Purple Coneflower is a very popular ornamental and the most common species, widely used as a medicinal plant. The flowers are 3"-4" across with pink-orange cone-shaped centers and purple-pink rays. Easy to germinate and widely adapted. Unlike other Echinaceas the seeds do not require cold treatment. The roots are fibrous rather than taprooted, and the plant is more highly branched at the top.
All Echinaceas are drought resistant. Keep young plants well weeded. Germination is typically around 50% and all species except E. purpurea require stratification (a period of moist pre-chilling) to break seed dormancy. Seeds may be stratified by sowing in flats or pots in a cold frame over the winter, or a refrigerator for 2 to 4 months depending on the species. As little as three weeks stratification will give some germination.
Medicinal: All 9 species are medicinally important and all parts of the plant have some activity. Several pharmacological studies have demonstrated immuno-stimulant, bacteriostatic, and anti-viral activity. It may be used as an anti-microbial anywhere in the body. It activates macrophages, increases white blood cell levels and inhibits microbial hyaluronidase, an enzyme that causes host cells to break down. Echinacea is often used as a short term immune stimulant (2 weeks maximum), but it is contraindicated in autoimmune system disorders and progressive diseases.
Growing instructions: Perennial in zones 3-10. Stratify at 40°F for one week for best results. Germination at 70°F in 28 days. Light dependent germinator. Transplant or direct sow in spring. Full sun. Grows 24"-36" tall. Space 12" apart.
Packet: 0.20g - approximately 45 seeds