Fancy Echinaceas worth growing from seed?

jeanneDecember 23, 2011

I was looking up different Echinacea varieties last night after stumbling across a picture of Pink Double Delight. My goodness, what an improvement over the plain jane purple coneflower I used to grow when I first started gardening! It was easy to make a list of a dozen must have Echinaceas that I need to trade for and wintersow but reality has smacked me in the face this morning, I don't want to grow a bunch of flowers that turn out to be duds. I imagine most seedlings from these fancy Echinaceas are duds but I wonder if certain varieties have a better success rate. I read that doubles seemed to make better seedlings than singles, are there any singles that make particularly nice seedlings?

To all you winter sowers out there: Which ones have you winter sowed, did they turn out close to the parent, not close but fun, or complete duds? Which are your favorite? I'm sure there's more out there that I haven't seen yet! Enable me, lol!



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They didn't bloom first year from seed but I WS E. Pow Wow Wild Berry last year and got 100% germination from seeds I bought from Hazzard's Greenhouse. Swallowtail also sells both Pow Wow Wild Berry and Pow Wow White which suggests they come true from seed. Can't speak to any of the doubles since I don't like/have no interest in growing them. The only double Swallowtail sells is Double Decker.

    Bookmark   December 23, 2011 at 12:11PM
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roper2008 (7b)(7b)

I don't know if Pink Double Delight comes true from seed, but I
bought a plant 2 years ago. I love it!! I paid $7.77 from Bluestone
Perennials. They want $12.95 now.
Here is a picture of it from this summer.

    Bookmark   December 23, 2011 at 9:36PM
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Can't wait to get your E. Pow Wow Wild Berry seeds Gardenweed next yr when you have enough to share/trade. You've been sooooo good to me so far.
Thank you so much for adopting me. LOL

    Bookmark   December 24, 2011 at 1:46AM
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kqcrna(z6 SW Oh)

If you want the fancy new ones it's best to buy the plant. Saved seed might produce clones of the parent but most often I think they're likely to produce plain old purple coneflowers. If you'll be satisfied with those it's worth a try.

I couldn't even find seeds on my Hot Papaya. Maybe the birds beat me to them, or maybe they're sterile.
See "propagation" on the linked page

Many F1 hybrids will only produce the exact qualities and looks of the parent if produced vegetatively- i.e. by division, cuttings, tissue culture.


Here is a link that might be useful: propagation

    Bookmark   December 24, 2011 at 7:49AM
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I may be an old fuddy-duddy, but after growing many of the 'fancy' Echs, the "plain jane Purple Coneflower" remains my favorite. It always performs, never flops and pleases the bees and birds better than any other. I especially enjoy the way it responds to pre-bloom layered pruning. There's nothing better than a wall of Coneys, blooming from 2-4 feet tall.

    Bookmark   December 24, 2011 at 8:23AM
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roper2008 (7b)(7b)

I love the purple coneflower. It's a beautiful flower. I'm going to
wintersow some this winter. Most of the fancy one's I don't like
that much, except for the one I posted above.

    Bookmark   December 24, 2011 at 9:51AM
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bakemom_gw(z6 Central Ohio)

what donn said.

    Bookmark   December 24, 2011 at 1:03PM
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terrene(5b MA)

I winter-sowed Echinacea PWWB, Bravado, and Primadonna White last winter. The seeds were purchased at Swallowtail. All germinated well - near 100% - and most grew well thru the summer. A couple of the PWWB grew weakly and the Bravado was the strongest grower. These 2 cultivars made flower buds late in the season, but they didn't have enough time to open before we had frost. Can't wait to see how these grow and bloom next year.

So far the plain old E. purpurea and 'White Swan' are my favorite Echinaceas too. I have a couple of the 'Big Sky' series but they have declined over time and the seedlings are ugly - tall gangly and a washed out pink that fades quickly. If the Swallowtail seeds turn out nice I will purchase other cultivars of seed to try. They are easy to grow from seed and it's much cheaper than buying plants.

    Bookmark   December 26, 2011 at 1:45PM
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Thanks to everybody who wrote, I've learned so much from reading these answers! I didn't realize there were seed strains and cultivars, I'll make sure to check which is which when trading! I've made a short list so far, I want to try PWWB, Bravado, E. paradoxa for sure. I already have seeds of Lucky Star and White swan and I'll keep filling out (and hopefully occasionally crossing out) my wish list until spring.

Roper, that is a great picture. I probably won't order it but if I stumbled across it in a nursery somewhere I'd swoop it up. What a stunner!

Thanks again to all!

    Bookmark   December 26, 2011 at 11:21PM
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christinmk z5b eastern WA

I sowed a bunch of the newer Echinaceas (Green Envy, Tomato Soup, Tiki Torch, Milkshake, and something else I can't remember) last winter and had pretty good germ on some. I will be very interested to see if they are good growers what they look like in bloom (hopefully by next year!). I am especially interested in seeing how similar they are to their parent cultivars. Someone recently told me that her 'Doppleganger' (sp???) produced some nice plants very similar to the cultivar.

Ps. I have had my 'White Swan' reseed and it does come up true- though a couple wern't quite as tall as the parent cultivar I think....

    Bookmark   December 26, 2011 at 11:55PM
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terrene(5b MA)

Oh my goodness, Jeanne, this is a bit off topic but I just realized that you are the one who sent me Daylily seeds in a SASBE/BEAP last winter! I have wanted to thank you and let you know they did very well this past summer. I sowed them in cups in late April and they germinated near 100% within 2 weeks. 2 of them were "albinos" but I transplanted the rest out in the garden in late May after the last frost. A few declined and died out in the garden, but most of them grew into nice little plants. I am very excited to see if any of them will bloom next year!

Here's a pic of the sprouts! As you can see, I sowed them in silly Cup o noodles cups and lined them up in an old refrigerator drawer. Not a very fancy way of sowing the seeds, but they didn't seem to mind. :)

    Bookmark   December 27, 2011 at 12:14AM
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t-bird(Chicago 5/6)

Jeanne - what did you mean by dud? I have ordered some pink echinacea seeds and now am a bit worried?

Were you talking about home saved seeds from a hybrid that didn't breed true? I hope not purchased seeds.....

thanks for any clarification.

    Bookmark   December 27, 2011 at 9:05AM
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Christin, I've read that both Doppleganger/Doubledecker and White Swan are seed strains so they should both be good, I hope your coneflowers turn out spectacular. I know folks have been collecting and sowing seeds from those hybrids and I sure haven't seen much encouraging news on this thread so I'll keep my fingers crossed for you. Even though I knew I shouldn't, I started drooling when I ran across Pink Double Delight seed on a trade page I was browsing last night. How I managed to restrain myself from sending an email, I'll never know. Lol.

Terrene, they look fantastic, I can't wait to see them in bloom! I kinda stalk the daylily threads so if you post pics I'll surely run across them! I started all my daylilies in red drink cups and a lot of the smaller plant starts that I take to the swap go in recycled easy mac bowls, which my son was addicted to a few years ago.

T-bird, that's exactly what I'm talking about. I'm frugal as can be and almost all the seeds I start are from trades. I know that other folks have been growing seeds from trades and I haven't grown an Echinacea since the '90's so I figured I would save myself a bunch of trial and error and just ask others their opinions. Folks on GW are great, I never go wrong following the collected advice here.


    Bookmark   December 27, 2011 at 9:51AM
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Did anyone succeed in growing the fancy hybrids from seed last year?

    Bookmark   February 10, 2013 at 5:14PM
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terrene(5b MA)

Hi Juoko, all of the Echinacea seedlings that I mentioned above bloomed last year, and that was their 2nd year from seed. However - I transplanted ALL of them last Spring. About half the seedlings went into the new Daylily garden, and the other half went into the Front garden where they were replacing the Echinacea that was wiped out by the voles.

So they were all getting established after being transplanted, and we had a mini-drought in July, so the blooms were okay but not spectacular.

I expect they will do much better this year. Plus I surrounded the roots of the new Echinacea in the front garden with hardware cloth to protect them from voles, which works well. I will try to post pics this coming summer!

PS to JeanneOH if you're reading - no blooms at all on the daylily seedlings in 2nd year! Location is too shady. Should get blooms this year though.

    Bookmark   February 11, 2013 at 7:54PM
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Hi Juokorow, I started a few different varieties of coneflower last year but only White Swan grew and I set those out in the fall, still small plants. I just had terrible luck with winter sowing last year. I only started about 20 containers and of those only about 5 grew.

Terrene, I feel your pain! The first year I grew daylilies they were all planted in the sunniest spot in the garden, the second years plants went into subprime locations and they have languished ever since! After three years 3 (out of about 30 plants) bloomed last year, worth the wait but would still rather move them to a sunnier location!

It's been so long that I've lost the tag, although I think I have it written somewhere!

    Bookmark   February 12, 2013 at 8:22AM
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I planted seeds of my Pink Double Delight. they grew well, but had some kind of disease, the stems were twisted and the flowers were green, and I'd say were triple instead of double. I dug them all up. My original plant had what I would call a bloomout. It died that fall. I should have separated it a lot sooner.

    Bookmark   February 12, 2013 at 9:50AM
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terrene(5b MA)

Ooh pretty seedling, Jeanne! I hope a few of mine are that pretty. I've also got about 2 dozen seedlings from seeds I bought on the Lily Auction last Spring. I doubt any of those will bloom in their 2nd year either. Full sun is a rare commodity in this yard, and I try to squeeze in the veggies and butterfly annuals in that strip, even then it's probably only 6 hours a day.

The Daylily garden is where I put the fans I bought on the Lily Auction (spent a little too much money there last Spring), but put a few seedlings there too. Also have some of the Echinacea seedlings, Feverfew (ws'd), Foxglove (ws'd) and some Hosta toward the back (not from seed) in that bed. Same story, only partial sun...I know it's not optimal for Hemerocallis, and many others, but I push the envelop, haha.

Oh, found a single pic of the Echinacea Primadonna White that it's in the Daylily Garden - darned if I can remember which daylily that is growing next to it...

    Bookmark   February 12, 2013 at 10:33AM
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This newbie thank you all for the responses. I will winter sow cheyenne spirit and a few others for a start. Thanks again.

    Bookmark   February 12, 2013 at 9:41PM
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caryltoo Z7/SE PA

I ws pow wow wild berry last year. No blooms, but a good germination rate. I put four into the ground late, and I'm hoping at least one survived and will bloom this year. A few others are in small pots on my patio table right now. If they survive they're destined for the big containers on the patio -- I'm sick of relying on annuals there. Hoping for flowers this year -- their color looked amazing in the catalog.


    Bookmark   February 13, 2013 at 6:24AM
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