If you’re someone who likes to grow plants for your garden from seed, the Echinacea are easy-to-germinate. And their seedlings are easy-to-grow. The seeds require no pre-treatment (like cold stratification or scarification).
Tip: Use a soil-less seed germinating mix, not real soil, and sow the seeds into small containers. I like to use bedding plant packs as they are not too deep or too wide. Plastic quart yogurt containers or milk cartons are too large! A smaller, shallower container is easiest to maintain even moisture. Soggy pots with too much soil-less mix will rot out young seedlings.
- First, fill the bedding packs with the germinating mix and water thoroughly.
- Sow the Echinacea seeds onto the surface of the germinating mix, taking care not to overlap them onto each other.
- Cover lightly with about an eighth of an inch of the germinating mix and gently firm.
- Put the bedding packs into an inflated plastic bag on a bright window sill.
The seeds will begin to germinate in about 7 to 10 days. You shouldn’t need to water them until after the seeds have germinated and it’s time to remove the plastic bag. When the container feels light, water by setting it into a shallow pan of water and letting the soil-less mix soak it up (bottom watering).
Once the seedlings have filled the cells of the bedding packs and their roots have grown to the sides of the soil, they are ready to transplant.
- Plant individual seedlings into a cell of the bedding pack using the germinating mix and place on a sunny windowsill.
- Mist the leaves of your new transplants with a liquid seaweed and fish emulsion mix right after transplanting and repeat daily two or three times.
- After a couple of weeks or so, consider moving them outside in a protected morning sun/afternoon shade location. Start with an hour of sun and gradually move them into more sun as they grow.
- To water, lift the pots to feel if they’re light and bottom water. Mix a small amount of liquid seaweed and fish emulsion into the water to fertilizer.
- They will be ready to transplant into the garden in about 12 weeks, or when they are fully rooted in their individual cells. Pay careful attention to watering in their new outdoor location and be sure to mulch adequately to protect their roots.