Growing wild Echinacea (coneflower) from seed

Yazan(5)March 23, 2013

Hi everyone, I was outside today taking a walk on a trail in the middle of a tall grass prairie. On my walk I found several stands and groups of echinacea's, they caught my eye because they were tall and striking, all of them had flower heads and I went a took some samples of a few heads and extracted the seed form them.I got quite a lot. Now I want to grow them and I have one problem: how, when, and where to sow the seeds. I heard from someone that the seeds need stratification before planting, is this true, and if so would they have been stratified after a long winter outside? Does anyone have any tips or help,

Thanks Yazan

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digdirt2(6b-7a No.Cent. AR HZ8 Sun-35)

Yes in your zone they will already be stratified however they may also have gone through several freeze/thaws/freeze stages and so might already have dead embryos. The only way to know for sure is to do a germination test on some of the seed.

If you check on the FAQs here you'll see one called the The baggie method that tells you how to do that - the test - using 10-12 of the seeds. That will give you a rough idea of how viable the seeds may be.

Then if those germinate you can use the FAQ called Direct Seeding to plant the rest of the seeds in your flower beds after danger of frost is past. OR you can make up any small container of potting mix and start them indoors now for transplanting later outside.

The FAQs linked below cover all the steps. If you have more questions feel free to post them.

Dave

Here is a link that might be useful: Growing from Seed FAQs

    Bookmark   March 23, 2013 at 6:53PM
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Yazan(5)

Hi Dave,

Thank you very much for the help, the baggie method seems very valid and I will try it today. Also we have a big snow storm (10'' of snow) and it is very cloudy outside so not much light is getting in the house, so in that case should I put the seeds under artificial light? But anyway thanks very much for the link, it was very helpful, and now I also don't have to stratify the seeds anymore either.

Yazan

    Bookmark   March 24, 2013 at 7:43AM
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docmom_gw Zone 5 MI(5)

Yazan,
Echinacea respond very well to wintersowing. If you plant the seeds into any container with drainage holes and decent quality growing medium, then cover with a clear plastic cover (seran wrap), you can put the container right outside and let the seeds sprout naturally as they would have if they had fallen on the ground. You also need to poke a few holes in the cover to allow for air exchange and for the rain and snow to provide moisture. Once they sprout, you can remove the cover. Echinacea should be able to tolerate most weather that comes its way. Or you could throw a cover over the seedlings when frost threatens. Check out the wintersowing FAQ. Good luck. Echinacea are great plants, and they will multiply for you so you'll never be without them.

Martha

    Bookmark   March 24, 2013 at 9:03AM
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Yazan(5)

Hi Martha,

Thanks for the help, I think I have enough seeds to try both Daves method and yours, i'll see which one does better,

Thanks Yazan

    Bookmark   March 24, 2013 at 4:28PM
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