Echinacea, or purple coneflower, is a perennial flower that adds bright color to late summer and fall gardens. The flowers resemble purple daisies, with their upturned brown cones going to seed after the flowers begin to wither. Deadheading helps prolong the echinacea flowering period. Once the flowers go to seed, the plants stop blooming. Deadheading removes the spent flowers before they produce seed, encouraging the plants to produce more flowers. Deadheading echinacea only takes a few minutes, but the payoff can extend your flower bed by weeks.
Inspect the echinacea every two to three days once the plant begins flowering. Look for blossoms that are beginning to wither or stems that only have the dark brown seed cone remaining.
Grasp the stem beneath the spent flower or seed cone between your index finger and thumb. Pinch off the spent bloom 1/4 inch beneath it to remove.
Dispose of the spent flower heads or compost them. Remove any fallen petals from the flower bed and dispose of these as well, as dead plant matter can breed disease in a garden.
Inspect the echinacea plants for damaged leaves when you are deadheading them. Trim off any leaves that appear damaged or diseased with a pair of gardening shears, cutting them off where they join the plant. This prevents them from contracting diseases or spreading exisiting problems to the rest of the plant.