Easy Steps To Grow Echinacea In Containers
Echinacea is also known as coneflowers. Coneflowers originally appeared in the wild as common prairie wildflowers, but today they are essential cultivated garden plants.
Some people grow these stunning plants for their ornamental value, while others include them in their herb gardens for medicinal purposes.
What about those who don't have enough yard space for a sizable echinacea patch? Or those who want to bring the prairie's beauty indoors to a patio? Coneflowers thrive in containers, so don't be concerned! So let’s get started to grow echinacea in containers.
Benefits Of Echinacea
1. High in Antioxidants
Plants that act as antioxidants are abundant in echinacea plants.
To protect your cells from oxidative stress, which has been linked to chronic diseases like diabetes, heart disease, and many others, antioxidants are molecules that help.
Flavonoids, cichoric acid, and rosmarinic acid are a few of these antioxidants. Compared to other plant parts, like the leaves and root, these antioxidants appear more significant in plant extracts from the fruit and flowers.
Alkamides, also present in echinacea plants, can further boost antioxidant activity. Alkamides can replenish exhausted antioxidants and improve antioxidants' ability to interact with molecules vulnerable to oxidative stress.
2. Reduce Anxiety
Nearly one in five American adults suffer from anxiety, a common problem.
Echinacea plants have gained recognition as a potential anxiety treatment in recent years.
According to research, echinacea plants contain substances that may help people feel less anxious. Alkamides, rosmarinic acid, and caffeic acid are a few of these,
Three out of five echinacea samples reduced anxiety in a mouse study. In addition, unlike higher doses of conventional treatments, they did not cause the mice to become less active.
Another study discovered that Echinacea Angustifolia extract significantly decreased anxiety in mice and people.
However, there are currently very few studies on echinacea and anxiety. Before echinacea products are suggested as a potential treatment, more research is required.
3. Boost Immune System
The advantages of echinacea for the immune system are its most well-known benefits.
Numerous studies have revealed that this plant may support your immune system's ability to fight viruses and infections, which may speed up your recovery from illness.
Echinacea is frequently used to either prevent or treat the common cold.
A review of 14 studies revealed that echinacea supplementation might reduce the risk of getting a cold by more than 50% and shorten its duration by 1.5 days.
However, numerous studies have poor design and offer little real value. Due to this, it can be challenging to determine whether echinacea use has any beneficial effects on colds versus random events.
In conclusion, echinacea may increase immunity, but it is unknown how it will affect the common cold.
4. Control Blood Sugar Levels
Serious health issues can increase your risk of having high blood sugar.
This includes heart disease, type 2 diabetes, and other chronic illnesses.
Research in test tubes suggests that echinacea plants may aid in lowering blood sugar levels.
An Echinacea purpurea extract was demonstrated in a test-tube study to inhibit enzymes that break down carbohydrates. If you ate this, it would lower the amount of sugar that entered your blood.
By activating the PPAR-y receptor, a popular target of diabetes medications, echinacea extracts were found to increase cells' sensitivity to the effects of insulin in additional test-tube studies.
A risk factor for insulin resistance, excess blood fat is eliminated by this specific receptor. As a result, cells respond to insulin and sugar more quickly.
Research on how echinacea affects blood sugar in humans is still lacking.
5. Cancer Prevention
Cells can grow out of control, a feature of the disease known as cancer.
According to studies conducted in test tubes, Echinacea extracts may inhibit the growth of cancer cells and even cause cancer cell death.
An extract of Echinacea purpurea and chicoric acid, which is naturally present in echinacea plants, was demonstrated in one test-tube study to cause cancer cell death.
In another experiment, echinacea plant extracts (Echinacea purpurea, Echinacea Angustifolia, and Echinacea pallida) killed colon and pancreatic cancer cells in test tubes by inducing apoptosis, or controlled cell death.
It is thought that the immune-stimulating properties of echinacea cause this effect.
Conventional cancer treatments like doxorubicin were once thought to interact with echinacea, but more recent studies have found no evidence of this.
But before making any recommendations, human studies are required.
6. Treating Skin Issues
Echinacea plants may aid in the treatment of common skin issues, according to research.
In a test-tube experiment, researchers discovered that echinacea's anti-inflammatory and antibacterial properties inhibited the growth of Propionibacterium, a common acne-causing bacteria.
Another study in 10 healthy individuals between the ages of 25 and 40 discovered that echinacea-containing skin care products enhance skin hydration and minimize wrinkles.
Similarly, it has been demonstrated that a cream containing Echinacea purpurea extract can lessen eczema symptoms and aid in repairing the skin's thin, protective outer layer.
Echinacea extract doesn't seem to have a long shelf life, making it challenging to use in industrial skin care products.
7. Reduces Eczema
Cream with echinacea extract may benefit people with eczema, a skin inflammation. Early studies suggest that using echinacea cream daily helped strengthen the skin's outer layer of defence and soothe eczema-related irritation. Echinacea may help some people with eczema, but it's too early to say.
As people with eczema frequently have allergies and asthma, it's also critical to be aware of potential allergic reactions.
Types Of Echinacea
Here are 18 gorgeous coneflower cultivars alphabetically and hybrids for your garden, but keep an eye out for new varieties that are released every year. To grow echinacea in containers successfully, you should know about great varieties.
1. Avalanche Echinacea
‘Avalanche,' a 2008 introduction that grows well in direct sunlight and dappled shade, might take the place of the less hardy Shasta daisy in your flower garden. These plants, which are white with a green center, can withstand deer damage and thrive in rocky soils. This plant blooms from June through August, the standard time for a coneflower to bloom.
2. Butterfly Kisses Echinacea
The Dutch breeder Arie Blom also released ‘Butterfly Kisses' from unidentified parents, but Plants Nouveau released this stunning pink variety as a part of the Cone-fections Series. It is a compact double flower with a strong raspberry pompom center and pink petals in various shades. Borders, meadows, and even woodland gardens are excellent places for it. These coneflowers bloom from June to August and can withstand drought and deer.
3. Cheyenne Spirit Echinacea
One packet of seeds from this Fleuroselect Gold Medal winner will produce cheery blooms that may include shades of yellow, white, cream, red, pink, orange, or purple ray flowers with brown disk centers, possibly on the same plant! After Christmas, if you start your seeds indoors, you'll see summer blooms on these quick-growing plants. The Cheyenne Spirit blooms from June to August.
4. Daydream Echinacea
You may be reminded of the native form of Echinacea blooms by the prominent cones and gently drooping petals of “Daydream,” but the plant produces more flowers on densely branched plants. This variety produces delicate yellow flowers that bloom five months earlier than other varieties, starting in May.
5. Double Scoop Cranberry Echinacea
Consumer demand for luscious, double-petaled flowers led to the development of the Double Scoop Series of echinacea. Gardeners can also buy the Bubblegum, Orangeberry, and Raspberry varieties of the Double Scoop coneflowers, which all have a mop of petals surrounded by flaring petals, in addition to the clear red blooms of “Double Scoop Cranberry.” July marks the start of flowering, which lasts until September.
6. Firebird Echinacea
Gardeners who adore the cones of echinacea as much as they do the petals are drawn to the glowing shuttlecock blooms of ‘Firebird'. It was created in Oregon in 2009 as a part of the Bird Series. The vibrant flowers' unfading colour is one of this butterfly magnet's best qualities. From mid-summer to late fall, ‘Firebird' blooms profusely.
7. Greenline Echinacea
If you've never heard of the green flower craze, ‘Greenline' coneflowers are a wonderful way to get acquainted with this adaptable bloom hue. The chartreuse beauties of ‘Greenline' add textural interest to the sunny border, but they truly shine when combined with magenta or hot pink flowers.
By coneflower standards, “Greenline” blooms relatively early, with flowers appearing from June to August.
8. Hot Papaya Echinacea
The Dutch have introduced many new flower varieties, and breeder Arie Blom's ‘Hot Papaya', a garden exclamation point, is no exception. Flowers that have just opened have a brilliant gold hue at first, which changes to a tropical orange flame. The flowers stand out when mixed with vibrant red and yellow flowers and when combined with cool blue flowers. Early to midsummer is when “Hot Papaya” blooms.
9. Intense Orange Echinacea
The ‘Intense Orange' echinacea, first released in 2017 as a member of the Kismet Series, is distinguished by its abundance of multi-toned flowers in shades ranging from deep orange to rich pumpkin. Flowers that bloom from summer until frost are complemented by dark green foliage.
10. Kim's Knee High Echinacea
Kim's Knee High, the smallest coneflower variety, resembles a traditional purple coneflower in almost every way except size. It works well in small gardens or other situations requiring a more compact variety. Between June and August, the flowers are a clear pink colour.
11. Leilani Echinacea
‘Leilani' coneflowers, part of Terra Nova's Prairie Pillars Series, have sturdy stems that work well as cut flowers on robust plants that can withstand the stifling summer heat. From July through October, the plants produce bright yellow flowers that can occasionally be deadheaded.
12. Mango Meadowbrite Echinacea
Despite being around since 2004, “Mango Meadowbrite” is still a favorite because of its distinctive orange/tangerine bloom color. One of the earliest blooming coneflower varieties, it produces its unusual three-inch wide flower from the middle of the summer until the middle of the fall. Coneflower “Mango Meadowbrite” has an unusually spicy orange scent.
13. PowWow Wild Berry Echinacea
‘PowWow Wild Berry' is available as seeds to fill your large garden and will bloom just 20 weeks after planting. Even if you neglect to deadhead faded blooms, the 2010 All-America Selection winner keeps producing new buds. Compared to most coneflowers, this one is a bit more compact and prefers a slightly cooler climate. In the majority of places, it blooms from June to August.
14. Razzmatazz Echinacea
A genuine patented double coneflower developed in Holland is called Razzmatazz. Each flower has a skirt of longer petals surrounding a dome covered in short petals instead of a central cone. The flowers are vibrant pink colour and bloom from June to August.
15. Sunrise Echinacea
One of the Big Sky Series plants, “Sunrise,” is a cross between E. paradoxa and E. purpurea. It has delicate yellow flowers with green centers that turn gold in the sun. The five-inch-wide, highly fragrant flowers have a strong scent. This hybrid produces blooms all summer long.
16. Secret Passion Echinacea
Coneflower Secret Series variable names indicate that this flower is attempting to enter the lucrative Valentine's cut flower market. Along with eight other echinacea varieties known as “Secret,” including “S. Glow,” “S. Desire,” and “S. Romance,” “Secret Passion” has fully double, lushly petalled blossoms. The flowers add value to your vase because they are fragrant and durable. A good southern garden option is “Secret Passion” blooms all summer.
17. Tomato Soup Echinacea
Bright red “Tomato Soup” coneflowers will profusely bloom all summer, from June through August, if you plan to create a patriotic red, white, and blue garden. To finish the arrangement, combine them with simple bachelor's buttons and any variety of white coneflower. To get the best colour development, plant these in full sun.
This variety of medium-sized coneflower is renowned for its enormous flowers, which measure five inches across.
18. White Swan Echinacea
The large, traditional blooms of ‘White Swan' have a large coppery-orange cone in the center surrounded by daisy-like, slightly drooping white rays. There are still blossoms from June through August, with some blooms lasting into September. Butterfly magnets, these lovely white flowers.
American Central to Southeast region of origin
Grow Echinacea In Containers
The Right Location
Coneflowers require direct sunlight, although some varieties can tolerate some shade. Put the container in a location with adequate light. Sunlight in the afternoon is ideal. Since they can bend over and break when standing there exposed in their container in a strong wind, you might also need to give them some protection.
They will need to be watered frequently due to their preference for well-drained but moist soil, and there must be adequate drainage holes in the pot or container.
The smallest container that is suggested is one that is 45 cm (18 inches) wide. The plant will be happier and require less watering if the container is more significant. A 30 cm (12 inches) deep container is adequate, but the more profound the container, the less often it will require watering.
Soil To Grow Echinacea In Containers
Echinacea prefers well-drained, aerated soil because their roots can't survive very long in excessively wet soil. Put a soil mixture that is made to drain well into your planter. Avoid mixes that contain “moisture crystals” because they can produce water puddles that could be disastrous for your coneflower.
You can also add rice hulls, a more sustainable addition than peat moss or polymer crystals that increase drainage while retaining moisture, to an all-purpose potting mix, which should work fine.
A thin layer of compost or aged manure will serve as a light mulch and nourish the mixture. Because you don't want to retain too much moisture, heavier mulches like bark chips could be challenging. Coneflower loss is frequently caused by soggy soil, particularly in the winter. A winter-only mulch of pebbles can help shed extra water away from the dormant roots in areas with highly wet, rainy winters.
As light feeders, coneflowers are sensitive to overfertilization. Once a year, in the fall or spring, topdressings of compost or composted manure should be acceptable. Try a light application of a balanced fertilizer with similar N-P-K numbers, such as 5-5-5, if your plant is not growing as you would like.
Grow Echinacea From Seeds
When planting echinacea in the garden, it is necessary to start with well-tilled, loose, well-draining soil. Till the ground down to a depth of approximately 15 inches. Finish compost should be incorporated into the soil two to four inches deep.
Coneflowers are easiest to grow from seed if you plant them in the early spring. Direct seed sowing into the ground is possible in full and partial shade.
Depending on the variety of echinacea you choose, space the seeds between one and three feet apart. For information on the amount of spread, your plants will require, carefully read the packaging.
It is also possible to plant seeds for spring blooming in the late autumn or winter. The seeds are stratified, and improved germination is ensured by exposing them to four to six weeks of cold, wet weather.
Additionally, plants can be multiplied by division and by taking root cuttings in the fall.
Grow Echinacea From Stem Cuttings
In the spring, basal stem cuttings from new growth can be made. The mature plants' stems hollow out over the summer, making it impossible to take cuttings from them.
Cut a piece of stem between four and six inches long near the soil line in the spring. Place the cutting in a six-inch pot with a mixture of the soilless potting medium after dipping it in powdered rooting hormone.
When the top half inch of the medium starts to dry out, add more water to keep the medium moist.
The following week or so should see the formation of new roots, followed by the emergence of new leaf growth. You can plant the plant outside in the garden as soon as you notice that several new leaves have emerged.
If some of your cuttings fail to take root, try not to get discouraged. With this plant, it's a good idea to plant a few extra seeds than you anticipate needing.
Coneflower seedlings overrun nurseries in the summer. They come in a variety of stunning hues and forms. It never hurts to incorporate some well-rotted compost into your soil, no matter what species you are growing.
Compost increases water retention in sandy soil and enhances drainage in clay soil.
Dig a hole for planting that is a little bit wider and deeper than the container it is currently growing in. Press the container's sides to loosen them, and then carefully remove the plant.
After placing the echinacea in the hole, cover the area with soil. Deeply water after tamping down any loose soil. This aerates the soil and provides the plant with plenty of water.
Coneflowers grow in clumps. One plant typically grows bigger but won't spread through roots or rhizomes and take over the entire garden. Check the mature size listed in the plant description to help you choose the appropriate spacing because the final size of the plant clump depends on the cultivar.
Leave 18 inches between plants if it is anticipated that they will spread 18 inches wide. Echinacea must be planted where you want them because they develop deep taproots. They dislike being relocated after becoming established.
Although echinacea requires little water, you should water young plants to encourage the development of new roots. Following planting, this is typically followed by a daily or every other day watering, then a few times per week, once per week, every other week, and finally, only when there is an extreme drought in your area. You shouldn't need to water Echinacea after the second year of planting unless it hasn't rained for eight weeks or longer. They can withstand droughts so well.
Trimming & Pruning
You can extend the echinacea plants' already lengthy bloom period by deadheading them. Cut dead flowers to a leaf to reveal a bud about to swell and break. Leave a few flowers on the plant until they dry and set seed toward the end of the bloom. Birds love to eat the seeds, so that alone is a good enough reason to keep them, but the plants will also self-seed, so you might get lucky and get some free produce the following growing season.
By pruning plants back to a height of 30 inches in June, you can control their size and postpone blooming on the entire plant. You can have an excellent, long, staggered coneflower bloom season if you only prune some plants.
The most important things to remember when overwintering your potted coneflower are a warm location next to a west-facing wall, well-draining soil, and possibly a winter mulch of gravel to help with water and snow runoff. Additionally, leave the old echinacea stalks on because they can help the plant survive the winter. In the winter, feeding the birds will be possible by leaving some extra seed heads up.
Coneflower containers can be “winterized,” or protected from freezing, wrapped in mesh wire and filled with dry leaves. It must remain permeable because solid material or plastic wrap risk trapping too much moisture.
The Echinacea plant's roots and aerial parts are both helpful. The plant's roots contain the most potent medicine, whereas the aerial parts are most frequently used to make herbal teas.
In the second year of growth, the aerial parts can be harvested. Cutting the stem above the lowest pair of leaves will allow you to harvest the aerial components. Remove the leaves and flower buds from the stem, and lay them flat to dry. Anytime during the growing season is appropriate for this. You should do it when you are reducing the amount of echinacea.
A 2-3 year-old plant's roots should be harvested in the spring or the fall. While E.
Purpurea has a taproot, and E. Augustifolia has fibrous roots. Using a shovel or a garden fork, dig around the Echinacea plant and lift the roots out of the soil. I dig up the entire plant's root ball with a big shovel.
You can now harvest the roots by taking fragments of the root from the root ball or by removing the entire plant. You can thin out your Echinacea patch by taking out the entire plant. You can replant the remaining roots in the ground if you only want to harvest a portion of the root ball.
Simply take the dried leaves and buds and store them in an airtight container in a dark place until you are ready to make some tea to preserve them.
You can start a tincture or dry your roots to use in decoctions later to preserve them. Most of my roots come from Echinacea tincture because I always like to keep some on hand.
You should shake the dirt off the roots after you have harvested them. They should then be patted dry after a cold water rinse. I use a hose with a spray head to get the dirt off outside. I then submerge them in a bucket of water to get the remaining dirt off.
The roots can either be dried or tinctured after removing the dirt. You must cut or chop the roots into pieces for both solutions. Take the cut roots and spread them out on a screen in a well-ventilated area, away from direct sunlight to dry. Give them at least two weeks to rest. After they have dried, store them away from direct sunlight in an airtight container.
Pests And Diseases Of Echinacea
- Sweet potato whiteflies consume plant juices while living and feeding on the undersides of leaves. Black sooty mold frequently grows due to the presence of these pests. Additionally, you might notice yellowing and tear in the leaves. Additionally, diseases like virus vectors can be spread by sweet potato whiteflies.
- Like whiteflies, aphids will rob plants of their nutrients. They can quickly overpower and kill plants when present in large numbers.
- Japanese beetles typically appear in June and feed in packs. They feed on flowers and foliage, starting at the top and working their way down, quickly decimating plants.
- Eriophyid mites are parasites that live and eat inside flower buds. Stunted growth and distorted flowers are signs of damage.
- Since these plants are tolerant of drought-like conditions and need less watering than many other plants, stem rot typically results from overwatering.
- The leading causes of powdery mildew issues are excessive moisture and poor airflow. This can be easily avoided by providing sufficient air circulation, maintaining proper spacing, and minimizing moisture.
- The most common ways that aster yellows is spread are by insects or by unfavourable growing conditions that make plants more vulnerable. Flowers start to deform, turn green, grow slowly, and occasionally even die. Plants that are infected need to be removed and eliminated.
Side Effects Of Echinacea
In the short term, echinacea is probably safe for most people. It is safe to use different echinacea products for up to 10 days. Some products, like Echinaforce (A. Vogel Bioforce AG), have a six-month safe usage period.
The most frequent adverse reactions are rash, diarrhea, heartburn, constipation, and stomach pain. Some people may experience allergic reactions, particularly those allergic to ragweed, mums, marigolds, or daisies.
Echinacea may be safe for short-term use when applied topically. Echinacea-containing cream (Linola Plus Cream) has been used safely for up to 12 weeks. Echinacea topical application may result in skin redness, itching, or rashes.
How To Take Echinacea?
Use echinacea precisely as instructed on the label or as your doctor instructs. Never use more, less, or for a longer period than advised.
Consult your doctor before considering the use of herbal supplements. You might also consider speaking with a doctor specializing in herbal remedies and dietary supplements.
If you decide to use echinacea, follow the instructions on the bottle or those provided by your physician, pharmacist, or other healthcare professional. Use only as much of this product as the label instructs.
At the first sign of a cold, echinacea is thought to work best. Echinacea might lessen the severity of cold symptoms even though it may not be able to prevent a cold.
Echinacea topical (for the skin) shouldn't be consumed orally. This product's topical forms should only be applied to skin.
Echinacea should not be used concurrently (tablets, liquid, tincture, teas, etc.) without consulting a doctor. Combining different formulations ups the likelihood of an overdose.
If the condition you are using echinacea to treat does not get better or if it worsens while taking this medication, contact your doctor immediately.
Keep your items at room temperature, away from heat and moisture.
Echinacea has been demonstrated to enhance skin health, blood sugar control, anxiety, and immunity. It might even possess anti-cancer qualities. But human-based research frequently has its limitations. So you may grow echinacea in containers by following my steps.
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