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Ask Mr. Smarty Plants is a free service provided by the staff and volunteers at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center.

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Monday - July 23, 2007

From: Austin, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Propagation
Title: Cold moist stratification of Echinacea purpurea
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

I was looking at your info on Purple Coneflowers and it says: "Seed Treatment: Cold-moist stratification for two months improves germination." What is Cold-moist stratification? Thanks.

ANSWER:

Echinacea purpurea (Purple Coneflower) is a wonderful, easily grown native plant, occurring in many parts of the United States. Besides being a beautiful, tall flower, it attracts butterflies, and if the blooms are not dead-headed too quickly, the seeds in the large cone-shaped center will invite birds to dine.

To raise the percentage of success when you are trying to propagate the coneflower, cold moist stratification is sometimes advised. Let me refer you to a previous article by Mr. Smarty Plants on the process of cold moist stratification. Cold stratification involves mixing seeds with an equal amount of a moist medium (like sand) in a closed container and storing in a refrigerator at about 40 deg. Check from time to time to make sure the medium is moist but not wet. However, you should note that this type of dormancy may be satisfied naturally if seeds are sown outdoors in the fall. In other words, let Nature take its course.

 

From the Image Gallery


Eastern purple coneflower
Echinacea purpurea

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