Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Seedstarting Update: Echinacea and Monarda

   On February 2, I sowed two packets each of Echinacea purpurea (purple coneflower) and Monarda fistulosa (wild bergamot), one inside on my grow stand and one outside in the elements. I wanted to compare the germination rates and growth habits between the ones started early indoors, and the ones sown directly outside. Obviously the seeds started indoors have a head start on the ones outside, but I didn't realize they would be this far along so early! To my surprise, the seeds I started inside sprouted just a week after planting, and the photos below represent approximately 4 weeks of growth. I'm so excited! These are two of my most favorite plants and I'll have no trouble finding places for them. The seeds I planted outside haven't even germinated yet. This was so easy to do, the seeds needed no pre-treatment, and I made use of all the nursery pots and trays I saved from all the plants I bought last summer. Although I used grow lights you could get similar results with an inexpensive shop light and "grow" bulbs- just remember to keep the lights just a few inches above the leaves. (I raised the lights here just to take the picture) I highly recommend these two varieties for beginners to the world of growing plants from seed.

My 4-5 week old Echinacea and Monarda seedlings

More Echinacea and Monarda, and some yummy Basil also grown from seed

Close up of Echinacea babies

Close up of Monarda (on the left) and more Echinacea (right)

Tell-tale hairs on an Echinacea leaf

One of my favorite characteristics of Monarda fistulosa, the purple-y undersides of the leaves


  1. Congrats on the success of your indoor babies. Do you have any pictures or report on the progress of the outdoor sample.

  2. Thanks Sandy! No pictures, since they haven't sprouted yet, they still look like pots of dirt.

  3. So, your results are pretty clear so far. Complete success & total abject failure!?!

  4. Well, I can't own up to "total abject failure" yet as the seeds planted outside haven't been subjected to ideal germinating conditions yet (prolonged sunny, warm weather). The seeds planted inside germinated because they're under warm grow lights for 12 hours a day.

  5. Good looking echinacea!
    I'm seeing some echinacea seedlings outside, but they're small, nothing like what you have indoors.