Echinacea Seeds and Flowers
Echinacea flowers are beautiful and different looking. They are a perennial flower that makes a great addition to any garden. Commonly referred to as coneflowers. Their growth height varies widely depending on the variety. Some can grow to 1 to 2 meters tall. It is a daisy like cone shaped flower. The most common color is purple but there are now a variety of colors available. It has a long blooming period from mid summer to early fall. Their seeds are a magnet for butterflies and birds. They are drought resistant and can withstand temperature as well as moisture variations.
Echinacea is a genus of 9 species of herbaceous plants within the family of Asteraceae sometime referred to as Coneflower.
Growing: Echinacea plants do best in full sunlight. They grow in almost all of the continental United States. Coneflowers love heat and humidity. Regular watering of these flowers is recommended. They like well drained limey soil. Echinacea seeds germinate in 2 to 3 weeks. Plant seeds in well drained potting soil under warm conditions but not hot. In clay soils it is recommended to ammend the sediment with organic matter such as peat or chopped leaves to improve the drainage. Use mild amounts of gentle water. You can sow the seeds directly in the garden in fall or early spring. Plant after all danger of frost. Sprinkle the seeds on top of the soil. After germination cover with about 1/8 inch of soil. If you do decide to start indoors you can transplant them when they are about 2 inches high. Plant 6 to 12 inches apart, except for Echinacea Purpurea plant them 2 feet apart. Older plants can be separated, but try to do this in late summer or spring in colder climates and in warmer climates try to limit dividing them in fall or spring. To divide them loosen the soil around the outer limits of the mature plants root system. Then slide a shovel under the Echinacea plant and lift it out. Separate the root.(you may need to use a knife.) Then plant each clump in soil with compost and fertilizer. Water regularly without making the soil waterlogged until signs of growth.
Birds, bees and butterflies love coneflowers. The blooms of the flower can be single or double. The Echinacea root can be harvested and processed which can be used for home remedy purposes. The best time to harvest the root is usually in the autumn after 2 or 3 years. Dig the roots up and shake the dirt free. Continue by washing off the roots. You may need to hack the large crowns apart with a hatchet. The roots may then be cold stored for a few days without molding. But try to make the fresh root tincture as soon as possible. The root can be ground up and taken as a powder, filled into capsules or drank as a tea or made into a potent tincture.
Echinacea root is believed by many to help stimulate the body’s immune system to diseases. May also be helpful in treating early phases of bacterial or viral infections. Other possible remedies may be for helping alleviate colds, flu, urinary tract infections, vaginal yeast infections, genital herpes, bloodstream infections, gum disease tonsillitis, strptococcus infections, syphillis, typhoid, malaria, diphtheria, and upper respiratory infections. It is also used by some for anti inflammatory treatment of infected wounds and bites from insects and reptiles. Echinacea is believed to promote sialagogue (salivation).
Some side effects that have been reported are mainly allergic in nature and have included anaphylaxix, asthma attacks, thrombocytopenic purpurea, leucopenia, abdominal pain, nausea, dysuria, arthralgia, myalgia, and dizziness. However these have tended to be infrequent, mild and transient. Also Echinacea shouldn’t be taken by persons with progressive systemic and auto-immune disorders, connective tissue disorders, or related diseases. And do not take with immunosuppressants or hepatotoxic drugs. Also Echinacea may interfere with anesthesia. Potency is variable with a wide variety of chemicals and such doses may varry according to composition and people’s tolerances. Check with you doctor before taking.
To harvest the seeds you should pick a few fully matured and ripened flower heads. Cut them leaving a long stem. Hang the flowers upside down with the heads of the flowers in paper bags. Then the seeds will be released into the back when they are ready. Remove the plant debris from the bag and spread the seeds on some paper such as newspaper or about 12 days to finish the drying process. Put into a glass sealed jar in the refrigerator for up to 1 year.
Echinacea Seeds for Sale
Echinacea Pupurea (Purple Coneflower) Pack of 20 seeds for $2.49
White Swan (White Coneflower) Pack of 20 seeds for $2.49
Dianthus Siberian Blues Pack of 20 seeds for $2.49
Dianthus Zing Rose Pack of 20 seeds for $2.49
Dianthus Zing Salmon Pack of 20 seeds for $2.49
Dianthus Sweetness Pack of 20 seeds for $2.49
Shipping is a flat $5 for the total order.
Bussell, G., July, 2012, Cool Your Garden with Color, Southern Living, Vol. 47, #7, Birmingham, AL, Southern Progress Corp.
Echinacea, Wikipedia: The Free Encyclopedia. Wikimedia Foundation, Inc. 2004 Web. 24 December 2012, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Echinacea
Echinacea, WebMD LLC, January 2013, http://www.webmd.com/vitamins-supplements/ingredientmono-981-ECHINACEA.aspx?activeIngredientId=981&activeIngredientName=ECHINACEA