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Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs


Other Common Names Include:

Purple Coneflower (E. purpurea), Narrow-Leaved Purple Coneflower (E. pallida var. angustifolia), Pale Purple Coneflower (E. pallida var. pallida), Black Sampson, Comb-Flower, Hedge and Red Sunflower

Latin Name: Echinacea pallida var. angustifolia, Echinacea purpurea and Echinacea pallida var. pallida

Plant Family: Asteraceae

Close Relatives: Sunflower, Jerusalem artichoke

Uses and Markets: Medicinal (e.g. disease prevention (especially colds), antibiotic); ornamental.

Echinacea purpurea in bloom.Echinace pallida var. angustifolia in bloom.
Production Life Cycle in Ontario


Hardiness Zone


Special Notes

Echinacea purpurea is the easiest to cultivate, while E. pallida var. angustifolia is considered the most medicinally active.

Propagation method

Most commonly by transplants from seeds; less commonly by direct seeding or root divisions.

Greenhouse Seeding/Propagation Dates

Artificially stratify for 3 months prior to planting at 5°C in moist sand or peat. Seed in pots in late winter 10 weeks before expected transplanting date. Sow seeds shallowly, light assists germination. Divide in fall or spring.

Field Seeding Date:

Mid-May; fall seeding can assist with germination.

Field Transplanting Dates

May, early June

In-row spacing

30-60 cm

Between row spacing

90-120 cm

Optimal Soil temperature at planting

In general, perennial crops can tolerate low soil temperatures at planting, but will establish more rapidly at soil temperatures >10°C.


No current Ontario fertility recommendations exist. Research and recommendations from outside Ontario do not necessarily apply to Ontario growing conditions. A study from Saskatchewan showed optimal E. angustifolia root yield with 100 kg/ha nitrogen applied preplant, but other studies have shown a decrease in medicinally active components with increasing nitrogen rate. Click here for phosphorus and potassium application guidelines and for more information on specialty crop fertility.

Soil type

Well-drained soils, sandy soils, loam soils.

Soil pH

6.0-7.0 (Echinacea purpurea): 7.0-8.0 (Echinacea pallida var. angustifolia)

Special requirements for growth habit


Optimal Temperature Range

Temperate climate.

Temperature sensitivity

Freeze tolerant.

Irrigation requirements

Irrigation is beneficial under normal Ontario conditions.

Days to harvest: Harvest roots in the fall after 3-4 years of growth after a few hard frosts. Harvest flowers at 20% bloom beginning in the second year.

Days to harvest

Harvest roots in the fall after 3-4 years of growth after a few hard frosts. Harvest flowers at 20% bloom beginning in the second year.

Specialized equipment



The roots are the primary harvested portion, but leaves and flowers are occasionally used. The following harvest notes refer to root production.

Harvest Scheduling:

Single harvest.

Hand harvest or machine harvest

Hand harvest, machine harvest (e.g. modified potato harvester).

Quality parameters/grades

Quality is determined by chemical analysis of the root. A concentration of 1.2-1.5% of echinacosides is required for high quality Echinacea roots.

Additional Harvest Notes

Whole flower stems harvested for cut flowers; top 15 cm harvested for oil distillation.

Post harvest
Special handling/curing

Trim and wash roots immediately after harvest. A 10-minute dip in an approved disinfectant is also beneficial. Dry for 4 or 5 days at 35 °C and 7-8% relative humidity in a forced-air drier.

Storage Conditions:

Store dried roots in an air-tight container in the dark.

Relative humidity (RH): Low humidity

Temperature: N/A

Air Exchange: N/A

Duration: 2 years

Specific pests observed on this crop in Ontario (observations based on limited experience with this crop)

Insects and Invertebrates: Cutworms, aster leafhopper, Japanese beetle

Diseases: Fungal leaf spots or blights (Alternaria, Septoria); crown and root rots (Rhizoctonia), Botrytis floral blight and canker; powdery mildew, aster yellows*

Other Potential Pests:The following pests have not been observed on this crop in Ontario.
However, they are either significant concerns for closely related plants in Ontario, or are
reported on this crop in other production areas. This is not a comprehensive list of all
potential pests. Not all of these pests will necessarily survive Ontario’s climate, but could potentially survive in a protected environment (e.g. greenhouse, storage facility): 

Insects and Invertebrates: Mites

Diseases: Powdery mildew, Sclerotinia rot/wilt*, Fusarium crown and root rots*; damping off (Pythium, Rhizoctonia, Fusarium, Alternaria), Verticillium wilt, bacterial leaf blights (Pseudomonas, Xanthomonas)

* Indicates pests commonly mentioned as causing significant damage or economic loss to this crop.


Disease pressure is greater with denser plant populations. Weed pressure is a major concern in production of this crop, especially for young, establishing plants.  In the absence of herbicides, frequent, timely cultivation and hand-hoeing will be required, especially during establishment.  Few to no pest control products are registered on this crop in Ontario. 

Additional Notes

Research has been conducted at the University of Guelph to establish micropropagation procedures for this crop. University of Guelph researchers have also developed protocols for production of this crop year-round in a controlled-environment, while maintaining or increasing the concentration of medicinally active constituents.

Ontario Research Projects Used to Create This Profile
  1. Jones, M.P.A., J. Cao, R. O’Brien, S.J. Murch and P.K. Saxena. 2007. The mode of action of thidiazuron: auxins, indoleamines, and ion channels in the regeneration of Echinacea purpurea L. Plant Cell Reports DOI 10.1007/s00299-007-0357-0
  2. Jones, M.P.A., Z. Yi, S.J. Murch and P.K. Saxena. 2007. Thidiazuron-induced regeneration of Echinacea purpurea L.: Micropropagation in solid and liquid culture systems. Plant Cell Reports 26: 13–19
  3. McKeown, A.W., C.J. Bakker and J. Schooley. 1998-2002. Herb Demonstration Garden, University of Guelph Simcoe Research Station, unpublished.
  4. Westerveld, S., Elford, E., Filotas, M. and J. Todd. 2010-present. OMAFRA herb demonstration garden. OMAFRA Simcoe Resource Centre, unpublished.
  5. Zheng, Y., M. Dixon and P.K. Saxena. 2006. Growing environment and nutrient availability affect the content of some phenolic compounds in Echinacea purpurea and Echinacea angustifolia. Planta Medica 72: 1407-1414.
  1. Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada. 2007. Production practices for Echinacea angustifolia. Canada-Saskatchewan Irrigation Diversification Centre:
  2. British Columbia Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Fisheries. 2003. Echinacea, Kamloops, BC.
  3. Bown, D. 1995. The Royal Horticultural Society Encyclopedia of Herbs and There Uses. BCA, Toronto.
  4. Chevallier, A. 1996. The Encyclopedia of Medicinal Plants. Dorling Kindersley Ltd., London, UK.
  5. Foster, S. 1996. Herbs for Your Health. Interweave Press, Loveland, CO.
  6. Foster, S. and J.A. Duke. 2000. A Field Guide to Medicinal Plants and Herbs of Eastern and Central North America. Houghton Mifflin Company, New York.
  7. Hartung, T. 2000. Growing 101 Herbs that Heal: Gardening Techniques, Recipes and Remedies. Storey Publishing, North Adams, MA.
  8. Kowalchik, C. and W.H. Hylton. 1998. Rodale’s Illustrated Encyclopedia of Herbs. Rodale Press, Emmaus PA.
  9. Krochmal, A. and C. Krochmal. 1973. A Field Guide to Medicinal Plants. Times Books, New York.
  10. Lewis, L. 2009. The Complete Illustrated Book of Herbs. The Reader’s Digest Association, Inc., Pleasantville, NY.
  11. Li, T.S.C. 2000. Medicinal Plants: Culture, Utilization and Phytopharmacology. CRC Press, Ann Arbor, MI.
  12. Lust, J. 1974. The Herb Book. Benedict Lust Publications, Sini Valley, CA.
  13. M.J. Columbus. Echinacea Production in Ontario.