How to Care for Coneflowers
Feed coneflowers in early summer with granulated fertilizer scattered around the base of the plant and scratched into the soil. Follow the manufacturer’s directions for quantities. Or, top dress the plants with a 1-inch layer of compost. Pull back the mulch, apply compost and put the mulch back.
Coneflowers are available in both purple and white varieties. Their daisy-like flowers have a cone-shaped center that rises above the plane of the flower petals, giving them their common name. They are native to the prairies of North America. Once established, they need little care from the gardener except to be divided every few years.
Plant purple coneflowers in a sunny perennial border in fertile soil that is well drained. They will grow well alongside other perennial flowers such as roses, peonies, iris, poppies, and other spring and summer flowering perennials.
Coneflowers can be started from seed, but the best results and the quickest blooms can be achieved by purchasing bedding plants in the spring. You can also plant root divisions. Divide an established coneflower by digging it up and driving a shovel through the plant, separating it into several smaller ones. Each division will re-grow as long as it has both roots and growing stems.
Plant in the garden at any time of the year, up to a month before autumn frost. Dig a hole about twice as large as the root ball. Put a trowelful of compost into the planting hole and mix it with trowelful of removed soil. Set the coneflower into the hole and back fill with soil. Firm the surface gently but firmly with your hands.
Water the newly transplanted coneflower by hand with a watering can. Check it daily for 10 to 14 days and hand water as needed to keep the soil moist, but not soaking wet. This will help get the transplant off to a good start without being stressed from too little moisture.
Mulch the soil around the coneflower with organic mulch such as hay, straw, shredded bark or buckwheat hulls. Maintain a 4- to 6-inch layer of mulch to keep the soil evenly moist and discourage the growth of weeds.
Divide coneflower every 3 to 4 years by digging up and separating the roots into several plants, as outlined in Step 2. Replant the divisions where desired.