How to Plant, Grow, and Care for Coneflowers



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Purple coneflowers, also known as Echinacea, are attractive and rugged flowers that draw butterflies and songbirds to the garden! Here’s how to grow coneflowers.

Bright and colorful, these perennials are daisy-like with raised centers, and it’s the seeds found in the dried flower heads that attract birds as well as butterflies.

They tend to bloom midsummer, are relatively drought-tolerant, and can take the heat! Coneflowers also make great cut flowers!


  • Loosen the soil in your garden using a garden fork or tiller to 12 to 15 inches deep, then mix in a 2- to 4-inch layer of compost. (Learn more about preparing soil for planting.)
  • Plant the seeds in the spring in humus-rich, well-drained soil about 1 to 3 feet apart, depending on the type, in full sun. Coneflowers can tolerate some shade.
  • If you are moving a potted plant outside from inside, dig a hole about twice the pot’s diameter and carefully place the plant in the soil. Bury the plant to the top of the root ball, but make sure the root ball is level with the soil surface. Water it thoroughly.


  • In the spring, put a thin layer of compost around the plants, then a 2–inch layer of mulch to help keep the plants moist and prevent weeds.
  • If you receive less than an inch of rain a week, water your plants regularly during the summer.
  • If your plants are floppy, cut them to the ground after they flower.
  • Remember to cut off the dead/faded flowers to prolong the blooming season and prevent excessive self-seeding. To attract birds, keep the late-season flowers on the plants to mature.
  • Divide your plants into clumps every 3 to 4 years in spring or autumn, although coneflowers do not like excessive disturbance.


Recommended Varieties

Wit & Wisdom

Reader Comments

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When the flowers start to look old and scraggly, do I cut the entire leaf or pop them off the stem. Have read most of these comments. Thank you SO much for ALL of this knowledge. I learned I can plant my seeds off the flowers.Yeah!!!!!

Deadheading Coneflowers

Cut the flower off just above the nearest leaf node to encourage more blooms. You can save the flower head if you’d like to collect the seeds for planting. Note that coneflower seeds are a favorite food of goldfinches, so leaving a few blooms on the plant will not only result in automatic reseeding, but also very happy birds.

Compost vs. Manure

Which is better and healthier for the cone flower? I recently bought a bag of manure and I'm not going to lie, I've already spread it around my plants and flowers. Will this have any consequences to my cone flower?

growing echinacea (coneflower)

You’re in luck! Either’s fine. Put two inches of organic matter (compost or manure) around coneflowers. That’s all they need–no other fertilizer. But if you use manure, it should be aged enough that it’s brown and crumbly and no longer heating up the soil when you turn or mix it.

white coneflowers

I have had a white coneflower going very well for at least 3-4 years. This year it is blooming purple.. Any idea what caused that?

coneflower changing color

We have heard of some “White Swan” coneflowers reverting to purple. Or, it’s possible that your plant was a hybrid cross between white and purple and dropped a seed last year that grew purple? Hard to say!


I planted 3 Echinacea plants in my garden last year and am hoping they return this year But it is june so far nothing. Does this mean I should try to plant them again?

Coneflowers Not Coming Back

Unfortunately, if you’re not seeing any sign of life by mid-summer, the coneflowers likely did not make it. For future plantings, keep in mind that coneflowers prefer well-drained soil that’s on the drier side. If they are planted in a particularly wet area, their roots may rot. 

Hardiness planting zone

Will these thrive in zone 10, 11 ? Tropical weather ?

Coneflowers hardiness zones

Coneflowers are not hardy for zones 10 and 11. See the zone list at the top of this page (on right side).

Color of Cone Flowers

Why do our cone flowers that are supposed to be multi-colored turn out to be all pink? Does soil PH affect the color of cone flowers?

coneflower color

So far as we can tell, the soil would have to be extremely unsuitable to have an effect on the flower color. Is it possible that the plant tag is/was not accurate? (Sometimes tags get switched in nurseries by accident.)  We suggest that you contact the source and ask them your color questions.


i planted some coneflowers about last month and they haven't sprouted yet

Lots of leaves but nooo flowers

Last year my cone flowers first year it blossomed wonderfully, now this year all it has done is grow leaves, and more leaves....not a flower stem to be seen. What is going on ??

Coneflowers Not Blooming

It could be that they are not getting enough sun or the soil conditions aren’t favorable, or there are insufficient nutrients–or some combination of these stress factors. Next year, try fertilizing them regularly. If they don’t bloom again, you might want to transplant them into a sunnier location (if possible) with soil amended with compost.



Does cone flower make good honey? I know bees love it but will the honey on the bee farm taste good?

Honey bees certainly love to

Honey bees certainly love to forage on coneflowers (Echinacea) for their pollen.  They tend to visit many flowers to make honey, such as clover and borage, so it would be hard for us to know what a pure coneflower honey might taste like.  Let us know if you find out!

cone flower

I have a mauve colored cone plant,well established. It has stopped flowering, it's early September in Alabama. Can I cut the plant down to the ground or do I let it completely die on it's own. It won't frost here until late October /November.:

Cut Back Cone Flower

Hi Vicki,

As with all perennial plants, it is a good idea to let them die back to the ground naturally. They may not be flowering but they are still photosynthesizing. Allowing that process to continue late into the fall enables them to store energy for the winter (and ultimately, for the next growing season).

Purple coneflowers

Plant them in bunches or individually?

Planting Coneflowers

Hi Joan,

You will want to plant them individually. If you have 4-inch pots (a standard size for transplants), space them 18 to 24 inches apart (this helps with air circulation–a preventative measure to stave off powdery mildew). Individual plants typically grow 2 to 3 feet wide, at which point dividing them is a good idea to keep that air circulating!


I recently purchased some healthy coneflowers from a local nursery. The weather in the NC foothills is extremely hot and dry, so I decided to plant them in large pots. Can I put them into the ground in Sept. when the weather cools?

Coneflowers dying

I just planted five coneflowers in my Texas garden. One is doing beautifully and the other two are browning. I am watering every other day. Any suggestions to take care of them would be appreciated!

Browning Coneflowers

It is difficult to diagnose a problem after just a few days. They may be suffering from transplant shock, though that typically results in drooping, not browning. All things being equal (same plant species, soil conditions, light exposure, watering regime, etc.) it could be that two of the five just weren’t destined to make it. That does happen. Maybe they had different treatment at the nursery.

Moving coneflowers

I am building a deck and need to move my coneflowers. Is moving them at this time of year going to upset them greatly?

Transplanting Coneflowers

While summer is not the ideal time to move plants, it can be done. Soak them really well before digging them, prep the area into which they will be going, dig as wide as possible around the base so as to limit feeder root damage, plant them right away, water again, and mulch. Then monitor them. You will probably need to water more than you normally would. They will likely droop a bit while they get reestablished, but with a little care, they should be fine.

cone flowers and oriential poppies.

I live in Northern Kentucky and have finally got oriental poppies to grow and flower, I planted some cone flowers around them to fill in once they go dormant in the summer. A friend told me that the cone .will take over and I will lose my poppies. Is this true and if so how can I keep both as I really like both plants

Coneflowers and Oriental Poppies

It’s true that happy coneflowers can grow with vigor and possibly shade out less vigorous plants. The ticket to keeping both species is to be sure to divide your coneflowers every other season, and save and disperse the seeds of your poppies. By editing the coneflower and aiding seed dispersal of the poppies, you will help to give them a chance (and room) to propagate.

I cut my coneflower down in

I cut my coneflower down in the fall and still nothing growing in June, will it eventually start growing?

still nothing in June

Coneflower can be very temperamental, especially if it is a hybrid. If it makes it past the first winter you have a good chance it will be around awhile. Since it should start blooming in July, if you have no greenery now it is probably dead. Many expert gardeners recommend treating coneflower hybrids as an annual and if it comes up in the spring that is a bonus!


I think a groundhog chomped on my coneflower. Will it make a recovery this year? It still has a lot of plant left.

Coneflowers and groundhogs

Yes, groundhogs love coneflowers. I’m afraid trapping or disrupting their tunnel system is the only solution. If the groundhog just ate part of the plant, it may produce more buds, but the groundhog may also return.  Using pots is always a solution next time or you need to use fencing.

Cone Flowers

While cleaning a vinyl fence with a strong bleach mixture this past end, the mixture was sprayed on the plants which were about 12 to 15 inches tall. After 2 days the leaves are curling and turning a greyish brown color and look even worse today. Do you think the cone flower plants will survive. What should I do at this point. Thank you.

Only time will tell, Marie.

Only time will tell, Marie. Remove the leaves that are curling and turning color.

Cone Flowers

Hi, Thank you for your response. In addition to the leaves the stems are also spotted and the plants usually grow at a quick pace at this time of the year on Cape Cod. It appears all growth has stopped. If I cut the plants down to ground level do you think it may help? Also, it has poured several times since they were sprayed with the bleach. The bleach has probably entered the soil but could have been diluted. Thank you again.


How do I go about transferring my some kind of tulip I believe. Either. Planter r ground?


Last summer I purchased about 30 Coneflowers.
One or two of any color I could find. They all
bloomed beautifully. Now we are in the Middle of May, and only about 1/3 have returned. Is this because some of them just come at different times? Thank you
Donna Short in pa

The varieties may start

The varieties may start growing at different times in the spring and some varieties may be hardier than others. If you know the varieties of your coneflowers you can do some research online to find out about their growing habit and hardiness. The link below may be helpful.



Salsa red Sombrero coneflower seeds

Help. I planted these red coneflower seeds inside on April 8 in the sunniest spot I have and later added a grow light. So far there's not even a small sign of green or life. Should I give up? Thank you, Mary Lou in Santa Fe .

where are they?

Did you keep the seeds moist? Sun will dry soil pretty quickly, and most seeds need moisture in order to germinate.

Did you set them at the proper depth (check the seed packet)? If they are too deep they may not set.

Never give up. I honestly think that moisture may be what’s missing.

Early spring coneflowers damaged by weed eater

Hello. I have a well established (planted 2 years ago) bed of coneflowers. They bloomed the entire summer and fall of last year. This spring the new growth was healthy & strong..about 3 inches high, and the person who mows my grass cut them severely down, thinking they were weeds. What should I do? They show some new growth and haven't died yet. Will I have any flowers this year?

Your plants will grow back

Your plants will grow back but you may not have as many flowers as last year. Think of it as heavy pruning.

missing coneflowers

I planted about 8 to 9 coneflowers last year. They grew and had good blooms all summer into fall. I went to clean out my flower beds this past weekend (leaves) to get ready for spring/summer and there is not one that I can find. Nothing. It's like they completely disappear. No sign whatsoever. What happened???


Hi, Denise: If you can find absolutely no trace of the plants, including stems and leaves, you may indeed have a mystery on your hands–unless you live in Area 51, that is, and this is some kind of X-Files thing. But  echinacea is tasty to a lot of critters, and many will just haul away the seedhead–and sometimes anything attached to it–for further inspection elsewhere. Our guess? Deer. Thanks for asking!


I know they'll eat most anything, but I thought coneflowers repelled deer. Wrong?

Deer Resistant Coneflowers

Coneflowers won’t repel deer, but they are generally considered to be deer resistant, meaning that deer will usually pass the flowers over in favor of eating something else. As you said, deer will eat most anything, though, and coneflowers are no exception when other food is scarce.

Coneflowers dead?

I live in zone 9, near Tampa. I have never grown coneflower, and I planted 2 hybrid coneflowers, late summer last year, in September. Both of them started to die in December. Now it is late February and both plants are dead all the way to the ground. I gently yanked the remaining brown stems, just to see how dead they actually were and they came off easily in my hands. There is now no signs of life there at all. Will they come back, or should I just try to plant new ones? If they are actually dead, what might have killed them? We had a mild winter with a few frosts, but generally Temps did not go below 30. I watered lightly only every few days through the winter months, which has always been adequate for my other plants. Thank you!

Coneflower in Florida

Hi, Julie, Such a particular problem requires a particular response—and our experience with this particular combination of circumstances is shallow. So we sought out some people/sources who appear to be experts.

• This page suggests that the “vast majority of coneflower being propagated in Florida does not come from Florida stock” and so acts like annuals in Florida; this could be your problem:

• This page says that Purple Coneflower is native, but can be vulnerable to slugs:

• As the first link suggests, there are several varieties of coneflower, more still because they were produced/introduced in a rainbow of colors a few years ago. It’s not clear what your hybrid is, and that’s why this page may be of interest. Scroll down through the alphabet of plants on this page until you get to “Cone Flower.” You’ll see a picture of a YELLOW—not PURPLE—flower. The text indicates that this variety is native to Florida and thus more likely to thrive.  (Pls note that there is a plant sale mentioned in this text; we have absolutely no information on that event; contact the source of the page for more information.)

We hope this helps! Gardening is always an experiment in nature.

Should I cut the blooms off my newly planted Coneflowers?

I just bought and planted a whole bunch of "PowWow" and "White Swan" coneflowers end of September. They look pretty happy with nice blooms. Now I'm reading online that you should not let the flowers bloom the first year so that the roots develop and they make it through the winter. But the blooms were already all there when I bought them. Should I quickly cut off all the blooms and buds on my plants? Or wait till they die off naturally (which I assume should happen soon). I'm not sure if this late in the year any of the energy would go into making roots anyway. I am in Virginia and it is just starting to get cold with nights down below 40 degrees. It would be sad if they died their first winter!

If your plants are healthy

If your plants are healthy and had a good-size rootball when you planted them they should be fine. You can add mulch around the plants when the ground freezes.

I have white coneflowes

I have white coneflowes planted in my back garden which gets sun early in the morning. When they bloomed the stems were crooked and bent over. Should I move them to more sun or is there something else wrong?

Coneflowers prefer full sun

Coneflowers prefer full sun and lean, dry soil. Usually the stems are very sturdy but there could be many factors causing yours to bend. Are there borers living in the stems? Did you over-fertilize which causes rapid weak growth? Did they get too much water? Is the soil heavy and wet? Try moving them to a sunny spot with sandy soil and see if that helps.

I recently was giving the

I recently was giving the tops from a friend from her cone flowers, I was told to just plant them in my flower beds and they will grow next year, they will create a root from the seeds from the cone flower heads. By chance is this correct, they are beautiful flowers, just want to check before I planted soon.

If the seedheads are nice and

If the seedheads are nice and dry you can plant them in the ground. You may want to break the heads open and take out the individual seeds to plant. Just remember that the seeds need at least 2 to 3 weeks of chilling temperatures to germinate. If you have cold winters you are all set.

Hi, It is now Aug4 and my

Hi, It is now Aug4 and my Cons have had a great season of growth and flowering due to little help from me. I have noticed that that the purple are not looking as good as the yellow but of late we have had less rain so the plants seem to be top heavy and are falling from the weight it seems. My question is how should I prep for winter and should I cut back the heavey plants? Do I just let them go the distance? Thanks.

Hi Pat, Cut off the dead

Hi Pat, Cut off the dead flowers to prolong the blooming season and prevent excessive self-seeding. If your plants are floppy, cut them to the ground after they are done blooming. To attract birds, keep the late-season flowers on the plants to mature.

Some of my cone flowers have

Some of my cone flowers have finished blooming and it looks like the seeds in the head are sprouting. I've never seen this happen before.
The finches are having a great time eating seeds from the others. Could you tell me if what looks like sprouting actually is?

I have purple and light

I have purple and light yellow cone flowers and the light yellow look healthy but the petals have not filled in. The raised center looks healthy...why no petals?

I've had Purple Coneflower

I've had Purple Coneflower plants for years. Pulled some out last year with Aster Yellows. Every year some of the plants' leaves turn brownish and harden a bit. I've never understood but removed them as they appeared. This year, two of the plants' central blooming stalk - all its leaves and leaves to all the buds down the stalk have turned the same brownish color and have the same tough texture. The flowers are still beautiful and most of the leaves on the whole plant are a healthy looking green although some look like they want to join their ugly friends. Is this a fixable condition?

Too much moisture on the

Too much moisture on the leaves and stems can cause them to turn brown. Make sure there is air circulation around the plants and if you need to water only water the soil around the plants. Brown spots on the leaves can also be caused by bacterial leaf spot disease.

I just planted some

I just planted some coneflowers from the nursery (and apparently too close together I have learned from comments) but I have noticed that the flower stems are standing up straight and tall all morning, but by the afternoon they are drooped in half. the next morning they are seemingly back to normal and then droop again in the after non. is this normal? they get a solid 6 hours of direct sunlight

Coneflowers do indeed wilt in

Coneflowers do indeed wilt in more drought-like conditions, but will recover with the evening dew. It sounds as though it is hot and they are thirsty and need more water to get them through the summer days.

My son brought home a purple

My son brought home a purple coneflower seedling at the end of the school year. We will be moving, so I don't want to plant it in the ground. Can I plant it in a big pot? If I do, how can I help it to go dormant this winter if we haven't moved by then? Also, when is the best time of year to plant them in the ground?

Yes, you can keep it alive in

Yes, you can keep it alive in a pot. To help it go dormant this winter, leave the pot outside. If you are concerned that the pot might be buried in snow when you are set to move, you can also store it in the refrigerator. The best time of year to transplant is spring or fall. Good luck!

I got a few coneflowers last

I got a few coneflowers last week. I'd like to put them in a container. How big of a container will I need to put both in the same one? Also, at this point, will they survive? Or am I better off putting them in the ground now? I live in northeastern Ohio. Thanks!

Hi Deb, The coneflowers will

Hi Deb,
The coneflowers will do better if you plant them in the ground. They will have time to establish before the cold weather arrives and will be better protected during the winter months.

Recently, I planted a

Recently, I planted a butterfly and hummingbird garden. Everything that I planted has popped up through the ground and looking great! However, my coneflower plant has not. Am I getting impatient or could it just not be time yet? How much longer should I wait? I located in zone 6A. Thanks - Lori

As you probably know, this

As you probably know, this plant does not ask for much. However, if you have not had much rain, keep it well watered (in well draining soil). You can also try working in a small amount of well composted material into the soil. More than that, we are not aware of what might be amiss. Wait and see what happens.

I live very close to Winnipeg

I live very close to Winnipeg Manitoba(Zone 2B I believe). I purchased a potted Purple Coneflower(Magnus Superior) at a local gardening center and planted it last spring. It seemed to do well last summer. I did not prune it. It has not yet shown signs of returning. Is it too much to expect it to survive our winter? Can I assume it is dead or does it tend to be late in coming up and I just need to be patient?

Hi, Melanie: If you live near

Hi, Melanie: If you live near Winnipeg, it is more likely that you are in Zone 3 or even 4, which should be fine. Sometimes, though, site-specific microclimates can be colder (or warmer, for that matter) than we think, so you never know. Assuming that your plant didn't have some underlying pest issue that wasn't obvious last year, it could be that it is just waiting for the soil to get warmer. It seems as if you should be OK. Thanks for asking!

Something in my garden is

Something in my garden is causing malformation of leaves and or leaves and stems on many of my coneflower plants. I first suspected nematodes now I'm not sure as some plants are only affected at the very top and all of the plants look healthy, just distorted in one way or another.

Coneflowers are susceptible

Coneflowers are susceptible to disease because they're often overcrowded or water is getting on the leaves. This causes some form of leaf spot. The solution is to water in a way that keeps moisture off the leaves and stems. Apply a fungicide to protect healthy plants.

I purchased a pot of

I purchased a pot of echinacia last fall with plans of planting. I unexpectedly had back surgery and they didn't get planted. They stayed in our back porch all winter. It's now getting close to planting time and I was wondering if I should plant them or if I killed them by not planting them in the fall?

Hi Amy, Wait to see if the

Hi Amy,
Wait to see if the plants will start growing in the pot before planting in the ground. Give the pot some water and put it in a sunny spot. The flowers may have survived depending on where you live and how cold the winter was.

It is a chilly March 16 and

It is a chilly March 16 and my echinacea plants just arrived. Insructions say plant immediately. Its going to be 20 degrees tonight. My gut says to wait. I would love your advice

Hi Eden, Did the plants come

Hi Eden,
Did the plants come in small pots? We suggest that you plant them in bigger containers and keep them indoors. When the weather warms up you can plant the coneflowers in the garden.

I'm planting many coneflowers

I'm planting many coneflowers this spring, they are potted plants, will they flower this year or not.

If the plants are not too

If the plants are not too tiny they will grow and produce flowers this year.

The voles have devoured my

The voles have devoured my coneflower plants for the last several years as I continue to spread more and more vole granular repellant and sprays. Will a coneflower plant live if left in its container, planted in the ground, that has a few small holes cut into it to allow for some root growth, and will this arrangement prevent voles fem eating the rootball?

Sinking a pot into the soil

Sinking a pot into the soil will protect the rootball. Plant your coneflowers in big plastic pots and they should be fine. Some readers have lined a hole in the garden with fine chicken wire and then planted the flowers inside the "cage" and filled in with soil.

help my butterfly garden has

help my butterfly garden has been taken over by Giant Foxtails. I have been told to use a preemergent spray next spring. How to I save the seeds from the plants I want to keep, like hollyhocks and coneflowers?

Hi Sandi, If you use pre

Hi Sandi,
If you use pre emergents to kill the fox tails you will not be able to plant your flower seeds in that location next year. Collect the dried seed heads and seeds from your flowers this fall and store them in envelopes or containers over the winter. Next spring plant them in different spot or build a raised bed with fresh soil.

I am attempting to make a

I am attempting to make a butterfly garden.. I burned the area, disked, and sprayed with roundup. I planted a bunch of plants, Holly hocks, black eyed susans, Cheyenne coneflowers, Shasta daisys, and more. But when grass started coming up-I thought this is ok I wanted a natural look. However I wasn't counting on Giant Foxtail, which grew over 5-6 feet tall and shaded everthing. I have been told to use preemergent spray next spring-but what about the seeds from my other plants?

I would get rid of the

I would get rid of the roundup and all chemicals for next year. They are toxic for butterflies and bees.

I've been trying to grow

I've been trying to grow coneflowers from seeds tree years now ( no success the past two ) this year finally they grow, but then when they start giving flowers I notice the that someting was wrong, the center looks so brown and uneven I cut the flower and pinch it open and what a surprise I find a lot of tiny worms, I cut all the flowers that look like they have the same problem hoping that I will get rid of the problem but unfortunately the new flowers have the same problem and also my zinnias have been affected by, what can I do ?

Good morning, Our Almanac

Good morning, Our Almanac Garden Guide Editor reviewed your problem and, even though we don't have a picture, she finetuned our dianosis. She says it sounds more like eriophyid mites (tiny worms) or sunflower moth larvae. Here is more information:
If you do wish to email a photo, you can send it to:
We hope this helps. Sincerely, your OFA editors

The woodchucks and rabbits

The woodchucks and rabbits have devestated my echinacea plants this season,both those in the ground and those in pots that were to be planted. WIll they come back next year after having been denuded?They came back this year but not as strong as first year and they were partially eaten last season. I fear not enough sugars were produced for the root stock to survive the winter!?

The plants will come back

The plants will come back next year but maybe not as big and strong as in past years. We suggest that you come up with a plan to protect them so that critters will not be able  to eat them next season. Maybe a fence or move them to a different area of your garden.

My cone flowers have always

My cone flowers have always done well, but this year lots of them had extra little shoots come up on the centerpart of bloom and they never had any color. What do you suggest I do?

I read about something called

I read about something called Aster yellows this may be what you are experiencing.

I planted Echinacea with the

I planted Echinacea with the intention of.harvesting it for.its cough suppressing properties..only problem is..I dont know when to harvest..and how would I go about using it? Do I just boil and seep or let it set and how does it even work? My apologies if this is the wrong place for these questions. Thank you

First time for me with

First time for me with coneflowers. Some are doing great others seem to turn black over night. I cut off the black flower. Some of the plants just turn black and gray and die

Hi Roena, Too much water can

Hi Roena,

Too much water can cause cone flowers to turn brown or black and wither. They grow best in dry to slightly moist soil.

i recently purchased a white

i recently purchased a white cone flower today all the flowers have been taken off I have purple cone flowers which remain fine and ive had for years. what can i put around or on the white cone flower to deter whatever is eating it. we do have a rabbit that comes around once in awhile and daily squirrels.

I bought 5 WHITE coneflower

I bought 5 WHITE coneflower plants from Lowe's. They were already all blooming. They all had PURE WHITE petals and a golden yellow colored center. Recently, ALL of my 5 plants' petals are looking a greenish color - all the way through the petal, not white. The centers have turned from a golden yellow to a chartreuse color. What is going on?

I recently bought several

I recently bought several coneflower plants and just planted them in crocks for my daughters wedding in 3 weeks. What do I need to do for them tomlook their best for her wedding? They look great right now.

Hi, Hoosier1: 1. Read and

Hi, Hoosier1: 1. Read and follow the care tips above. 2. Watch for pests. 3. Make sure they don't get too hot. They can definitely take full sun, but feel free to move them temporarily into partial shade or to where there's a breeze on a scorcher. 4. Take this off your list, chill, and have a great wedding. Congratulations to your daughter from The OFA -- and you can quote us!

My mother planted the roots

My mother planted the roots of coneflowers this past spring. There is no sign of any growth. Will growth happen next year?

That's one prediction that we

That's one prediction that we can not make with certainty, Gina.
We can tell you that the best results of dividing, or planting the roots of, coneflowers (aka echinacea) are achieved by taking a "good-size" clump of a thriving plant—not small pieces in hopes of setting more plants. Ideally, the soil should be broken up a bit (not compact) so the roots have room to roam. And the soil should be kept moist but not wet.
If division is done when the plant is dormant, too much water could cause root rot. March to September are the most propitious times for dividing this plant.

I live in the city, and the

I live in the city, and the wildlife we get are raccoons, possums, squirrels and a variety of birds. Something is coming into my garden and eating the tops off my purple coneflowers. By the tops, I mean the flowers themselves. Do any of the animals I've mentioned eat the tops off coneflowers? And if so, what can I do to stop them, short of putting out poison or anything else that is lethal and dangerous?

If you have woodchucks

If you have woodchucks (groundhogs) or rabbits around, they particularly like coneflower. If it is just the petals missing, it may be earwigs.

Does soil acidity affect cone

Does soil acidity affect cone flower color, as with hydrangeas?

No, the same is not true of

No, the same is not true of coneflower.



I am adding 3 New colors of

I am adding 3 New colors of coneflowers to my yard, do I need to plant them away from each other? Will they mix colors ? This seemed to happen with my colombine. Thanks.

I was praying for bugs in

I was praying for bugs in weeds with bug and weed killer on my cauliflower and now they are all hungover and sad what should I do? should I cut them off?

It's the power of sprayer!

It's the power of sprayer!

Oh, I'm relieved! I thought

Oh, I'm relieved! I thought she was praying for bugs and weeds.

What was in your sprayer

What was in your sprayer previous to the bug spray? Sounds like you had weed killer in it. After spraying, wash your sprayer with cold water, then hot soapy water, then rinse again with cold. Otherwise have separate sprayer for bug spray.

I planted coneflowers for the

I planted coneflowers for the first time this year and something is eating the petals of the flowers. I have looked and don't see anything. Any suggestions?

If you have finches in your

If you have finches in your area it could be them. For whatever reason, finches love to eat my coneflower leaves.

My 4 year old coneflowers

My 4 year old coneflowers here in Maine have started budding and I would like to pinch them back to prevent flopping over. Does this mean I will have to nip a few buds off or do I look for stalks without buds and only pinch those? Now mid-June.

Hi Marcia, It's recommended

Hi Marcia,
It's recommended to pinch coneflowers back before they start budding. You can cut some of the stalks without buds back and then after the blossoms fade cut those stem shorter than you usually do when deadheading.

Hello, Can you explain what

Can you explain what "pinching back" is and it's purpose.
I've enjoyed reading the questions and comments here. Thank you.

Thank you, Leigh! "Pinching

Thank you, Leigh! "Pinching back" means that you are removing the tip of the shoot -- the bud and the first set of leaves -- with your fingers. This helps the plant product more flowers! It also keeps plants more compact so they don't get too tall and spindly.

My well-established purple

My well-established purple coneflower has been looking good this spring. However, this week I noticed the top 3" or so of two stems, with buds, drooping over. On one stem I noticed a black spot which could indicate a boring pest. Am curious to know what, if anything I can do about it. The rest of the plant looks healthy. I'm anxious for some blooms!

My coneflowers usually grow

My coneflowers usually grow like gangbusters. Lately they have black spots on the leaves?? What is it and how do I treat it??

Hi Kathleen, It sounds like

Hi Kathleen,
It sounds like you have Alternaria leaf spot or Bacterial leaf spot. Keep moisture off the leaves and stems when you water. Try using an organic copper spray.

Planted cone flowers for the

Planted cone flowers for the first time and rabbits ate them, will the growth return this year?

A couple of years ago my

A couple of years ago my coneflower plant disappeared entirely, like something underground grabbed it and pulled it under. The ground was virtually undisturbed and there was no sign that I even had the plant in the ground. Would rabbits demolish a plant that thoroughly? Could it really have been pulled underground?

Our only thought is that some

Our only thought is that some of the hybrid coneflowers have not survived winters well and get root rot. Stick to the pure coneflowers. Also, try leaving the stalks through the winter. And make sure they are in a place that gets FULL Sun.

I don't know about

I don't know about coneflowers but gophers did the same thing to my garlic plants. They disappeared one by one till they were all gone

The same thing happened to

The same thing happened to all my Echinacea. It' the voles (not moles but voles). They love the roots and will eat anything from below. I learned the hard way for about 5 years. Every year I bought and replanted new coneflowers and they were eaten by the voles. I have since then researched everything and tried all possible ways to get rid of the little critters. To no avail. I dug up what was left and planted all my coneflowers in wire baskets with less than 1/4" holes into the ground and that has solved the problem although any roots that grow through the holes still get eaten.
Hope this helps!

This is my first time having

This is my first time having cone flowers (Echinacea) I was wondering if we put it in a pot how wide and tall dose the pot need to be. I know after a couple of days u need to move it to the ground.

Hi, I live on east coast. We

Hi, I live on east coast. We moved into our new house last summer and the already there coneflowers were beautiful and blooming. Then in winter they withered and became dried bushes. Now it's early spring again but we never cut the bushes or did anything to it. please let me know if there is something i need to do or are they going to come alive and bloom on their own?? Thanks for you help in advance!

Just remove dead foliage and

Just remove dead foliage and stems in the fall, winter or early spring. We tend to wait until after the winter as the seed heads are great for the winter birds. You can cut coneflowers down to 3 inches from the base. They are perennials and will return.

I am looking to buy some cox

I am looking to buy some cox cones or even the seeds do you know where I can find them?

This page is for

This page is for "coneflowers" and not cockscomb. Baker Creek is a good source:

I think you mean cockscomb or

I think you mean cockscomb or celosia. I would think any nursery would have seeds. You can also purchase the plants at most any nursery in the spring.

Can I plants seeds in pots?

Can I plants seeds in pots? And will they return year after year?

Yes, you can sow the seeds of

Yes, you can sow the seeds of coneflowers (Echinacia) in pots indoors with an air temperature of 65 to 70 °F. Cover very lightly with potting soil and keep the pots misted until germination occurs (10 to 20 days). Transplant in the ground 20 to 28 days after sowing in the spring or summer, up to 2 months before frost. Keep in mind that Echinacea started from seed can take 2 or more years to develop into a sizable plant.
As stated above, coneflowers are perennials--which means that they come back year after year.
Note that all perennials require a period of dormancy or a cold treatment to bloom so it's not advisable to keep the plant in the pot unless you can find a way to winterize it.

In the fall when the

In the fall when the temperatures go down and the coneflower seed heads turn black, can I just sprinkle the seeds on the ground for more flowers the next year. Do I cover the seeds with more soil or just leave them sprinkled on the top and if so how much soil?
(Zone 5).

Fall is a perfect time to sow

Fall is a perfect time to sow coneflower seeds. Just sprinkle the dried seeds on the soil. They need light to germinate in the spring.

Thanks (re the light) I

Thanks (re the light) I didn't know that..I've been dead heading and poking the whole seed head in the ground, with hopes that it will give me flowers next year? I didn't realize that all I had to do was sprinkle the seeds on top!

I bought a corn flower this

I bought a corn flower this spring and it was in a pot I live in the okanagan in bc Canada and I just relized it's not an annual what do I do with it is it too late to put it in the ground ?? It's quite established and huge I don't want it to die should I bring it inside or leave it pot or stick it in the ground it's ranging from 8-12 degres during the day and has gotten as low as -2 any ideas thanks

Hi Lauren, Cone flowers are

Hi Lauren,
Cone flowers are resilient. Plant it in the ground and put some mulch around it. Spring and fall are the best times to transplant. Good luck!

I just dead headed some

I just dead headed some coneflowers from my neighbor and picked the seeds. Now someone wrote that I have to put them in the freezer until next April? This just doesn't make sense to me. I live in CT. Please explain...

Seeds may be sown outside in

Seeds may be sown outside in late fall or stored and sown in the spring. Collect mature seedheads in the fall and break them open to extract seeds. Coneflowers, unlike some plants, need cold-moist stratification for two months improves germination. Place the seeds in the refrigerator for two weeks prior to starting. When you do plant, expose the seeds to light first on the soil surface before you pat them into the ground.

Can I plant the seed heads in

Can I plant the seed heads in the Fall from wild coneflowers and expect growth in the following Spring?

Do the seed heads drop in the Fall and multiply the plant in the following Spring? Seems to be happening in a wild patch observed the past 5 years near my home in a rural housing development.

Yes, coneflowers self-seed.

Yes, coneflowers self-seed. They drop their seed in the fall.  Or, you can harvest the seeds in late fall after they dry on the plant. Store in a dry place and replant in spring.

My coneflowers did extremely

My coneflowers did extremely well this year but now have a growth ive never seen before. On the seed head (we leave a few standing for the birds) some of them have green sprouts, almost like a new set of leaves sprouting out. Ive searched the internet but cannot find information on this. Any thoughts?

The only thing we can find is

The only thing we can find is that "aster-yellows" will cause central cones to mutate and sprout leaves and green flowers. This is a disease that indicates a sick plant and they would need to be pulled out.  However, before jumping to any conclusions, we would bring a sample to your county cooperative extension of garden nursery.

It hard

It hard

My cone flower plant is about

My cone flower plant is about 5 years old and always had plenty of purple flowers. This year..there are no purple petals on the plant. Just the centers. What to do?

I'm afraid that your

I'm afraid that your coneflowers may have a disease called asters yellows. It comes from infected leafhoppers. Once infected, it is a lost cause since the disease is incurable. Bring a sample to your local cooperative extension or garden nursury to confirm diagnosis. If confirmed, you need to remove the plants and, for the foreseeable future, look for less susceptible plants such as verbena, salvia, nicotiana, geranium, cockscomb, and impatiens.

I planted my Coneflowers last

I planted my Coneflowers last year in a pot. This year I have a l large stem about 3' tall, that looks like a weed. I don't see any thing that looks like a bud & it's already mid July. Is this normal?

It's difficult to answer this

It's difficult to answer this correctly without seeing the plant that you suspect might be a weed. Here's what we can tell you: First, nothing is guaranteed, so it's possible that the plant you put into a pot failed to thrive and that is indeed a weed. This plant likes sun, well-drained soil, not a lot of water, and not very fertile soil. If you think you have cared for it properly, you could consider taking it to a nursery or the like so that someone could see what you've got, that is, of course, if the pot is manageable.

Where do you cut the flower

Where do you cut the flower when deadheading?

Good question. It's

Good question. It's preference. If there aren't more buds, you could just cut down the stalk or some people like to cut to the leaf. If you still have buds, cut above the new bud. When you're nearing the end of the season, you could just leave the seed heads on—and they will self-seed or attract feathered friends.

My coneflowers are 3-4 feet

My coneflowers are 3-4 feet tall and getting wide. Do I have to wait till fall to cut them?

Nope, cut your coneflowers

Nope, cut your coneflowers when they're done blooming if you want to do so. If you want them to self-seed, leave the flower heads for the birds over the winter-and you may get new spouts next season! If you don't want your coneflowers to spread, cut them down.

I planted my beautiful funnel

I planted my beautiful funnel shaped pink coneflower plant many years ago. It looked terrific for a few years and now the flowers are almost white and the shape of a daisy? Is there something I need to do to get the original flower shape & colour?

Coneflowers need to be

Coneflowers need to be divided every 3 to 4 years to keep blooming well. In the spring, as new growth starts, lift the plants, divide them into clumps, and replant spaced apart.

I have a large patch of

I have a large patch of coneflowers with NO BLOOMS , could this be my problem ???

do I cut coneflowers right

do I cut coneflowers right down in the fall? do they come back up from the ground? first time with them :)

Hi, Rolande, You can deadhead

Hi, Rolande, You can deadhead coneflowers after the blooms get spent to encourage more blooming if you wish (though not required). Leave some seeds for the birds. Cut back half the plants in June for later flowing. Then, you can leave the coneflowers standing through winter if you wish. And, yes, you can cut all of them down to the ground after a hard frost. If you live in a cold area, add some light mulch. They are perennials and you'll see them again next season!

We planted our coneflowers we

We planted our coneflowers we got from the nursery in mid may. They are in full sun and have had plenty of rain. Unfortunately they are not growing. In fact, the flowers are turning black. What are we doing wrong?

Unfortunately, "plenty of

Unfortunately, "plenty of rain" may be the problem. Damp conditions that results from excess water/rain can result in a fungal disease that affects the root, or crown. Contact a nurseryman or county extension agent to get confirmation, either by describing or even uprooting and showing a plant. A fungicide might be recommended. Coneflower is drought tolerant; the opposite of that--wet--challenges them. Best wishes for more blooms!

My coneflowers are big &

My coneflowers are big & bushy in mid June on TX but have not a bud or flower or even a hint. Is it yet to come or some problem. This is their first spring.

Cone flowers usually bloom

Cone flowers usually bloom from mid-June until the first fall frost. If your plants are established and look healthy you should see buds soon. If this is the first year for the cone flowers in your garden they may not flower. They spend the first summer putting down a strong root system and next year you should see plenty of flowers!

Had the same thing happen

Had the same thing happen last year but this year also very bushy have 3 flowers so far. Shocked they are white! Ordered purple, sigh, have grown attached after the wait. Am in LA..

Something's eating my

Something's eating my coneflowers??? My purple coneflowers were doing very well until 2 weeks ago. Something ate them down to about 1/4 their normal size. Plants are on north and west side of house and are about 4 years old. Don't see any bugs on what's left. Are any animals prone to eating coneflowers?

my cone flowers are being

my cone flowers are being eaten, too! Supposedly they are deer resistant, we are thinking maybe groundhogs?

When I came home from work

When I came home from work today, I discovered my coneflowers and the buds were completely gone. The plants are now half the size they were yesterday. I live in the city and the only animals that we've seen around are squirrels and rabbits. Are the rabbits eating the heads off the coneflowers? If so, what can be done to eliminate this problem?

Coneflowers are indeed

Coneflowers are indeed deer-resistent. We'd guess rabbits, birds, or bugs, depending on the symptoms.

Rabbits like to eat

Rabbits like to eat coneflower foliage. Hot pepper wax sprays make leaves less appealing to the rabbits. Birds also love to pluck the leaves. Aphids and Japanese beetles are common culprits. Another common insect pest is the eriophyid mite. They are microscopic in size --which is why you don't see them -- and live inside the flower buds where they suck nutrients from the flowers. Damage results in tufts of stunted and distorted flower parts sprouting from the coneflower. Plants that are affected by eriophyid mites should be cut back to the ground in the fall and all plant debris should be removed and destroyed.

slugs like to eat echincea

slugs like to eat echincea too. And you dont see them unless u go out with a flashlight. We had a war here and careful removal and maintenance won!

my cone flowers lack color

this past year all of my coneflowers in three different flower gardens have lost color and vigor. they grew spindly and with fewer stalks. What happened? How can I fix?

Add some compost to the soil

Add some compost to the soil around the plants and put down some mulch to keep the soil moist and weed free. Divide the plants every 3 to 4 years.

Help my coneflowers

My coneflowers look deformed. The flowers bloom with only half the petals or with petals rimmed in black. I don't know what to do because we seem to be doing everything we should. The only thing that might not be right is that I doubt that they get 6 hours of direct sun a day.

If you have deformed

If you have deformed coneflower flowers with scarce petals, this sounds as if you have a flower disease called Aster yellows. Unfortunately, the flowers have to be pulled. See more:

it is a disease that there is

it is a disease that there is no known cure for. just cut of the heads, make sure you throw them in the garbage not the compost. and hope for the best next time they come up. We have had this happen on most of ours, as we have over 55 different ones.

transplanting to new bed

I moved about 3 of my prized coneflower plants 3 weeks ago to a new flowerbed, boy has it been a babysitting job1 I think one is going to succumb to over exposure to the sun, but the others are doing well, after I cut them back severly. I will never do this again!

"Stratify" means to expose

"Stratify" means to expose seeds to low temperatures in order to get the seeds to germinate. Hope that helps!


If planting from seed, must stratify the seeds first by planting in a germinating mix and putting in the refrigerator for 30-60 days. Once plants are established, birds will plant for you after they digest the seed. Apparently going through the bird's digestive tract stratifies the seeds.


i am getting some seeds from the seed exchange and need to plant them what does stratisty mean? Can u help me? Thanks, Jackie

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