Echinacea needs full to partial sun to grow well. At least four hours of sunlight every day are required for plants. Since the plants are native to woodland borders, they will flourish in locations with morning shade and afternoon light, or the opposite.
Echinacea may thrive in rocky, poor soil, but not in soggy, waterlogged soil. Compost should be used as a mulch around newly planted plants.
Coneflowers grow in clumps and require space. One plant will typically grow bigger, but it won’t spread through roots or rhizomes and take over the entire garden. Check the mature size stated in the plant description to help you choose the appropriate spacing because the final size of the plant clump depends on the cultivar. Leave 18 inches between plants if it is anticipated that they will spread to be 18 inches broad. Echinacea must be planted where you want them since they have deep taproots. They dislike being relocated after being established.
Echinacea plants should be planted in well-drained soil in full to part sun in the spring or the fall. Echinacea is also simple to cultivate from seed, but it needs a period of stratification—a cold, damp time—in order to germinate. In the fall, scatter seeds widely (after hard frost in the north and prior to winter rains elsewhere), lightly covering them to deter birds from eating them. In the spring, seeds will begin to sprout. One benefit of starting with transplants is that the majority of plants will bloom during the second year.
Coneflowers reproduce by seeding themselves. Each flower contains petals and a center cone. Each petal has a seed affixed to the base where it links to the cone, and the cone produces many seeds (this is called a ray flower). Many seeds are produced by each bloom, some of which will unavoidably fall to the ground. Particularly Goldfinches will land on dried seed heads and gather the seeds. If a mouse or another bird doesn’t eat the seeds that fall to the ground during this procedure, they can germinate the following Spring.
Coneflowers will grow in numbers if the soil is disturbed and there is an abundance of seed that falls from the wasted flower.
Due to their fibrous root systems, this only applies to the common Purple Coneflower, Echinacea purpurea, and its hybrids. Each year, a coneflower’s center root mass expands in size, finally reaching a diameter of 2′. To keep the plant healthy and appealing, divide the coneflower root mass once it reaches this size. The issue is that the center of the root mass will die, leaving a hole in the plant’s center for the upcoming growing season.
Coneflower spreads readily, right?
- Before cutting down to the ground to get ready for fresh growth in the spring, let plants stand through the winter to provide food for wildlife.
Coneflowers are a must-grow if you appreciate watching pollinators buzz and flit about lovely, trouble-free flowers that bloom for a long time. Although purple coneflowers (Echinacea purpurea) are the most prevalent, there are many new coneflower cultivars available in a rainbow of cheery hues, including pink, yellow, orange, red, and white. These flowers don’t just provide joy for a short time; they return year after year because they are perennials.
Because of the “cone that starts to poke up in the center of the circle of petals as each flower matures, coneflowers get their name. Actually, this is a group of seed heads that, when allowed to dry on the plant, serve as Mother Nature’s bird feeder, luring a large number of cardinals, goldfinches, and other hungry birds.
How to Choose Coneflowers
Which of the dozens of different coneflower kinds should you grow? The quickest response is: whichever ones you deem attractive and have room for (check the plant tag for info on this). Want some recommendations? Use these
- There are numerous native coneflower species, but the purple coneflower, which typically reaches heights of 2 to 4 feet, is the most well-known.
- ‘White Swan’ is a well-known selection that grows up to 4 feet tall and has big white flowers among other widely available varieties.
- A lot of dwarf coneflower types, like “Kim’s Knee High,” remain fairly compact (with pinkish-purple flowers). If you have a small garden, consider planting these because you will get many blooms in a small amount of space.
- Coneflower varieties are also available that hardly resemble coneflowers at all, like hybrid double types with two rows of petals. Just be mindful that some of plants produce flowers that fade more quickly than others in the garden.
Where to Plant Coneflowers
Coneflowers should be planted in an area with at least 6 to 8 hours of sunlight per day. However, in warmer climates (zones 8 and higher), a little midday shadow is beneficial because it will prevent the blooms from fading. As a result of their clump-forming nature, these plants won’t spread as widely as some other perennials. If you leave blossoms in situ, many of the older kinds may self-seed, which is a simple way to grow new plants!
When to Plant Coneflowers
Coneflowers grow best in the spring, after all threat of frost has passed. You can plant in the early fall as well. Just make sure your new plants have at least 6 weeks before the first anticipated frost to form roots; otherwise, they might not reappear in the spring.
How to Prepare the Soil for Planting Coneflowers
Coneflower roots need a healthy environment to flourish, so strengthen your natural in-ground soil by adding 3 inches of Miracle-Gro Garden Soil for Flowers to the top 6 inches of soil. The Moisture Control technology in this nutrient-rich garden soil helps to safeguard plants when they unintentionally receive too much or too little water. Additionally, if you use Miracle-Gro soil and plant food (and adhere to all instructions), you’ll get up to three times as many blossoms during the growing season (compared to unfed), so be sure to read the part below on “How to Feed Coneflowers.” Just one coneflower planted? Make a hole, then mix garden soil and the recently excavated earth 50:50.
How to Plant Coneflowers
1. Determine the location where you’ll plant your coneflowers, making sure to allow enough room between each plant. (The plant tag ought should indicate how much room you need.)
2. Create a hole for each plant that is identical in depth and width to the root ball.
3. To give root growth a boost for the first 30 days, drop a Miracle-Gro Quick Start Planting Tablet into the planting hole (as per the instructions on the label).
4. Remove a coneflower plant from its pot and insert it into the gap. The top of the root ball should be level with the surrounding soil.
5. Fill in the area surrounding the plant and firm up the dirt there.
6. Water sources.
7. Spread a 3-inch layer of mulch around the plant, being careful not to let it contact the stem, to help keep the soil moist and to block sunlight so weeds can’t develop.
How to Stake Coneflowers
Coneflowers rarely need to be staked because of their sturdy branches and large flowerheads. However, if you do encounter floppy plants, drive a strong stake close to the middle of the plant (avoid going through the plant), and then loosely wrap twine around the stake and the individual stems. Or, you might spend money on a spherical flower clumping stake. In either case, the finished product should appear natural, not constricted around the plant’s middle.
How to Water Coneflowers
Coneflowers can tolerate drought pretty well once they’ve had some time to establish themselves. Check on them every other day after planting; if the top inch of soil is dry, thoroughly water. Your coneflowers’ droopy leaves are another indication that they need water. Coneflowers shouldn’t require watering after a full growth season in the garden unless it hasn’t rained in at least two months.
How to Feed Coneflowers
Want a ton of lovely flowers? As soon as fresh leaves begin to grow in the spring, begin feeding your coneflowers Miracle-Gro Water Soluble Bloom Booster Plant Food. Your plants will grow bigger and produce more blooms as a result of this flower feast, which gets to work right away. Additionally, since you may apply water-soluble fertilizer when watering, it won’t require any extra time to do so.
How to Deadhead and Prune Coneflowers
Deadhead coneflowers frequently at the start of the bloom season to promote greater flowering by removing the faded blossoms before they set seed. Always prune back to a leaf or section of the stem where a new bud is visible. You can just leave them alone later in the season when the plant starts to produce fewer blooms.
To feed the birds over the winter, let the plants alone. Prune them to the ground in late winter. In the early spring, leaves will appear at ground level, soon to be followed by flower stalks.
Try this simple trimming tip to prolong the blooming period of your plants’ coneflowers by at least a season. Cut back some of the stems by half as they start to grow again in the spring to postpone flowering on those stalks. The cut stems will lend their beauty a bit later in the season after the uncut stems have finished blooming.
Can I Divide Coneflowers?
Coneflowers don’t require dividing like some perennials do in order to thrive. They are difficult to divide because each plant has a single taproot. Therefore, simply let them be.
Coneflowers will they return each year?
Yes, because echinacea is such a prolific self-seeder, it will come back every year and frequently in the most unexpected places.
The perennial echinacea is resilient and can withstand extremely chilly winters. Plants go dormant in the winter and reappear in the spring; you should prune them back at this time for the summer.
An important component of the appeal of these perennial favorites is the ease with which they can be grown.
Coneflowers: Do they self-seed?
Despite the fact that the majority of us would want to spend the entire day in our gardens, real life interferes. Instead, we choose simple, low-maintenance plants that, despite only requiring a few minutes here and there of care, give the impression that we spent hours in the garden. Coneflower is a plant that I frequently recommend since it can withstand poor soil, extreme heat, drought, full sun to part shade, and it blooms continually whether you deadhead it or not.
Aren’t coneflowers sounding quite good right now? Getting better Echinacea attracts and feeds pollinators and a variety of butterflies when it is in bloom (such as Fritillaries, Swallowtails, Skippers, Viceroy, Red Admiral, American Lady, Painted Lady, and Silvery Checkerspot).
After they stop blooming, their seed-covered “cones serve as a valuable source of food for many birds from late summer to winter (such as goldfinches, chickadees, blue jays, cardinals, and pine siskins). Therefore, when people ask me about deadheading Echinacea plants, I normally advise them to only do it during the flowering period in order to keep the plant looking lovely, but to leave fallen flowers in the late summer to early winter for the birds.
In order to stop Echinacea from reseeding itself all over the garden, you can also deadhead it. Older forms of coneflower can self-seed, though not quite as aggressively as Rudbeckia. Newer hybrids typically do not self-sow and do not generate viable seed. Birds aren’t really interested in these more recent hybrids either.
How big can a coneflower grow?
Exposure: Depends on the species and the region, but most species prefer full sun. Some people can handle some afternoon shade, which can help prevent burning in southern locations with higher summer temperatures. (View further full-sun perennials.)
Bloom time: Depends on the species and cultivar, but is often between June and August or later.
The purple coneflower is the most well-known kind, although there are also pink, red, orange, white, yellow, and green options.
Types: Although gardeners are best familiar with the purple coneflower, Echinacea purpurea, there are other variations as well, such as E. paradoxa, E. pallida, and E. tennesseensis. They may all be found in the Midwest and South and are all native to the United States. In herbal medicines, Echinacea purpurea, E. angustifolia, and E. pallida are frequently utilized.
Coneflowers are resistant to deer. Many gardeners claim to be resistant to deer. Deer are deterred by their spiky cores and pungent fragrance. Deer will, however, consume nearly anything if they are sufficiently hungry. Rabbits, squirrels, and woodchucks are some other animals that might have a taste.
Do butterflies and bees flock to coneflowers? Coneflowers should be planted in your garden if you wish to attract butterflies and songbirds. Throughout the summer and fall, the blooms and seed heads will draw a large number of winged beauties for weeks or perhaps months. Each composite bloom, which is actually a tightly packed arrangement of ray and disk flowers, provides butterflies with a plentiful banquet. Echinacea will attract a variety of pollinators, including hummingbirds and honeybees. View more Hummingbird-Friendly Flowers & Plants for Bees.
In front of coneflowers, what should I plant?
A rayed blossom with a width of 2 to 4 inches (5 to 10 cm) is produced by echinacea. Consider different blooming plants as well as foliage queens when deciding what to put alongside coneflowers to enhance their appeal. Use of all native plants as Echinacea’s partners in a garden is another idea to take into account. Eastern and central North America are where echinacea is originally from. These hardy American Department of Agriculture plant zones 3 to 9 easy bloomers are.
The perennial garden is ideal for native plants. Since they are native, they can easily adapt to the environment and don’t need as much maintenance as introduced species. The native plant butterfly weed, also known as Asclepias, is a great companion for Echinacea. It does draw butterflies and has vivid orange blooms.
The gaillardia has all the hues of a sunset, whilst the black-eyed susan delivers a bright yellow blossom with similar rays. While hardy geraniums produce a carpet of jewel tones and are a wonderful base plant in the bed, lupines come in a variety of tones and are an early season color.
How far apart should you grow coneflowers?
Echinacea, sometimes known as coneflowers, is a hardy perennial in the daisy family (Asteraceae). They are indigenous to the eastern and central United States, from Colorado to Texas in the south and the Great Lakes in the north. Here is how to cultivate this native American plant in your garden.
These quick-growing plants have a height range of 2 to 4 feet, blossom from midsummer till the first fall frost, and self-sow profusely. Coneflowers are named for their elevated, conical centers that draw bees and butterflies. The seed heads draw songbirds like goldfinches once they blossom. Once they are established in a conventional garden or a meadow of wildflowers, coneflowers enjoy the heat and are trouble-free.
The majority of echinacea species are purple (E. purpurea), but there are up to nine naturally occurring varieties that are yellow or purple (E. paradox). More sizes and colors are available with hybrids, but there are drawbacks as well: many of them lack genetic diversity and are sterile, which means they cannot produce viable seed.
The lower stem of the plant, which is frequently prickly, is referred to by its genus name Echinacea, which is derived from the Latin word for hedgehog, echinus. Coneflowers are so named because their elevated, cone-shaped centers are filled with seeds that draw butterflies. After bloom, leave the seed heads on the plant to draw in songbirds like goldfinches! They are less susceptible to deer than other floral plants since they are native plants with thorny stems.
When grown in large groups, coneflowers are spectacular, especially when they are a combination of different colors.
Coneflowers prefer soil that drains well and direct sunlight. Although coneflowers can thrive in a variety of soil types, nutrient-rich soil is where they bloom at their finest. 12 to 15 inches of loose soil should be added, along with a 2 to 4 inch layer of compost or aged manure. Pick a spot where the coneflowers won’t be shaded out or languish in soggy ground. If the correct circumstances exist, they will spread quickly. (Read up on how to get soil ready for planting.)
Coneflowers are typically purchased as little plants that will soon bloom. Planting time for these should be in the spring, early summer, or fall.
- Coneflowers should be planted while they are young and will bloom in the spring or early summer.
- Eight to ten weeks prior to the last spring frost date, seeds can be started inside. Alternately, plant them outside after the soil has warmed to at least 65°F (18°C). Plants grown from seeds are unlikely to blossom for two to three years.
- Note: Coneflower plants will rapidly self-seed if you don’t clip them back.
- Coneflowers should only be divided or moved in the spring or fall.
- Coneflowers should be spaced 1 to 3 feet apart, depending on the variety’s mature size.
- Dig a hole that is almost twice as wide as the pot if you are planting from one. The root ball of the plant should be level with the soil surface when it is placed. To the top of the root ball, fill in.
- At planting, give it plenty of water.
- To help keep plants wet and discourage weeds, cover the soil top with thin layers of compost, followed by mulch.
Learn more about the advantages of planting coneflowers by watching our video:
Coneflowers can withstand drought, although young plants require water from time to time, and more frequently if the spring is particularly dry.
- To help keep the plants wet and discourage weeds, mulch and compost in thin layers should be placed around them.
- Fertilizer is rarely needed in native soil. When you plant, make sure your soil has a lot of organic matter.
- If the spring is particularly dry or your coneflowers are recently planted, just add extra water in the late spring.
- When flowers start to fade, deadhead to extend the bloom duration. Trim stems to a leaf close to a bud. Late-season deadheading stops self-seeding and bird feeding.
- Optional: When coneflower plants bloom, prune them back by a foot to promote delayed blooming for fall enjoyment. Because coneflowers have a tendency to become lanky, this will result in later blossoming and more compact growth. For more evenly spaced bloom heights and periods, cut certain flowers but not others.
- August could bring on beneficial army beetles that resemble wasps. They pollinate plants and eat bug eggs and larvae. Avoid hurting them.
- In cooler areas, scatter mulch around plants in the late fall.
- When stems wilt or after a hard cold, trim them back to the soil line. Cut back in the late winter to encourage self-seeding. When cleaning up the garden in the late winter or early spring, prune back the plants.
- Optional: Think about allowing late-season flowers to develop on the plants. Birds will be drawn to the seed heads, which will encourage self-seeding. If you prefer not to have self-seeding, deadheading will stop it. Cut the dead flower back to a leaf where you can see a bud that is about to swell in order to deadhead.
- Coneflowers can be divided or moved in the spring or fall.