Driftless Seed Supply Grower Resources

Echinacea Growing Resources


Echinacea, commonly known as coneflower, is a native North American perennial known for its striking flowers and medicinal properties. It plays a significant role in the ecosystem of native prairies, supporting local wildlife and maintaining biodiversity.

Variety Selection

  • Echinacea purpurea: Popular for cut flowers and medicinal use.
  • Echinacea angustifolia: Widely used for its medicinal roots.

Site Selection and Soil Preparation

  • Sun Exposure: Full sun is ideal.
  • Soil Type: Well-drained soils with high organic matter.
  • Soil pH: Prefers a pH of 6.0-7.5.


  • Timing: Plant in spring or early fall.
  • Spacing: Plant 18-24 inches apart to ensure adequate air circulation. A final spacing of at least 12 inches within row and 24 inches between row will ensure vigorous growth for multiple years.
  • Depth: Sow seeds 1/4 inch deep or plant root divisions. Planting as transplants with several sets of true leaves in the rosette can be helpful for establishment, but can also plant 3-4 seeds in clumps and then thin to one plant.


  • Water Requirements: Moderate. Echinacea is drought-tolerant once established.
  • Watering Method: Drip irrigation or soaker hoses are recommended to avoid wetting foliage.


  • Initial Fertilizer: Apply a balanced organic fertilizer at planting.
  • Ongoing Nutrition: Annual application of compost to promote healthy growth.

Pest and Disease Management

  • Pests: Generally pest-resistant. Watch for aphids and Japanese beetles.
  • Diseases: Avoid overhead watering to prevent fungal diseases like powdery mildew.


For Cut Flowers

  • Timing: Harvest when blooms are just opening.
  • Method: Cut the stem at the desired length, ideally in the morning.

For Medicinal Use

  • Root Harvest: Dig up roots in the fall of the third growing season.
  • Flower Harvest: Pick flowers when they are fully open, typically in mid-summer.

Post-Harvest Handling

  • Cut Flower Care: Place stems in water immediately. Store in a cool place.
  • Root Processing: Clean, chop, and dry roots for medicinal use.

Ecosystem Role

  • Wildlife Attraction: Echinacea is a vital food source for pollinators and beneficial insects.
  • Prairie Ecosystems: Contributes to the biodiversity and health of native prairies.

Additional Tips

  • Deadheading: Regularly remove spent flowers to encourage more blooms.
  • Division: Divide plants every few years to maintain vigor.