An Overview Of How To Plant, Grow, And Care For Coneflowers

Coneflowers

Emma DowneyByEmma Downey
Updated on 8/13/2022

Coneflowers, nicknamed Echinacea, are hardy upright perennials of the daisy family (Asteraceae) (Asteraceae). They are indigenous to the eastern and central regions of the United States, with their range spanning from Colorado to Texas in the south and from the Great Lakes in the north. Throughout this guide, you will be able to learn how to cultivate this native plant of the United States in your garden.

Concerning The Coneflowers

Concerning The Coneflowers

These quick-growers may reach heights of two to four feet, bloom from the middle of summer until the first frost of October, and self-sow prolifically. The cone-shaped cores of coneflowers, from which they get their common name, are what entice pollinating insects like butterflies and bees. After flowering, the seed heads attract songbirds, such as goldfinches. Coneflowers adore heat and are trouble-free once planted in a conventional garden or wildflower meadow.

Although the E. purpurea species is the most common, up to nine more naturally occurring echinaceas can be found in various colors of purple or yellow (E. paradox). However, when dealing with hybrids, remember that many of them are sterile, meaning they cannot generate a viable seed and do not have a diverse genetic makeup.


Their genus name, Echinacea, is from the word for hedgehog, echinus. This refers to the plant's bottom stem, which is frequently prickly. Coneflowers get their name from the elevated cone-like cores in the middle of their flowers, and these centers contain seeds that attract butterflies. When the flowers have faded, leave the seed heads on the plant so that you can attract songbirds like goldfinches. Because they are native plants and have spiny stems, they are more resistant to deer browsing than most floral plants. Coneflowers provide a stunning display when planted in large quantities, especially when various hues are included.

Coneflowers thrive in sunny locations with soil that drains well. Coneflowers have a high tolerance for low-quality soil but produce their most beautiful blooms in nutrient-dense environments. Spread a layer of compost or aged manure between 2 and 4 inches thick on top of the loose dirt. Pick a spot for the sunny coneflowers with well-drained soil; they should not be in the shade. When conditions are favorable for their propagation, they will do so quickly.

When Should Coneflowers Be Planted?

When Should Coneflowers Be Planted?

Most of the time, coneflowers are purchased as smaller plants that already have buds beginning to open. These should be planted in the spring, early summer, or fall, depending on when you wish to harvest them.

  • Plant coneflower seeds in the spring or early summer while the plants are still young and have not yet bloomed.
  • It is best to start seeds within 8 to 10 weeks before the last spring frost date to have the best chance of success. You may also seed them outside once the earth has warmed to at least 65 degrees Fahrenheit (18 degrees Celsius). Once started from seed, a plant usually takes two to three years to blossom.
  • Coneflower plants will rapidly produce new plants if their stems are not trimmed short.
  • If you want to divide coneflowers or transfer them, you should do it in the spring or fall.

How To Put Coneflowers In The Ground

How To Put Coneflowers In The Ground

  • Coneflowers should be spaced anywhere from one to three feet apart, with the exact distance depending on the type.
  • When planting from a container, dig a hole roughly twice as wide as the container. The plant's root ball should be at the same level as the soil's surface. To the very top of the root ball, fill in the space.
  • When you plant it, make sure to water it thoroughly.
  • Spreading thin layers of compost and then mulch over the top of the soil can assist in retaining moisture for the plants and preventing weed growth.

For more information about the advantages of cultivating coneflowers, watch our video:

OFA Echinacea

Coneflowers may survive periods of dryness, although young plants need to be watered occasionally. The frequency of this need increases if the spring season is particularly dry.

Coneflowers In The Ground

  • Put a few thin layers of compost and mulch to help keep the plants wet and prevent weeds from growing.
  • Fertilizer is rarely required for native in-ground plants. When you plant something, you should ensure your soil has a lot of organic matter.
  • In the late spring, supplemental watering should only be done if the weather has been arid or coneflowers have just been planted.
  • You may extend the blooming season by removing spent blooms as they fade. Reduce the stems' height to a leaf close to a bud. Deadheading stops self-seeding and bird feeding when done late in the season.
  • When the coneflower plants bloom, prune them back by one foot to encourage delayed flowering so that you may enjoy them in the fall. This step is optional. Because they tend to sprawl, coneflowers will blossom later, and their growth will be denser. To get more staggering bloom heights and timings, cut some but not others of the plants.
  • The month of August may see the arrival of army beetles that resemble wasps. In addition to pollinating plants, they consume the eggs and larvae of other insects and do not cause them any damage.
  • When the weather gets more relaxed in the fall, sprinkle a thin layer of mulch around the plants.
  • When the stems wither or after a frost, cut them down to the level of the earth. Cut back the plant in the late winter to encourage it to self-seed. When cleaning up the garden in the late winter or early spring, could you give it a trimming?
  • It is up to you whether or not you want to let the late-season blossoms develop on the plant. Birds will attract the seed heads, encouraging the plant to reproduce itself. If you're going to prevent the plant from producing its seeds, you should deadhead it. When you want to deadhead a plant, clip the spent flowers back to a leaf where you can see a bud ready to expand.
  • Coneflowers should be divided or transplanted in the spring or the fall.

Coneflowers That Are Grown In Pots

Coneflowers That Are Grown In Pots

Coneflowers are perennial plants that are often grown in the ground, but they may also be grown in pots as long as the containers are deep enough to accommodate the plant's taproot. Utilize containers of at least 2 or 3 gallons in capacity, preferably with drainage holes. To provide adequate drainage, fill the pots with crushed gravel. The potting mix should reach about halfway up the container. Put on the brakes. It is recommended that the root ball be placed about an inch below the container's rim and spread the roots as far as possible. While doing so, add dirt gradually until it is even with the top of the root ball, then softly pack it down to excellent depth water.

  • After spending two to three days in the shadow, you may move the pots into full sun and partial shade in the afternoon.
  • Constantly water thoroughly at the soil level, being sure to do so when the soil seems dry to the touch. The presence of water on leaves can lead to a fungal illness.
  • Apply a water-soluble 10-10-10 product to the soil once every couple weeks as fertilizer.
  • Cut off spent flowers slightly below the flower's root to encourage continuous blooming.
  • The most effective way to ensure that plants survive the winter is to cut them back to the soil level when growth begins to stall in the fall.
  • Find a place between 40 and 50 degrees Fahrenheit with low to moderate indirect light.
  • Check the soil every couple of weeks, and give it a spritz of water if the top three inches show dryness.
  • After the new growth begins to sprout in the spring, as new growth begins to appear in the garden, relocate to a place that has more light and is warmer (60 to 70 degrees Fahrenheit). Moving the plant around helps it prepare for the warmer spring and summer weather when it will be living outside.
  • It is essential to avoid watering the leaves from above since doing so might promote the growth of fungi on the leaves—instead, water at the same level as the soil. If you see any aphids or other pests, you should spray the area with insecticidal soap or a neem oil solution.
  • Echinacea plants should be divided and repotted once every three to four years in the spring when new growth has begun.