Date: Thu, 6 Jun 1996 21:26:20 +0200
From: "Karen Raley" <KRaley.GNN.COM>
Subject: Echinacea--planting and sowing--easy to grow
Cindy, you wrote:
> I'd like to grow it but am new to all this. Will I be able to grow this in Georgia (zone 8, I think). Will it tolerate the humidity and clay soil? Should I grow it indoors or out?
>Once grown how do I cultivate it so I can use it?
Growing it is easy, easy, easy. I am in Piedmont NC and it grows like a weed. Literally. It thrives in clay soil, practically to the point of being invasive. In fact, it has crowded out some of my salvia and monarda, if you can imagine that. It will also grow in Florida sand, I can attest. It does not succumb to pests or molds that I know of. It is happy with gobs of moisture and can survive drought. What a plant!
You can sow seeds. You will probably find the echinacea purpurea, but you may also find e. angustifolia. The major catalogs have it. You can also get it as a potted plant at a nursery that sells herbs or wildflowers. Ask for purple coneflower. It's perennial and self-seeding. Hardy, sturdy, persistent, strong as a rat. The flowers are really quite nice. It will make a thick patch in no time. Birds carry seeds, too. Ideal time to harvest roots is in the fall when they are most potent. Failing that, the dark of the moon, but preferably not while flowering.
It likes full or partial sun. I raise it in full, but in the baking Fla. climate, it thrives in partial. You tincture the roots or make tea. Tincture them fresh. Drying makes them lose some potency. Forget the leaves. The stems are barely potent. I just use the very bottom of them. The seeds also are quite potent. Potency can be gauged by degree of numbness imparted to yr lips.
Hurry, hurry, time's a wastin'--plant today!