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FutureStarrAWhat Do Echinacea Seeds Look Like
We are so lucky to have found this article from a local farm. We've made it our quest to find the root cause of why our vegetables have been diminishing - we think it might be due to all of these pesky little bugs. Warning: Although we found this article, please be careful when adding echinacea to your garden as sometimes it can cause harmful reactions in your body.However, if you are going to save seeds from a neighbor’s strange colored (orange, white or red) Coneflower then you should be aware that the plant could be a hybrid. If it is a hybrid, the seeds will grow a different flower. (Discussed more at the end of the article).
Echinacea species, commonly known as coneflowers, are rugged prairie wildflowers native to North America. The cold- and drought-tolerant plants, which thrive in poor, dry soil, are suitable for growing in U.S. Department of Agriculture plant hardiness zones 3 through 9. Coneflower attracts butterflies and hummingbirds to the garden from summer until early autumn. The seeds in the plump cone sustain songbirds throughout the winter.Harvest echinacea seeds from the plant during autumn of the second year. Stop watering coneflowers in late summer, because the drought-tolerant plants don't need the water and the moisture may damage the seeds. Don't harvest as soon as the flowers wilt; instead, monitor the progress of the seeds, which look like bristles extending from the seed heads. Harvest the seed heads when the seeds are plump and not thin and flat. It's okay to harvest slightly green seed heads, but if the seeds inside aren't plump, they won't continue to fill out after the head is harvested.
Always harvest seed heads from the largest, healthiest blooms. Seeds left on the plant nourish birds throughout the winter, and those that remain on the ground in spring may reseed and grow new plants.Remove the seed heads from coneflower plants by snipping the stem just below each seed head with a pair of scissors. Drop the seed heads into a bucket, bowl or paper sack, and then spread the seeds in a single layer in a tray or shallow cardboard box such as a clean pizza box. Shake the box occasionally so that the seeds dry evenly, which may take up to a month. Once the seeds are dry, separate the chaff -- the dry outer casing of the seed -- and other plant debris from the seeds. In the home garden, the easiest method is to break open the dry seed heads and remove the seeds by hand. Removing seeds from a large number of seed heads is a more complicated process that involves rubbing the seed heads against a screen or sieve to divide the debris from the seeds. (Source: homeguides.sfgate.com)