Purple coneflower, Echinacea purpurea, is the most widely recognized coneflower and is grown in garden beds across the U.S. This hardy perennial thrives in USDA plant hardiness zones 4 through 9 and produces striking blooms atop tall, slender stems. Purple petals fold backward exposing the orange-brown, cone-shaped center that contains the seeds. New cultivars bloom in a range of colors from brilliant yellow to orange and deep wine, with sharply contrasting centers. Gathering seeds in late fall allows you to start new plants in early spring.
Allow coneflower to go to seed in late summer or early fall. These dramatic blooms fade gradually, until petals fall exposing the cone of seeds.
Clip dried seedheads from the stem leaving a 2- to 3-inch stem, and drop into a paper bag. Stems are not necessary, but they make separating the seeds from the seedhead easier.
Shake the bag to remove the seeds from the seedhead. Seeds sink to the bottom of the bag.
Remove the stems and pour the seeds onto a paper plate. Separate seeds from remaining plant debris and store in a sealed food storage bag in a cool dry area out of direct sunlight.