How To Plant & Grow Coneflower Seeds, Roots/Bulbs

By sowing the coneflower seeds at a sunny location about 1/4 inch deep, spacing them right, and keeping the soil moist, you can grow healthy, vibrant echinacea plants in your garden. Growing them through its root bulbs is even easier.

How to Grow Echinacea

Also known as the coneflower, echinacea is a beautiful herbaceous perennial plant. It is prized for its medicinal immune-boosting properties.


It has become increasingly popular recently because of the growing interest in plant-based medicine and natural remedies. Hence, many people just like yourself want to know ‘how to grow echinacea.’


Please consider multiple factors to grow echinacea successfully like well-drained moist soil, sunny location, moderate watering, mild temperature, and pruning the plant in its later life stages.


Maintaining adequate moisture in the soil is essential, and watering plays a significant role in achieving this. However, it’s important to ensure that the soil doesn’t become overly saturated with water.


Further, your planting techniques and a general understanding of how to plant coneflower seeds can also make a significant difference.


Pruning is another vital step that you must not overlook. Not many people realize, but regular deadheading of spent flowers is one of the quintessential steps when growing echinacea. It encourages continued blooming and does not let the echinacea become too leggy.


Here, we will give you more detailed information and reliable tips on planting echinacea.


Echinacea Planting Tips Summarized

Common names Coneflower
Echinacea growing zone USDA hardiness zones three through nine
Sunlight Full sun to partial shade
Soil Well-draining, loamy soil with a pH of 6.0 to 7.0
Water Moderate to low water needs; avoid overwatering
Temperature Tolerates both heat and cold; prefers mild temperatures
Humidity Can tolerate low to moderate humidity levels
Bloom color Shades of pink, purple, white, and yellow
Bloom time Midsummer to early fall


How To Grow Echinacea (Coneflowers)

Echinacea, commonly known as coneflowers, are sturdy perennials. They belong to the Asteraceae or the daisy family.  To grow them, you need to consider a variety that thrives in your area, then plant it in a suitable location , and care for it right.


Here are some tips that can help:


A. Choosing the Right Echinacea Variety


It is imperative because it will determine the garden’s overall appearance and the ecosystem it supports.


Different coneflower varieties have distinct characteristics, such as color, height, and blooming time, that can define the garden’s overall aesthetics and the pollinators it attracts. While picking the echinacea variety, consider the following factors:


1. Color: You can find echinacea varieties in different colors, from classic pink and purple to yellow and white. Consider which color will complement your garden’s existing color scheme and overall aesthetic.
2. Height: You will see a variation in height in different echinacea, ranging from shorter ones ideal for container gardening to taller varieties better suited for the back of a border.
3. Blooming time: Typically, the blooming time varies for all echinacea varieties. They blossom at different times across the season. So, when you pick species with diverse blooming times, you can cherish a longer blooming season and provide a nectar source for pollinators over an extended period of time.


Some of the most popular echinacea varieties people select are:


  1. Echinacea Purpurea, a classic pink-purple flower variety with a cone-shaped center.
  2. Echinacea Pallida has pale pink flowers with a slender and tall stalk.
  3. Echinacea Angustifolia has elongated, narrow leaves and muted pink flowers.
  4. Echinacea Paradox has yellow flowers instead of the typical echinacea pink or purple flowers.


Beyond this, you can find many newer cultivators, too, with different flower shapes and colors. Consider your garden size and the desired effect when picking a variety. It is always best to opt for native varieties for pollinators.


B. Suitable location as per how much sun does echinacea need

Echinacea prefers full sun. Before proceeding with how to plant echinacea, know that they need at least six hours of direct sun daily. For optimal blooming and growing, you must grow your echinacea in a location that receives full sun.


But the plants can also tolerate partial shade, typically defined as two to four hours of direct sun daily. However, if you grow them in an area with partial shade, your echinacea may not bloom as profusely or have a shorter blooming period than when growing in areas with full sun.


Further, growing in the shade will not make your flowers bloom as profusely, and it might also mean a shorter blooming period than when your echinacea grows in full sun.


Apart from considering the sun, plant echinacea in a location with good air circulation. It can help prevent fungal diseases and promote healthy growth.


C. Soil preferences and ideal pH levels


Echinacea cherishes a well-draining soil rich in organic matter. They thrive in 6.0 and 7.0 pH soil because they like slightly acidic to neutral soil. When the soil is too acidic, consider adding lime. It will raise the pH level.


On the contrary, if the soil is too alkaline, echinacea planting tips suggest you to add peat moss or sulfur to reduce the pH level. Before planting echinacea, prep the soil by adding well-rotted manure or compost.


It can improve soil drainage and fertility. Do not plant echinacea in areas where water tends to collect, as this can cause root rot.


Additionally, avoid planting echinacea in areas where other members of the Asteraceae family, such as daisies or sunflowers, have recently grown, as this can increase the risk of disease.


These are the common attributes you must consider regardless of whether you grow echinacea from seeds or bulbs. Now, below we will detail the two growing methods individually step by step.


Method 1 – How To Grow Echinacea From Seed?

Planting echinacea from seed is a straightforward method. You can do it by following a few simple steps. Here is a guide that can help.


A. Should I soak coneflower seeds before planting?

I Soak Coneflower Seeds Before Planting

Typically, there is no need to soak the coneflower seeds before planting, but it certainly accelerates the germination process.


For soaking the seeds, place them in a warm water container for 12-24 hours before you follow the next set of instructions on how to sow echinacea seeds.


B. How deep to plant coneflower seeds?

Deep To Plant Coneflower Seeds


Plant the echinacea seeds at a depth of approximately 1/4 inch (6 mm) in the soil. It is more or less similar in depth to the seed’s thickness. Please do not plant the seeds too deep, as it may prevent germination.


C. How far apart to plant echinacea?

When planting echinacea seeds, space them approximately 12 to 18 inches (30 to 45 cm) apart. It gives the seedlings ample room to grow without overcrowding.


When To Plant Echinacea Seeds?

Sometimes you exactly know how to start echinacea seeds but still do not see the desired results because of the poor timing.


Thus, it is imperative to plant your seeds at the right time, typically in the spring, after the last frost has passed.


Typically, it is the same time when people plant most other warm-season annuals. Ideally, plant the echinacea seeds early enough in the growing season. It gives them adequate time to bloom and mature before fall’s first frost.


Seed Germination

Seed Germination


Once you have followed all the steps discussed above on how to grow coneflowers from seed, you now have to wait for them to germinate.


Typically, seeds germinate within 10 to 20 days after planting. However, sometimes, it may take up to 30 days for some echinacea varieties.


For germination, you must keep the soil moist but not waterlogged. Never let the soil dry out completely, as it may prevent the seeds from germinating.


Seedling Transplantation

After the seedlings show their initial set of true leaves, you can transplant them to their permanent location in the garden. Be cautious while handling the seedlings to avoid damaging the delicate roots.


Plant the seedlings at the same depth as in the original container and space them at least 12 to 18 inches (30 to 45 cm) apart.


When To Start Echinacea Seeds Indoors?

You must start the echinacea seeds indoors if you reside in an area with a short growing season. Ideally, you must commence your seeds at least six to eight weeks before the last frost date in your area.


Use a high-quality seed-starting mix, and keep the soil moist, not waterlogged. Place the containers in a sunny, warm location or under grow lights to encourage healthy growth. After the frost danger ceases, you can transplant the seedlings to the garden.

Check out the full guide on how to care for coneflowers (echinacea) here.

How Much Water Do Coneflowers Need?

Water Do Coneflowers Need


After your coneflowers have germinated and established, they become drought-tolerant. Hence, they do not seek frequent watering. Moreover, you may damage the plant and the roots if you overwater.


However, after learning how to plant coneflower seeds, ensure blooming and healthy growth, by giving them deep but infrequent watering instead of light, frequent watering.


Typically, coneflowers require an inch (2.5 cm) of water per week, either from rainfall or irrigation. But please note the precise amount of water might depend on different factors such as weather conditions, soil type, and the growth stage.


Here are some tips for watering echinacea:


  1. Water deeply once or twice a week. It helps the water penetrate deep into the soil and encourages the roots to grow deep too.
  2. Water in the morning. It gives the flowers and leaves time to dry out before nightfall. Wet leaves and flowers aggravate the risk of fungal diseases.
  3. Mulch the soil at the coneflower plant’s base to retain soil moisture and lower the need for frequent watering. Organic mulches like bark chips, straws, or leaves can also help improve soil fertility.
  4. To avoid over or under-watering the coneflowers, it is recommended to check the moisture level of the soil before watering. It is best to water them when the top layer of soil feels dry.


Understanding The Nutritional Needs Of Echinacea


Coneflower is a low-maintenance plant. However, it benefits from balanced plant food. Overfertilizing can result in excessive growth, making the plant more susceptible to pests and diseases.


Ideally, you must use organic or slow-release plant food and follow the manufacturer’s instructions. Further, use fertilizer for the soil around the base of the plant and water it thoroughly after application.


Method 2 – How To Plant Echinacea Roots (Bulbs)


Planting echinacea bulbs or roots is a hassle free way to grow these beneficial and beautiful plants. Here are some tips that can help:


1. Pick good quality root bulbs from reputable sources to get disease-free, healthy plants.


2. Timing considerations for planting root bulbs


Typically, gardeners recommend planting the roots in the fall, at least six weeks before the first hard frost. Alternatively, you can grow them in early spring once the soil warms up.


Planting in the fall lets the roots establish themselves before winter, whereas planting in the spring gives them ample time to grow before the hot summer months.


3. Digging the planting holes and spacing the bulbs


It is crucial in learning how to plant echinacea bulbs because any mistake here might mean poor results. So, dig a hole big enough to accommodate the bulbs.


It should be about two to three times the bulb diameter. Space the bulbs at least 12-18 inches apart to allow for their mature size.


4. Proper planting depth and orientation of the bulbs


Plant the echinacea root bulb with the crown (the point where the roots meet the stem) facing upwards at a depth of around 1-2 inches. Ensure the soil around the bulb is firm to offer good contact with the roots.


Beyond this, the water, soil, and fertilizing (the entire aftercare) will be the same as we have discussed in Method 1.


Method 3 – Can You Grow Echinacea Through Stem Cuttings?

Yes, you can propagate the echinacea via stem cuttings. It involves taking a stem cutting from a mature, healthy plant and encouraging it to develop roots and grow into a new plant.


But please note that propagating echinacea via stem cuttings is more challenging than the two methods above.


Thus, you must be cautious with the temperature, light conditions, and moisture levels, as the success rates can vary depending on the specific cultivar and growing conditions.


Typically, stem-cutting propagation helps commercial growers or experienced gardeners with access to specialized equipment and facilities.