How to grow echinacea purpurea from seed

Written by eulalia palomo
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How to grow echinacea purpurea from seed
Echinacea purpurea is native to the eastern United States. (Hemera Technologies/ Images)

Echinacea purpurea, commonly called purple coneflower, is a North American native and it will grow in the British Isles. A hardy perennial, echinacea purpurea grows from seed and root division. Seeds germinate reliably and mature in one year. Add echinacea purpurea to a plant garden, a wild meadow area, a border area or a perennial flower garden. Plants grow 60 cm to 1.5 m (2 to 5 feet) tall and bloom between June and August. Start echinacea purpurea from seed in March or early April.

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Things you need

  • Bucket
  • Seed-starting tray or cell-packs
  • Potting soil
  • Compost
  • Peat moss
  • Butter knife
  • 10 cm (4 inch) pots

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  1. 1

    Mix equal parts potting soil, peat moss and well-rotted compost in a bucket. Add water until the soil mix is evenly damp and crumbly.

  2. 2

    Fill seed-starting trays, cell-packs or planting pots with the damp soil mix. Leave 1.2 cm (1/2 inch) between the top of the container and the top of the soil. Smooth out the top without compacting the material.

  3. 3

    Place echinacea purpurea seeds on the soil 2.5 cm (1 inch) apart. Take a handful of the soil mix and scatter it over the surface to cover the seeds with 3 mm to 6 mm (1/8 to 1/4 inch) of material.

  4. 4

    Place the seed trays in a greenhouse, indoors or on a covered porch where the seeds will get filtered light. Keep the air temperature at 21.1 degrees Celsius (70 degrees Fahrenheit) for best germination results.

  5. 5

    Mist the soil daily or every two days to keep the soil environment around the seed damp. Use a spray bottle with a gentle mist setting to avoid disturbing the seeds. Echinacea seeds germinate in one to three weeks.

  6. 6

    Transplant echinacea purpurea into individual 4-inch pots when the seedlings grow 5 cm (2 inches) tall and produce at least one set of true leaves. Fill the transplant pots to 1.2 cm (1/2 inch) below the lip of the pot with damp potting soil.

  7. 7

    Lift the seedlings out of the seed-starting tray or cell packs. Slide a butter knife under the soil and lift up. Separate the seedlings with your fingertips if the roots have grown together.

  8. 8

    Plant one echinacea seedling in each pot with the base of the stem level with the soil line. Keep the seedlings in a greenhouse for the first year and transplant them into the garden the following spring.

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