Echinacea seed harvesting, saving

sweetpea_410(z3-4)September 4, 2008

I have a purple coneflower plant that has well developed cones, but I am not sure when I should harvest them or how to store them afterwards. I also would like to harvest some coreopsis seeds, but again, I am not sure when is the right time to harvest. Anybody got some tips?

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kqcrna(z6 SW Oh)

Most mature flowers will mature and turn brown. Then you can harvest. Seeds that form pods, I wait until the pod is brown and opening, ready to naturally release the seeds.

Since echinacea don't form pods, just wait for the flowers to fade completely. Petals will turn brown and may fall off, seeds can be found in the cone. If in doubt, try one flower and see if seeds look mature. Most will turn black or brown when mature. When you clean the seeds from the cone, little sticks are just chaff. The seeds look like monster teeth. (Don't remember where I saw that description, but it's true).


    Bookmark   September 4, 2008 at 7:17PM
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Okay, I cut a mature seedhead. When I tried to get the seeds from it , I found them very hard to remove and slightly sticky. Does this indicate that the seedhead is not dried enough, or is this normal?

    Bookmark   September 4, 2008 at 8:49PM
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token28001(zone7b NC)

Echinacea is tough to get seeds from. I remove the petal-less heads and bring them inside to dry. Once dry, I put them in a large plastic container, put the lid on it, and throw is across the room a few times. I also do this with Rudbeckia and other cone-like flowers.

    Bookmark   September 11, 2008 at 3:50PM
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northerner_on(Z5A ONCanada)

Sweetpea, if there is anything wet or sticky, the seed pods (cones) are not mature enough. I usually let them stay on the plant until all the petals have dropped, they turn black, and are very prickly to the touch. You can wet the cones to soften them up, remove the seeds, and let them dry on a plate for a few days before packaging them away. I think you can find directions for this on the site

    Bookmark   September 12, 2008 at 10:28PM
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A good rule of thumb to follow is:
when the part of the stem immediately under the pod also turns brown and dry, then the seed pod is ready.
Happy Harvesting

    Bookmark   September 14, 2008 at 9:15AM
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friesfan1(5b NW-KS)

Sweet Pea 401,
Echinacea seeds are pretty spikey, and if you stick them
in your pocket, they kinda bite you!

I like the idea of putting them in a container and
throwing them across the room. Saves on your fingers getting
shredded. I save mine in Pounce containers [you know the
kitty treats]? I just leave the lid open so they don't
get mold or mildew.


    Bookmark   September 21, 2008 at 6:09PM
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docmom_gw Zone 5 MI(5)

I just tried to harvest seeds from a coneflower. Everything was completely dried and brown, and the seeds separated easily. However, the vast majority of the seeds feel "empty." Are there hybrid types of coneflowers that are sterile and don't produce seed? Or would poor pollination explain a lack of seeds?


    Bookmark   September 29, 2008 at 4:42PM
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