabbits enjoy eating immature echinacea plants. The first year, you might want to protect them with chicken wire or liquid fence (at least).

Enjoy this quick film I produced about my seed shop planting process from a few years back!

Some notes about watering, and how moist should ‘moist soil’ be

I usually water any seeds I’m germination in the mornings before I leave for work. I water them till the soil is black and moist and the pot feels heavy when the weather forecast calls for sunny days or warm temperatures. In this manner, I am able to ensure that the dirt in the pot is moist to the top.

I’ll check to see whether they need to be watered once more when I get back in the afternoon. I will use a pump sprayer to add more water if the pot seems light in weight or the top of the soil is really dry. I’ll keep doing these two things up until germination.

I won’t water in the afternoon and seldom ever at night once the seeds have sprouted and I have seedlings. I stay away from this because of a condition called damp-off disease. A fungus called damp-off disease has the power to weaken stems and kill young seedlings. Therefore, it is better to avoid letting the seedling sit in totally saturated soil for an extended period of time.

How and When to Transplant Echinacea

Your seedlings are more than ready to be planted in their permanent position once they reach a height of 3 to 4 inches.

  • Create a hole that is twice as broad and slightly deeper than the pot.
  • At the bottom of the hole, place a handful of compost and gently stir it in.
  • Wait for the water to drain after watering the hole.
  • Put down your Echinace and cover the pot with soil. Consolidate the soil.
  • Keep your seedling safe. Apply liquid fence; it truly works; alternatively enclose the plant with chicken wire and stake it.

Your seedlings can be transplanted in the summer. Just be aware that if it’s in a drought-prone area, it might need more water for a few weeks. Your seedling can be planted whenever nature permits! So long as the ground isn’t frozen, you can plant the plant even in December. Even if it is cold above ground, the roots will still grow and establish themselves perfectly well.

How long does it take to grow Echinacea from Seed?

Echinacea typically doesn’t bloom until the second year following seed germination. A huge perennial plant is echinacea. The first year, you often won’t have any flowers. On the ground, it will only resemble a big plant with leaves.

If you are fortunate enough to experience a bloom, it will often consist of a single stalk or flower and take place considerably later in the year than usual. But Echinacea will start to blossom in its second year. If planted in the full sun and well-drained soil, which are ideal circumstances for echinacea, you will be treated to a huge show in the plant’s third year of existence.

How should coneflower seeds be stored and planted?

Take up the challenge of growing coneflowers from seed. Coneflower seeds are fairly obvious in gardens. They are hidden inside the sharp, spherical balls that remain when flower petals wilt. Echinacea seeds aren’t difficult to gather, and with the right techniques, they’re even simpler to grow. Find out how to collect and nurture coneflower seeds.

The garden is awash in a variety of flower hues and plant sizes thanks to modern coneflower cultivars. However, it’s a good idea to start with one of the straight species, such purple coneflower (Echinacea purpurea) or Tennessee coneflower, if you intend to grow coneflower seeds (Echinacea tennesseensis). Strong viability means that there is a good chance that these coneflower seeds will sprout.

Many contemporary hybrids’ echinacea seeds are only partially viable and occasionally sprout. Hybrids can occasionally be infertile. Additionally, keep in mind that hybrids do not reproduce from seed, so planting hybrid coneflower seeds may not result in the precise plant you desire. Include at least two different coneflower plants in your garden if you intend to save seeds because all coneflowers have a certain proportion of sterile seeds.

Snip flower stalks after petals have fallen off to preserve coneflower seeds. Cut the stem as long as you can. This stem should be inserted into a paper bag with the spikey flower head facing the bottom of the bag. More than one stem can fit in a single bag. Using a rubber band, twist tie, or piece of twine, secure the bag around the stem’s base. The bag should be hung in a basement, dry garage, or closet. Seeds from dried flower heads will drop into the bag. The coneflower seed looks like a little white triangle.

After the seeds have germinated, separate them from the dreary chaff and let them air dry for a few days. Echinacea seeds should be kept in a cool, dry area. Put seeds in sealed jars and place them in the refrigerator for long-term preservation. Coneflower seeds are best planted within a year of harvest, even though they can be stored for as least seven years.

Even plant scientists disagree on the subject of whether the stratification process is necessary for the germination of coneflower seeds. Many backyard growers who use winter sowing techniques report great germination outcomes. Seedlings should be separated and tucked into the garden in the spring. Additionally, you can move seedlings into pots to allow them to mature before being incorporated into a landscape planting. This is a smart move if your garden attracts animals that eat plants, such as deer, squirrels, or rabbits.

Since many of the new coneflower hybrids are patented types, it is against the law to produce more of them. Plant patent owners normally have nothing against a home gardener cultivating a few coneflower plants from seed for their own garden. But you shouldn’t increase the number of patented coneflowers for sale or for use by others.

Allowing seed heads to ripen and dry on plants is another method for growing coneflower seeds. Break separate seed heads in the fall and scatter seeds where you wish new coneflowers to appear. Alternately, let coneflowers self-seed naturally. When produced from seed, the majority of coneflowers take two growing seasons to flower.

Do purple coneflowers reproduce on their own?

I’ve cultivated countless coneflowers of various types over the years. I now fully understand how coneflowers proliferate and how to handle them. So let me share what I’ve discovered with you.

Coneflowers reproduce through self-seeding and developing a deeper root system. Coneflowers do not, however, spread their roots and take over gardens (rhizomes). Each Spring, a coneflower plant may produce several seedlings, and its root mass may enlarge by one to two diameters. However, it won’t produce runner roots.

So, if you’re interested in learning how far a coneflower will spread, continue reading and check out the images.

Do coneflowers need to be deadheaded?

Coneflowers can also be pruned in the summer. Pruning, meanwhile, does not appear the same in the summer as it does in the spring or fall. When you prune in the summer, it is more akin to “dead heading” and bouquet-making trimming. Unlike in the fall or spring, you won’t want to completely prune your plant.

In order to deadhead your coneflowers in the summer, you must remove bloom-expiring flowers. Deadheading is frequently done to maintain the plant’s appearance, stop seed production, and promote new blooms on the plant.

Did you know that cutting the flowers will increase the amount of blooming in many coneflower species? It’s true that cutting your flowers to enjoy indoors can frequently lead to even more blooms all summer long. So pull out the scissors and enjoy the lovely blooms both inside and outside.