Growing Coneflower From Seed

greengardener07August 29, 2007

I planted quite a few purple coneflower seeds a few weeks ago. To date, I do not see any sign of growth. Any idea as to why? I planted in moist, well dranied soil, sunny, but not overly heated location.

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morz8(Washington Coast Z8b)

How warm has it been? Echinacea will often germinate best at about 68F. If you have sown these in pots and they haven't germinated in a month, moving them to the refrigerator/40F for 2-4 weeks can be helpful. If you planted outdoors in the ground, you may have to wait until the days are shorter and temperatures cool for germination.

    Bookmark   August 29, 2007 at 3:29PM
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Echinacea often germinates better if you stratify it first. Most of my White Swan seeds are germinating at present. I placed two seeds in eight ParkStarts, a peat moss blend, and placed it all in the freezer for six weeks. After removing the eight Starts from the freezer, I let them thaw to room temperature. Then I placed them under a shop light, one inch from the bulbs. Within two weeks, at least one seed had germinated in all eight Starts. I will hardenoff each one in about four weeks, mulch them carefully when I plant them in full sun, and watch them bloom next year. The same approach works for Bravo and Magnus. This is so much easier, for me, than the frustration of outdoor planting. Good luck.

    Bookmark   August 30, 2007 at 10:09PM
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I've had very good results winter sowing coneflowers. I plant them outside (in containers) in Jan or Feb and they come up in the spring. Once they are big enough to handle I plant them in the yard.

    Bookmark   September 3, 2007 at 8:29PM
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morz8(Washington Coast Z8b)

paulallen, I'm glad you're having success, but freezing isn't necessary for most seeds. To stratify means to expose the seeds to a moist chill and I don't mean to be critical but I'd hate for your own experience to lead too many in the wrong direction with their freezers.

Druse (Making More Plants): "Research has demonstrated that freezing - which may occur outdoors and is still recommended by several sources - is rarely necessary. Seeds that are subjected to cold (rather than chill) may not always be damaged by temperatures below freezing point, but the conditioning process is put on hold at these low temperatures and resumes only when the seeds are not quite so cold. This is one reason that controlled stratification in the refrigerator can be a truncated version of the outdoor process.

It's now clear that the most important piece of technical equipment for performing the operations of stratification, the refrigerator, is already possessed by amateur gardeners."

In this damp zone of no extremes (cool summers, mild winters), I don't find fresh echinacea seeds need stratifying at all and will normally germinate in 10 - 21 days without it - summer to late summer in places where gardeners really experience 'summer' may be a bit warm for good germination.

    Bookmark   September 3, 2007 at 10:11PM
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