Tips for growing Echinacea in a garden, container or pot
Growing Echinacea is easy for beginner gardeners and with these simple tips you’ll be able to have flourishing Echinacea plants at your place.
As beautiful as they are, Echinacea plants aren’t really suited to growing indoors because they grow too big, but they’re easy to grow in pots and containers in a courtyard, balcony or in a nice, sunny spot in your backyard.
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Echinacea (Echinacea purpurea) is also known as Purple Coneflower. It’s native to North America and will grow in most areas that get plenty of sunshine throughout the day.
Echinacea are popular perennial plants because they’re easy to grow and they’re heat, drought and frost resistant.
Their beautiful purple flowers bloom for months in summer and they’re great for attracting bees, butterflies and birds to your garden.
HOW TO GROW ECHINACEA (PURPLE CONEFLOWER)
Best Soil for Echinacea
Echinacea will tolerate poor quality, rocky, sandy and clay soil, but it won’t grow well in wet soil or areas that are prone to flooding.
The ideal soil pH for Echinacea is 6.5 to 7.0.
How much sunlight does Echinacea need?
Echinacea prefers to grow in a position that is in full sun or partial shade. At least 4 – 6 hours of sunlight are needed each day.
How long does Echinacea take to mature?
Echinacea plants begin to bloom within 90-120 days.
How high does Echinacea grow?
Echinacea can grow as high as 3 – 4 feet (90 – 120 centimetres) 
How much space is needed between plants?
Each plant should have at least 12 – 24 inches (30 – 60 centimetres) space in all directions as they spread out a lot.
Growing Echinacea from Seed
Echinacea is easy to grow from seeds. The best time to plant Echinacea seeds is towards the end of winter.
The seeds can be sown directly into the ground or started indoors and transferred to the garden later.
Coneflower seeds usually germinate in 10 – 20 days.
If you live in an area with a mild winter, cold stratification can help with germination.
The seeds can be soaked in water or combined with damp sand and placed in the refrigerator for a few weeks. Then, take them out and plant as you normally would.
Fertilizer for Echinacea
Echinacea is a low maintenance plant that doesn’t need regular fertilizing.
If your soil is poor quality or the plants aren’t flowering well, they may benefit from a balanced fertilizer.
Echinacea doesn’t require much water, but young plants will need regular watering to help them establish new roots.
Water every day or every second day after planting and then a couple of times per week once they’re established.
A layer of mulch around the plants will help to conserve moisture.
Regular deadheading can help to extend the flowering period and keep the plants looking tidy.
Dividing & Transplanting Echinacea
Echinacea plants don’t like to be divided or transplanted. Most Coneflower varieties establish taproots, which makes division and transplantation difficult.
Cutting Echinacea back at the end of Flowering
Coneflower plants can be cut back to the ground in late winter after the flowers have gone to seed.
If you’d like the plants to self-sow for the next year, you can leave the plants as they are over the winter. (The seeds may be eaten by birds though!)
How to Reduce Diseases in Coneflowers
To avoid fungal diseases, it’s best to water the base of the plants and avoid overhead watering whenever you can.
Ensuring there’s enough space in between plants so that the air can circulate will also help to prevent fungal diseases.
If you see spots or mildew on the leaves, it’s best to cut them off so that the mildew doesn’t spread.
Companion Planting for Echinacea
Some popular companion plants for Echinacea include Salvia, Catmint, Gentian and Baby’s Breath. 
Echinacea’s purple flowers contrast well with yellow, pink or orange flowers.
Harvesting and Using Echinacea
The roots, leaves and flowers can be dried and used to make herbal tea, infusions and decoctions.
The roots can be harvested once the plant is two to three years old.
To harvest Echinacea, use a garden fork or shovel to lift the roots out of the ground.
To dry the roots, cut them up into small pieces and lay them out in a well-ventilated area, out of direct sunlight for at least two weeks.
The leaves and flowers can be harvested in the second year of growth anytime during the growing season.
To dry the leaves and flowers, remove them from the stem and lay them flat to dry.
Once they are dry place them in an airtight container, out of direct sunlight.
Echinacea tea can be made by brewing 1 or 2 teaspoons of dried Echinacea in hot water. Allow the tea to steep for 10 minutes before drinking.
Echinacea Varieties to Try in Your Garden
Common questions about growing Echinacea
Is Echinacea Frost Tolerant?
Echinacea can survive cold winter temperatures and tolerates frost. The plants become dormant in winter and re-emerge in the springtime.
Can Echinacea Grow in the Shade?
Echinacea needs at least four to six hours of sunlight a day, so a position in partial shade would be ok but full shade wouldn’t be suitable.
Will Echinacea Grow in Clay Soil?
Echinacea will grow in just about any soil as long as it’s well drained. It doesn’t like soil that is overly wet or continually moist.
Can Echinacea Grow Indoors?
Echinacea can grow up to four feet tall so they’re not well suited to growing indoors, but if you have a sunroom or balcony that gets a lot of sun they’d do well there.
Can Echinacea Grow in a Pot or Container?
Echinacea can be grown in a container or pot as long as it’s deep enough to accommodate the plant’s taproot.
The pot should have plenty of drainage holes and some gravel or crushed rocks in the bottom to allow for drainage.
Where Does Echinacea Grow?
Echinacea will grow in most areas that receive adequate sunshine.
Final Thoughts on Growing Echinacea
Coneflowers including Echinacea are easy to maintain plants that will tolerate most conditions.
They’re a great plant for beginner gardeners because they don’t need much attention and it won’t matter if they’re a bit neglected.
If they’re given rich, well-drained soil and plenty of sunshine they will thrive.