Coneflowers serve to provide a source of beauty in your garden. The different varieties make a garden colorful.
They also provide food to pollinators such as bees and even birds.
Winterizing is a process that helps plants survive the cold winter weather. Coneflowers like every perennial need to be winterized so they can come out full in spring.
Pruning back the flowers in fall is a way to prepare your plants for winter.
However, you need to know the right techniques so you do not end up hurting your plant.
This post will explain how to properly winterize a coneflower and other related issues.
What Does it Mean to Winterize a Plant?
Winterizing a plant is commonly done by gardeners to help the plants during the cold winter period.
Before the onset of winter, especially during fall, gardeners will carry out certain activities meant to protect the plants from the frost and harshly cold weather.
Frost, cold temperatures, dry winds and the freeze and thaw circle can have a negative impact on the health of plants, trees and other vegetation.
Winterizing is especially helpful for new plants and trees that are still young and it helps them stay healthy till the next season.
The major activities by gardeners to winterize plants include:
- Garden Clean Up: before winter arrives, a good way to prepare your plants for winter is to clean your garden. Sweep away fallen and dead leaves so rodents do not find a warm place to stay. You can as well trim back the plants so there are dead flowers left on the shrubs.
- Mulching: Mulching helps to provide your plants with much-needed cover and thickness for winter. Add several layers of organic materials over the soil near your plants to keep them warm during the cold days.
- Proper Feeding: Ensure your plants are getting enough water before the first frost comes up. This will help them have enough moisture to last through the winter.
- Overwintering: Some plants unfortunately are not adapted to cold weather and no matter how much you winterize them, they might not survive the cold weather. Plants like dahlias and other tropical plants will be better off being indoors during winter so you can turn them into houseplants.
- Wrap Protection: Burlap and chicken wire wrapped around plants help to protect them from the cold weather. This will help them withstand the heavy winds that come with winter. This practice is especially useful for young plants.
Here is an article I wrote on can coneflowers survive frost?
How to Winterize Coneflowers
If you have a young coneflower garden, then it is important that you prepare your plants ahead of the coming winter.
Take the steps discussed below to effectively winterize your coneflowers.
- Trim The Coneflowers
The major part of coneflower winter care consists of cutting back the plants’ flowers.
Time your plant trimming towards late fall so they are well prepared for winter.
Clipping them 3-6 inches from the ground encourages the coneflower to concentrate all of its energy on the roots over the winter.
This in turn helps to lengthen its blooming season in the summer.
You can trim your coneflowers and allow the seed heads to remain in place.
This is beneficial to passing birds, as they rely on the seeds as their principal source of nutrition during the winter.
- Mulching and Garden Preparations
This is also another important preparation for winter.
It is important that you clear up your garden and all-around your coneflowers during late fall. After trimming the plants, sweep away the dead foliage around the plants.
Also, add an extra layer of mulch to the soil as this will help to insulate the plant.
- Winter Covering
Coneflowers, in most instances, do not require winter protection. They are resilient and can typically resist harsh winter conditions.
However, there are specific instances when your coneflowers will require winter protection. If you reside in a colder climate, you should wrap the plants.
Also, if you are in the optimal growth zones but your flowers are in an exposed area of the garden that is vulnerable to high winds and full light, you may wish to cover them up for winter.
Coneflowers are drought tolerant and do not necessarily need water during the winter. Just ensure you have sufficiently watered them during spring and fall.
They will draw on the moisture to get the needed sustenance.
If your coneflowers are in pots, you might want to water them from time to time as the soil in the pots gets drier faster than in-ground.
- Disease Management
Ensure your plants are healthy before the onset of winter.
If you have potted flowers or plan to transplant your Echinacea into pots, you should be aware of disease management.
Fungicide can be added to your coneflower pots before they go dormant.
This technique will keep fungus at bay and safeguard your plant when it enters hibernation for the winter.
Over-watering your potted coneflowers can raise the likelihood of a fungal takeover.
Also check out this article I wrote on how much water do coneflowers need
Do You Cut Back Coneflowers for Winter?
Yes, you should cut back coneflowers before the onset of winter.
You can start trimming your coneflowers from spring through fall. By the time winter is over, you’ll see little shoots of green already coming out.
When trimming, be conscious of the length as too much cutting can stop the plant from surviving the winter.
After the stems and leaves have turned brown and dry in the fall, cut them down to about 3-6 inches from the ground.
Some gardeners decide to leave the seed heads as they provide food for birds during winter.
You can, however, trim a few seedheads. They will be useful if you intend to plant new coneflowers in spring.
Do Coneflowers Need Full Sun?
Coneflower is relatively simple to grow even if you are new to it.
Coneflowers thrive in full sun, so put them somewhere where they will get at least 6 to 8 hours of direct sunlight per day.
Plant them somewhere where they will get lots of light.
In warmer climates, a little afternoon shadow is really beneficial since it keeps the blooms from withering.
Coneflowers are heat resistant and do not require as much water as other plants, so you don’t have to worry about them drying up in the sun.
When Do Coneflowers Emerge?
Coneflowers bloom from June to October, with the lush green foliage revealing the expanding flower stalks from below.
Coneflower petals range in width from 4 to 8 inches depending on the variety. The plants produce their huge blossoms throughout the summer’s longer sunlight period.
These attract beneficial insects, such as soldier beetles, which naturally control pests like aphids.
To get the best out of your coneflowers ensure they are in full sun. if they get too much shade, the plant will not be able to generate enough energy to complete the process of photosynthesis.
This often means fewer flowers or in some cases none at all.
We love to talk about coneflower cultivation and care as it is a major favorite. In anticipation of winter, coneflowers go dormant to emerge the next spring.
Winterizing your coneflowers will help them stay healthy enough to survive.
Winterizing your coneflower includes cutting back the plant, preparing a mulch base, watering them, and considering winter protection as well as disease management.
Although coneflowers are strong hardy plants, these are important steps you should take to keep them healthy.
Your coneflowers will emerge in spring and shower your garden with a glorious pop of color that makes all your efforts useful.