Many varieties of echinacea, also known as purple coneflower, are available for purchase. However, wouldn’t it be more fulfilling to grow your own? This blog provides tips on how to grow echinacea purpurea at home.
Echinacea, which exists in nine varieties, has become a commonly used natural alternative to treat the common cold. According to the National Institute of Health, it can possibly prevent and shorten the lifespan of a cold or other ailments by boosting the immune system. Indigenous to North America, it has been used internally and topically for ages. For Native Americans who lived in the Great Plains, echinacea was one of many herbaceous medicines.
Knowing how to grow echinacea purpurea correctly can add purple power to your garden and a healthy lifestyle.
When asked how to grow echinacea purpurea, experts would recommend a few tools and conditions you’ll need for easy planting and to be sure your echinacea purpurea will grow as quickly and healthily as possible.
- Full sunlight is a must. In addition, Cornell University’s gardening website mentions light shade plus hot weather will enhance the color of the petals.
- Use rich soil with lots of organic matter that drains well.
- Use a trowel to make digging easy and precise.
- You’ll need pruning shears if you are starting plants by cutting from an adult plant. However, if you, like most, are growing seeds, no shears are needed. Shears can also be used for digging into the oil.
- Gloves will come in handy unless you love getting your hands, especially the inside of your fingernails, dirty.
Preparing the Beds
First, map out an area where you would like to plant your echinacea purpurea. Use pruning shears for digging into the soil. Depending on the amount of weeds, you may need to apply herbicide or remove them by hand. Avoid applying herbicide to the area beneath the ground where you will plant your seeds. Next, you can choose to add plastic edging to prevent grass and weeds from re-entering the bed. The last essential step is to add compost or fertilizer.
Planting Echinacea Purpurea
Planting echinacea purpurea only requires only a few steps.
- Prepare for stratification. Seeds go through the necessary state of dormancy. To awaken echinacea from dormancy and prepare for germination, the process of stratification is necessary. The seed should undergo a short period in a cold and moist environment. Author Thomas S.C. Li states that a four to six week period of temperatures between 34 and 40 degrees Fahrenheit is ideal for echinacea species. This can be done in cold weather or even in the refrigerator.
- Allow seeds up to 30 days to germinate.
- Always plant seeds deep enough to prevent birds from eating them.
- Give the plant at least one year to flower.
Caring for Echinacea Purpurea Per Season
Care is one of the easiest aspects of knowing how to grow echinacea purpurea since they don’t enjoy being bothered much. They should be watered in climates that receive no more than an inch of rain weekly. It is said that the plant can even tolerate drought. During warm seasons, use a couple of inches of mulch to help them retain moisture.
During cold months, you do not have to tend to them as much.
Pests and Possible Diseases
Echinacea purpurea plants are susceptible to bacteria, mold, and mildew, which can be easily treated by spraying plants with one part 3% hydrogen peroxide and two parts water solution. The plant is also subject to pests like weevils, mites and leaf miners. You can combat pests by spraying plants with castile soap and applying diatomaceous earth around them.
Harvesting Echinacea Purpurea
You can harvest every part of the echinacea purpurea plant for medicinal use. To harvest the leaves, wait until the plant flowers or the buds begin to open. People say that waiting even longer to harvest the roots, perhaps two to three years results in a stronger tincture. Once harvested, you can make it into powder, tea, salve, and tincture.
Finally, knowing how to grow echinacea purpurea on your own is a great way to improve the aesthetics of your garden, and it’s great for your health. It’s a plant that thrives in sunlight and minimal shade, making it ideal to grow on your own in many regions of North America. Taking careful steps to prepare the seeds and environment, maintain after growth and protect from pests can make you a proud cultivator of one of nature’s most lovely and powerful plants.