In my opinion, you can’t grow too many KONEFLOWERS in your garden.
More than just beautiful flowers, these native plants are great for wildlife. You can expect to attract a variety of butterflies, bees and other insects to your lawn with cone flowers!
The cheapest way to get plenty of Echinacea (another name for conifers) in your garden is to grow it from seed. Unfortunately, buying mature plants from a garden center can be very expensive.
But when you receive your coneflower seeds, common questions tend to arise:
When should you plant coneflower seeds?
Believe it or not, you really have THREE options, depending on personal preference!
Option #1: Sow the seeds outdoors in late fall.
This suggestion surprised me at first, as I am used to planting vegetable seeds, such as tomatoes, indoors in the spring.
But Echinacea species, like Purple Coneflower, are native to North America. These plants have grown with cooler temperatures. In fact, one of the reasons you should plant seeds in the fall is because of the cold weather!
To germinate in spring, cone seeds need freezing and thawing temperatures provided in winter.
So find a perfect spot in your garden to plant cones and plant the seeds in the ground before the ground freezes! Coneflower grows in full or partial sun with well-drained soil. Fortunately, this plant doesn’t need perfect soil. A little compost will help them grow, but don’t worry!
Then the seeds should be slightly buried in the soil (I put them about the length of a fingernail). You can also sprinkle seeds loosely in the ground to cover a large area to speed up the process. Now you just have to wait until spring to see your plants sprout and start growing.
And remember that these native plants are perennials and regrow every year.
Option #2: Sow the seeds outside in early spring.
If you plant cones too late before the ground freezes, you can also plant in early spring.
But first you have to get the seeds through something called artificial cold stratification. This process simulates the effects of winter by placing the seeds between damp paper towels, wrapping them in a plastic bag, then placing them in the refrigerator for 8-12 weeks.
Gerbera seeds can grow without going through cold stratification, but they always grow best when they’re ripe!
Option #3: Start sowing within 4-8 weeks before late spring.
If you want to make sure you have the right amount of conifers to grow, it’s best to grow them indoors in a controlled environment.
I would look for a medium frost last spring and then sow the seeds 4-8 weeks before that date. You don’t want to move your seedlings outdoors until the weather warms up forever!
But similar to option #2, the seed must undergo artificial cold stratification to mimic the effects of winter. This process will ensure that the largest number of seeds will germinate.
If you can’t deal with conifer seeds, you can try “throw a bunch of spaghetti on the wall and see what sticks”. Basically, buy and plant a bunch of conifer seeds and see how many you can grow!
A suggestion for starting coneflower indoors:
This native plant is very sensitive to shocks when transplanted. To assist with this process, I will be using a peat pot to plant the seeds. The pot is broken under the ground so you don’t need to pull it, which can damage the roots.
Have you had any luck growing coneflower seeds?
If so, please share your best tips below!
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