Skip to main content

How to Grow Coneflowers (Echinacea)

I have enjoyed gardening for at least 30 years and enjoy sharing my experience with others. Gardening is my time to meditate and unwind.

Learn how to grow coneflowers to add a pop of color to your garden.

Learn how to grow coneflowers to add a pop of color to your garden.

More Than Just Purple Coneflowers

Coneflowers are pretty additions to any perennial flower garden. Best of all they are easy to grow. At one time, coneflowers were thought of as just the purple ones, but now an array of new colors have been bred.

They are now available in golden yellows, rosy reds, orange, white and more. The new colors add a real statement to the garden. Dwarf plants have also been hybridized.

Do Coneflowers Reseed Themselves?

These flowers bloom almost all summer long if you keep them deadheaded. Deadheading is just cutting off the old blooms before they reseed. If cut for fresh flowers, they'll last as long as 10 days and some newer varieties even offer fragrance. Butterflies love them and the birds enjoy eating the seeds in the fall and winter months.

Coneflowers come in more colors than the classic purple, such as this dazzling yellow variety.

Coneflowers come in more colors than the classic purple, such as this dazzling yellow variety.

Origins of Echinacea

These flowers are native to the central states of the US. They grow in prairies and wild in the woods and are a variety of the daisy family. The plants have large flowers and some varieties have drooping petals that give them a different look.

The name echinacea comes from the flower's spiky middle cone, which produces the seeds. The name echinacea means hedgehog. The cone feels prickly like a hedgehog.

Where to Plant Coneflowers

Coneflowers can be grown from seeds, or you can purchase plants. Just plant the seeds outdoors when the danger of frost has passed. If you want newer varieties to be true to color, it would be better to purchase the plants. Most coneflowers grow well in Zones 3–8 and a few new varieties will even tolerate Zones 9–10.

Plant coneflowers in well-drained soil in a spot with full sun. I have planted these in partial shade and they grew fine, but the blooms weren't as vibrant. They will tolerate average and poor soil, so you won't need to worry about fertilizing them as often as other perennials. Good soil is preferred, but not necessary. If you have a spot with slightly acidic soil of pH 6–6.8, that would be the perfect spot for them.

Most plants grow 2–4 feet tall and are about 2-feet wide. Keep this in mind when planting them in the perennial flower bed. Some newer varieties are shorter.

Coneflowers - Echinacea

Coneflowers - Echinacea

Planting Coneflower Seeds

Newer varieties may not have true color if planted from seeds. You can plant the old-fashioned ones from seeds. You might try planting the newer colors from seeds, and you may just end up with a new color you love. But since they are hybrids, you won't get the color of the parent.

How to Plant Coneflowers

  1. You will need to dig a hole about 12 inches deep and about double the width of the pot the coneflower was grown in.
  2. Fill the hole with a little compost or cow manure.
  3. Unless the soil is very wet, pour some water into the hole.
  4. Take the plant out of the container and spread out the roots.
  5. Place the plant in the hole and finish filling with soil.
  6. Until the plant is established, water it whenever the soil dries out.

Coneflower Care and Watering

Because coneflowers have a deep taproot, you don't need to worry about watering them as often as other plants. I still water when it gets hot and dry in July and August. Deadhead the plants for rebloom.

If you plant the flowers in a windy location, you may need to stake the plants. I haven't needed to, but mine are in locations that are slightly protected.

How to Propagate Coneflowers

Because of the deep taproot that coneflowers have, they are difficult to divide and replant like you can do with many perennials. Old fashioned ones will reseed themselves, and you may end up with more than you want. If you want to try propagating by division, you'll be taking the chance of losing the plant.

If you'd still like to propagate the plant, they will start with root cuttings. Just cut off a slip of the plant. Dipping the end in root hormone will help it get a good start and then place it in some soil. I like to just plant the cutting in a shady place and cover it with a quart glass jar. This will work as a terrarium and keep the plant watered. The next year, I replant it in a better location.

Varieties of Coneflower (Echinacea)

  • After Midnight is a beauty. The variety was bred to be a dwarf and is 12 inches tall and 12 inches wide. It is dark magenta (stunning). Hardiness zones are 4–8.
  • All that Jazz has quilled petals that are lavender-pink. This variety grows 30–36 inches tall and spreads 18–24 inches wide. Hardiness zones are 4–8.
  • Crazy Pink is a heavy bloomer that can have as many as 100 blooms at once. The flower has drooping petals. 30–36 inches tall and spreads 18–24 inches wide.
  • Fatal Attraction has magenta blooms that have two layers of petals that make these look full and beautiful. 30 inches tall and spreads 18–24 inches wide.
  • Fluffy Delight has a puffy center and fewer blooms on the outside.
  • Harvest Moon is the color of a harvest moon. The flower has tones of gold. Petals overlap each other, giving it a nice appearance. It has a rose scent. The plants grow 24–30 inches tall and are 18–22 inches wide. Hardiness zones are 4–9.
  • Pink Poodle is so full it almost looks like a football mum. This variety grows 30–34 inches tall and has a spread of 28 inches wide. It is hardy in zones 4–8.
  • Secret Lust is one I think I'll try to find this year. It has a large cushion-looking center. As it blooms, it starts as orange and gets darker as it gets older. Secret Lust was a 2011 introduction. It is 25 inches tall and 36 inches wide. The bloom is considered a double and is 3 inches wide.
  • Summer Skylight is orange with hues of rose. The plant is fragrant compared to other coneflower varieties and that helps attract butterflies. It grows 30–36 inches tall and 18–24 inches wide. Hardy in zones 3–8.
  • Sundown has become one of the most popular coneflowers. It is a warm orange color with a brown center. The plants grow 32–40 inches tall and 18–24 inches wide.
  • Sunrise has pastel yellow blossoms. The blossoms change shades as they mature and look stunning with different shades of the same color. Sunrise grows 32–40 inches tall and 18–24 inches wide. Hardiness zones are 4–9.
  • Tiki Torch is a bright orange shade. This plant will grow 28–30 inches tall with a spread of 18–24 inches wide. Hardiness zones are 4–9.

Do Dogs Like Echinacea?

My dogs love to eat these plants. It probably has to do with the fact that they are good for them. If you want your coneflowers to grow and have blooms, plant them in an area that the dogs don't go near.

Scroll to Continue
Coneflowers are an elegant addition to any garden.

Coneflowers are an elegant addition to any garden.

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.


Barbara Badder (author) from USA on February 09, 2012:

Enlydia Listener, Thanks for reading the hub and best of luck with someday getting your garden.

Enlydia Listener from trailer in the country on February 09, 2012:

I can imagine your yard is beautiful with your really know your stuff on this. I live in a rental with very little growing space or sun. Someday I hope to have a little house on the hill with a garden. blessings

Barbara Badder (author) from USA on February 06, 2012:

sgbrown, I do have a hub with pics of my Asiatic lilies with lots of photos. Here's the hub Enjoy them. Actually my profile is one of my daylilies. I have some hubs about those too with pics. Thanks for commenting again.

Sheila Brown from Southern Oklahoma on February 06, 2012:

I love you profile picture,Stargazer Lily. It's beautiful. You will have to take some pictures of your lilies and create a hub. I would love to see them! :)

Barbara Badder (author) from USA on February 06, 2012:

sgbrown, Thanks for reading the hub and commenting. I am thinking about purchasing some of the new colors. Before I researched for the hub, I knew I could get different colors. I didn't know so many were available though.

Sheila Brown from Southern Oklahoma on February 06, 2012:

Hello again Barbara Kay! I also have purple cone flowers in my flower beds, they are truly a great flower. I have them coming up from dropped seeds every year. I dig them up when they are small and replant them in another flower bed. Again, I am glad to know how to take care of them. Voted this up, useful and posting to my blog! Thanks for sharing the information! :)

Barbara Badder (author) from USA on January 15, 2012:

Movie Master, Thanks for commenting. I'm thinking about ordering a few this year too. some of the new ones are wonderful. I'll look into Sundown.

Barbara Badder (author) from USA on January 15, 2012:

Cardisa, I actually started the hub and have it half finished about the health benefits of taking enchinacea. Then I read the warnings about who shouldn't take it and it scared me that I might get sued. I may finish it yet. Thanks for commenting.

Movie Master from United Kingdom on January 15, 2012:

I grew Sundown last year, they were stunning! Echinacea are one of my favourites, I must try some of these other varieties, thank you for sharing Barbara and voted up.

Carolee Samuda from Jamaica on January 15, 2012:

I have been taking Echinacea tablets for a month and it has helped with my sinuses and keeping away the flu. I was hoping that you would have included some info on how to use the plant in it's natural state. But I love the caring aspect that you provided, it's very useful because I am thinking of growing only stuff that are of some use to the family.

Thanks Barbara.

Related Articles