The Q&A Archives: Caring for Echinacea

Question: Is there a way to prune echinacea to extend its blooming season? What does echinacea like in the way of fertilizer?

Answer: Echinacea, or purple coneflower, produces lateral (side) shoots on the flowering stem. To encourage development of lateral shoots which will also flower, cut the original flowering stem down almost, but not quite, to the first pair of leaves. This will force an additional flowering stem just above that pair of leaves.

Echinacea grows equally well in poor or rich soil. An annual spring application of compost will probably provide enough nutrients. Or, if you prefer, you can feed lightly just as bloom begins, side dressing the plants with a balanced organic or slow-release fertilizer.

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