Should i deadhead my Echinacea?

mayhem69(zone 6 SE PA)June 21, 2009

Hi, this is my first yr. growing echinacea. These are the ones i currently have.


after midnight


summer sky

white swan

harvest moon

The only ones that are ready to possibly dead head are magnus, summer sky, and meringue. If i SHOULD deadhead, do i just pop the head off, or cut the head off with pruners. Also, where do i cut about a foot below the flower?

Also, which ones will seed themselves? I want as many seeds as i can gather for sowing.

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I don't deadhead mine because the Goldfinches love the seed. Even though they look pretty ratty by the end of the Summer, I have beautiful little birds flitting all over my garden. Don't expect your hybrid Echinacea to reseed, but the Magnus will. I'm waiting to see if my White Swan seedlings will be white. I've got my fingers crossed! Kathy

    Bookmark   June 21, 2009 at 11:01AM
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mayhem69(zone 6 SE PA)

Yes i have read the birds love them. So the only one that i have that can reseed is the magnus? or white swan? If i deadhead the Magnus after the dying blooms this month will i get more late summer? Where should i cut them?

    Bookmark   June 21, 2009 at 11:42AM
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If you let After Midnight and Summer Sky go to seed you get some very interesting plants, especially Summer Sky. I had several from Summer Sky seeds that smell like Roses. Some will have peach blooms. I think you will like some of the plants you get from those seeds. After Midnight will give you many dwarf Echinaceas. They won't all be the exact color of the original, but I have seen a good percentage that come close.

    Bookmark   June 21, 2009 at 12:01PM
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If you deadhead they wont set seed.

Yes, if you deadhead they will bloom more.

I usually deadhead right underneath the bloom or at a joint, up to you on that one. The more of the plant that is there the more of that plants energy to support that part. If you eleminate part then the energy of the plant will be used elsewhere. Does that make sense??

    Bookmark   June 21, 2009 at 1:01PM
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mayhem69(zone 6 SE PA)

So are all of you agreeing that if i WANT to keep the seed for sowing in the late fall NOT to deadhead now?

    Bookmark   June 21, 2009 at 6:31PM
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gardenfanatic(MO zone5b)

Why not deadhead some, and leave some for the goldfinches? That's what I'm doing with my coreopsis.


    Bookmark   June 22, 2009 at 12:45AM
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yardenman(z7 MD)

I deadhead right above the 1st set of lower leaves. I don't know if that is the right way, but it seems to work. Sometimes I get reblooms in the fall.

    Bookmark   June 22, 2009 at 7:58AM
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mayhem69(zone 6 SE PA)

Wow! I never saw goldfinches around my house. This morning 2 of them were climbing on my Magnus plant. But they're not even close to seeding?

    Bookmark   June 22, 2009 at 8:17AM
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There's no need to deadhead your Echinaceas. They will still get a few blooms in the fall even without deadheading. Some people don't like the way the dead blooms look, but I actually enjoy them. I don't cut my plants back until the following spring when they start to grow. This actually helps them overwinter better.

    Bookmark   June 22, 2009 at 8:26AM
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mwieder(z5 NE OH)

This is simple Biology. Your echinacea have a certain amount of energy; they divide that energy between growing roots, making flowers and making seeds. If you dead-head the flowers then the plant has more energy for making flowers and growing roots. Likewise, If you cut off the buds before the open the plant will put all its energy into making roots and you'll have a fuller plant next season, but what fun is that :).

    Bookmark   June 22, 2009 at 9:56AM
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mayhem69(zone 6 SE PA)

After the flower blooms, how long do i have to keep the head on til the seeds form? I don't want the finches eating all my seeds. I want them for sowing.

    Bookmark   June 22, 2009 at 11:41AM
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I always keep the head on till the stem underneath the bloom starts to turn brown.

    Bookmark   June 22, 2009 at 11:59AM
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terrene(5b MA)

If you watch the seedheads, they will turn brown and you will know that the seeds are ripening when the Goldfinches cling to the heads and start picking off seeds. They eat them in tidy little rows. I try to harvest some of the seedheads before the finches get them all, and store them in the garage. Then I tape up a bunch of them to one of the bird-feeding poles for the Finches to eat during the winter (they love 'em).

Despite the finches eating most of the seed, the Echinacea still self-sows abundantly in the gardens, too much even.

    Bookmark   June 22, 2009 at 7:16PM
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terrene - I love that photo!

Goldfinches love Verbena Bonariensis - there are at least 15 or 20 in my yard on the verbenas, but I have yet to see them on my Echinaceas...

I'll have to take a good look tomorrow - love those birds!


    Bookmark   June 22, 2009 at 7:26PM
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mayhem69(zone 6 SE PA)

thanks terrene, that photo is awsome!

    Bookmark   June 22, 2009 at 9:09PM
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