I've been looking for help to grow Echinacea from seed on the web. The advice I'm finding says to stratify the seed for about four weeks in the refrigerator and then sow the seeds early in the spring. Also, the general consensus seems to be that the plants will bloom poorly in the first year and then bloom nicely in the second year. Now for my question... Can I stratify seed now for about four weeks; then start the plants in small pots and then plant them in a permanent location yet this summer so I can have nice blooming plants next year? If Echinacea is a perennial, I would assume that the plants would survive the winter and take off growing in the spring and bloom as second year plants. Possibly, if my approach is good, will the plants be well enough established by the first freeze around Halloween to survive the winter? I'm in West Virginia btw with average minimum temperatures around 5-10 degrees. Thanks for any help.
Sounds like lots of trouble to germinate echinacea. I wintersow the seeds and let mother nature do the stratifying for me. They do take a long time to germinate, but the results and the fact that it is easy makes the wait worthwhile. There's a ton of info on the wintersowing forum...Come on down, it's addicting, lol!
This may not be "gospel"--but I have found, through trial and error, with several plants (B.E.S.--Zinnias--Marigolds, etc.) that only the seeds that are attached to the flower petals, and mostly the bottom row, are good seeds. Never mind all the other seeds in the "cone"--they are "empty"--and will not germinate.
Actually, echinacea seeds are sorta between those sharp pointy parts. I wear gloves when pulling the dry cone part apart 'cause those things can hurt! The seeds will be down in there near the base of them. Here's a link to what the actual seeds look like.