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FutureStarrA When to Transplant Coneflowers
During the cooler months, hill dwellers can be enticed by the sight of gardeners and their shish-kabob-skewering tools, donning surgical masks and gloves, armed with sterilized cones and wraps that reveal colorful coneflowers within their gray-green cushions. It’s a scene--and a crop--that makes thinking about the season pass.No matter where you are in your gardening journey, you’ve probably heard of the medicinal powers of Echinacea and the pollinator-attracting power of coneflowers. And if you didn’t know echinacea and coneflower was the same thing, you do now! Coneflowers (scientific name Echinacea spp, Ratibida spp..and Rudbeckia spp.) have been a big, beautiful part of the American garden for hundreds of years, and for good reason.
Plus, there are a variety of beautiful species to choose from for nearly any garden, including the classic purple coneflower (echinacea purpurea, also known for its medicinal properties), Black-Eyed Susan (Rudbeckia hirta), and prairie coneflowers (Ratibida columnifera and R. pinnata). All of these coneflower species are great choices for providing colorful summer interest, food for pollinators and native wildflower appeal in perennial gardens. As you can see, there is a wide variety of coneflowers to choose from, but they all offer hardy, sun-loving and pollinator-friendly appeal to a garden. With their colorful daisylike blooms and ability to attract bees and butterflies, coneflowers (Echinacea spp.) make an excellent addition to sunny gardens. These perennial plants grow in U.S. Department of Agriculture plant hardiness zones 3 through 10, depending on which species you select. Although coneflowers are drought-tolerant and require little maintenance, they will benefit from being divided every three to four years. To ensure your plants survive being transplanted, it's important to choose the right time of year.
Spring is another good time to dig and move coneflowers. In spring, you're not only itching to get in the garden, but your coneflowers are vigorously growing. This means spring-transplanted coneflowers will quickly put down new roots. Spring days also tend to be cool and cloudy -- perfect weather for transplanting. When moving coneflowers in the spring, wait until new shoots sprout from the soil, but don't worry as it should still be possible to get flowers that season. For most coneflowers this will be sometime in April for zones 5 through 7. When you're ready to dig up your coneflower, take a shovel and cut into the soil in a circle about 6 inches wider than the parent plant. Dig as deeply as possible to keep the roots intact. Using the shovel, lever the plant out of the ground. For large clumps, have a friend help you lift it out or cut the plant into sections to make it easier to lift. When out of the ground, use the shovel to cut the clump into sections. Aim to make the sections about 8 inches in diameter. Examine the sections and trim away any unhealthy or dead areas. The sections are now ready to be planted in other areas of the garden. Space the sections at least 12 inches apart. After transplanting, water the divisions well. (Source: homeguides.sfgate.com)