Before answering the question “How to grow Echinacea?” let’s first see what Echinacea is.
What is Echinacea?
Echinacea is a herb that helps our immune system protect us from catching colds and flu.
It also plays a role in shortening the duration of sickness if you do catch a cold. These health effects have been supported by research.
Echinacea is also known as the purple cone flower and is a perennial plant that is really easy to grow. It grows up to 140 cm or 4 feet.
How do you grow Echinacea?
All you need to grow Echinacea is a well-drained soil with a neutral pH, some seeds or a piece of Echinacea root and a full sun to part shade position. I find in the sub-tropics that my Echinacea needs some protection from the hot afternoon sun.
Plant the seeds (see photo) and they will germinate in around 14 days and, if planted in spring will flower in the first year.
What are Echinacea’ benefits?
Most of you would be aware of Echinacea and its health benefits.
Did you know however that you can get all the benefits of Echinacea from the actual Echinacea plant? This may even be better for you, given that researchers have found that over 10% of commercially available Echinacea pills contained absolutely no Echinacea!
All you need to do is make and drink echinacea tea.
To make Echinacea tea, finely chop a few echinacea leaves, then squeeze the pulp through a strainer to yield about half a teaspoon of juice. Dilute in hot water and drink.
Adults can take this dose three times per day, making a fresh batch each time.
As with many herbal remedies, it is not suitable for people who are pregnant and breastfeeding, are taking immuno-suppressive medication or are allergic to other members of the Asteraceae family.
Echinacea is a perennial which means that the plant will die back in winter, which is often when you need the plant’s health effects most!! Don’t worry.
You can use some grated root to make a tea or you can dry the leaves when it is flowering abundantly and use the dried leaves to make the tea.
Rohanne, your Personal Gardening Expert