How to Grow a Purple Coneflower Without Problems


Purple coneflower (Echinacea purpurea) a hardy perennial that grows throughout the United States is known for its medicinal qualities in treating colds and boosting the immune system. Its prickly seedpod resembles a tiny hedgehog, earning it the name of Echinacea (derived from the Greek word echinos for hedgehog). As an ornamental plant, purple coneflower makes a striking contrast with rubeckia or shasta daisies. Its upright stems produce stately blooms with lavender-pink petals that fold backward exposing the dark cone-shaped center. Hardy to zone 4, purple coneflower can be grown successfully in most parts of the U.S.

Step 1

Select an area that receives full sun to partial shade. Till the soil to a depth of 8 inches or more and remove any rocks or roots. Add a 2 to 3 inch layer of compost and mix in well with the existing soil.

Step 2

Apply 12-6-6 fertilizer following the recommended application rate. Mix into the soil to prevent damage to seeds and young roots.

Step 3

Plant purple coneflower in spring when the soil as warmed to 70 to 75 degrees Fahrenheit. Although they will germinate at lower temperatures, warmer soil speeds germination.

Step 4

Sow seeds to a depth of 1/8 inch and cover with soil. Firm down with your hands. Water to moisten the soil and seeds and keep moist until seeds germinate in 14 to 30 days.

Step 5

Thin when seedlings are 3 to 4 inches high, spacing 18 to 24 inches apart. Mature purple coneflower may spread to a width of 2 to 3 feet and need room to grow.

Step 6

Mulch around the base of the plant to prevent weeds and conserve moisture, if you prefer. Otherwise, keep weeds at bay by pulling them by hand.

Step 7

Allow the soil to dry before watering. Water deeply once a week to promote lush growth. Although Echinacea is drought tolerant and survives well without supplemental watering (in most areas), growth in improved with regular watering.

Things You'll Need

  • Garden tools
  • Compost
  • Fertilizer (12-6-6)
  • Purple coneflower seeds
  • Mulch (optional)


  • Purple Coneflower
  • Echinacea purpurea
  • Plant Purple Coneflowers Now

Who Can Help

  • Echinacea
  • Eastern purple coneflower Echinacea purpurea (L.)
Keywords: purple coneflowers, Echinacea purpurea, plant purple coneflowers

About this Author

Nannette Richford is an avid gardener, teacher and nature enthusiast with 4 years experience in online writing and a lifetime of personal journals. She is published on various sites, including Associated Content. Richford holds a Bachelor of Science in secondary education from the University of Maine Orono and certifications in 7-12 English, K-8 General Elementary and Birth to age 5.