The Q&A Archives: Echinacea

Question: I received my Burpee Echinacea Purpurea. I live in zone 9. I planted it, but I don't know what to expect from this plant during the various seasons. It was a small plant and seemed to do well at first, then we had some cold weather and the few leaves it had died back. Is my plant dead? Or will it come back in the spring? What kind of growth can I expect and will it flower this year?

Answer: Echinacea, or Purple Coneflower, is a perennial, with coarse, stiff stems and oblong leaves. The plant will grow 3-4 feet tall and produce showy flower heads with drooping purple rays and dark purple centers from mid- to late-summer. The flowers and foliage will die back in the winter. Cut and remove all the dead foliage and spent flowers. In the spring, new foliage and flowering stems will appear. Echinacea tends to grow into a clump after a few years, somewhat like Shasta daisies. You can dig and divide the plant when that happens, usually every 3-4 years.

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