Growing Echinacea purpurea Purple Coneflower Plant

About growing Echinacea purpurea plants as garden ornaments. How to grow perennial coneflowers for greatest longevity and best bloom. Find out why it might be best to segregate purple coneflowers into their own garden bed.

Coneflowers Around Water Garden, Louisville, Kentucky, USA
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A coneflower garden is best sited in full sun. This will give the plants the energy they need to bloom most heavily. It will also give them the strength to grow strong, upright stems which will not require staking.

Purple coneflowers will flourish in any decent, quick draining soil. But they grow tallest in highly organic soil that holds moisture well.

It is better to dig copious amounts of compost into the planting bed before setting the plants in than to feed them frequently. Ideally, Echinacea plants should be fed only once per growing season, in the spring.

Too much plant food causes weak growth in the coneflower and can contribute to disease problems.

Because of this difference between growing Echinacea purpurea plants and most other garden plants, it is best to segregate them in a coneflower garden or plant them with annual herbs.

For best growth, provide supplemental water during dry stretches.

Echinacea plants are drought tolerant once established but they will not grow as lushly without sufficient water.

In fact, if you want 5 foot giant coneflowers, keep them moist. If you want shorter, more compact plants, let nature take over once the plants have become established.

Coneflower Seeds

Buy Echinacea, PowWow Wild Berry 1 Pkt. (10 seeds)

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Plants will self-sow prolifically if not deadheaded. The dried cones can be collected in late fall and the seed harvested and saved. But not all varieties will come true from seed.

Some of the hybrids can be grown from seed but the seedlings will revert if the plants are allowed to self-sow in the garden.

Established clumps can and should be divided every 4-5 years. This is the surest way to obtain more plants of a particular type.

Coneflower seeds germinate easily. Just pick them out of the dry cones and scatter them on the soil in the fall. If you sow them indoors, do so with the pointed end facing up and barely cover them with soil. They should come up in a week or so.

Coneflower Problems

Coneflower, Purple

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The 2 most common coneflower problems are slug damage to young plants and over watering.

Coneflowers are prairie plants, they do not need or want a whole lot of food or water. If you set the plants into heavy soil that stays wet for too long they will loose vigor and may even die.

If slugs are eating your coneflower's leaves, take a flashlight and a spray bottle filled one quarter with amonia and three quarters with water out into the garden at night. Spray the slugs with the amonia mixture. It will kill the slugs but won't harm the plants.

If your plants form deformed flower buds, they may have Aster yellow virus. Watch them for another year. They may outgrow it. If not, dig them up, bag and dispose of them. Never compost a diseased plant.

Growing Echinacea
The Different Kinds

Coneflower Mix, Butterfly

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It is confusing enough that a plant called purple coneflower most often displays pink blooms. To add to this confusion, there are also white Echinacea purpurea varieties.

Coneflower - Purity - $25.95
from: Nature Hills Nursery, Inc.

Coneflower - White Swan - $23.95
from: Nature Hills Nursery, Inc.

And then there are the hybrids which bloom in a variety of hues. And the double-flowered coneflowers, with their whimisical pompon tops, are a joy to cultivate.

Coneflower - Irresistible - $26.95
from: Nature Hills Nursery, Inc.

Coneflower - Pink Double Delight - $32.95
from: Nature Hills Nursery, Inc.

Related Pages:

Discover Echinacea purpurea's Herbal Uses

Go Back to the Main Coneflower Page

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