When To Transplant Coneflowers – And How To

Do you have a kitchen window where you like to watch birds or other pollinators? Perhaps you have some coneflowers in a front garden that you would like to move to a back or side garden? Whatever your reasons are for transplanting your coneflowers, we have the guide for you!

When transplanting coneflowers, early spring is considered the absolute best time to transplant. However, early fall can also work well. Due to the summer's harsh sunlight and heat, summer is not recommended for transplanting as they can suffer from heat stress killing the plants.

As long as a few gardening tips are followed you should be able to successfully transplant your coneflowers with ease. Continue reading for instructions on transplanting as well as answers to some common coneflower questions.

Flower bed of Purple Echinacea, When To Transplant Coneflowers - And How To

When To Transplant Coneflowers

Coneflower, scientifically known as Echinacea, is a brightly colored perennial in the daisy family. They are low-maintenance plants that grow best in USDA zones 3-8. They can grow two to four feet tall and bloom from mid-summer all the way to fall.

Coneflowers are a great addition to any garden. Some of their many benefits include attracting pollinators like goldfinches in the fall and winter, being drought tolerant, and being easy to grow!

Echinacea flowers

The most well-known Echinacea is probably the Echinacea Purpurea. This variety of Echinacea is commonly used in herbal supplements and dried for use in tea. It is thought that Echinacea can boost the immune system and help fight the common cold and flu.

Early spring is considered the best time to transplant by gardening professionals. Early fall is also considered a good time for transplanting. The only time that is absolutely discouraged is in the middle of summer. Coneflowers bloom all summer long; therefore, they expend all their energy in the summer months on blooming. Transplanting them during the hot and dry summer months puts them at risk for heat stress and root shock.

If you are transplanting from one garden to another, you will want your coneflowers to grow and mature for about three to four years prior to transplanting. This ensures their roots are strong, stable, and established.

Transplanting Step-By-Step Guide

Farmer planting young seedlings

  1. First, you will want to find an ideal location for your coneflowers. This would be full sun to mostly sun. Some shade is ok, but you will want to find a spot with mostly sun.
  2. You will want to be able to space your coneflowers between 1 and 3 feet apart.
  3. If you are transplanting from a pot, you will want to dig your hole twice the pot's diameter.
  4. When digging up your established coneflower, pick a day after a rain, or water the ground thoroughly the day prior to digging. You will also want to make sure you dig your hole around the plant deep. Coneflower roots can grow as deep as 5 feet! You aren't expected to get all 5 feet but at least about a foot of root growth is ideal.
  5. Once dug up, you will want to place your coneflower in its new hole in its new location.
  6. If you have compost available, you will want to mix a few handfuls in with the potting mix. Fill around the coneflower and its roots with the compost potting mixture. 
  7. Water thoroughly. You will want to water one to two times per week until the plant is established. Depending on location, once the plant is established, little to no water may be needed for this drought-tolerant plant.

Check out this transplanting shovel on Amazon.

Here is a helpful video on transplanting.


Can you transplant coneflowers in summer?

Technically you can transplant your coneflowers in the summer; nothing is stopping you. However, it is highly recommended you do not transplant them in the summer months.

This is due to the prolonged heat of the summer months, which can put added stress on the plants and the fact that the coneflowers will be blooming in the summer. In the summertime, plants are expending all their energy with little to spare on developing new roots growth.

There are a few gardeners that do have luck in transplanting their coneflowers in the summer. If you absolutely must transplant your coneflowers in the summer months, it is recommended you do so on a rainy and cloudy day. You will also want to snip off all flower heads to encourage the plant to exert its energy on root development instead of blooming.

Do coneflowers transplant well?

If transplanted in the springtime, your coneflowers should have no problems at all being transplanted. This is when outdoor temperatures are optimal for transplanting, and the plant is vigorously growing.

There is also a high success rate of transplantation during the early fall. You will want to wait until the blooms have faded prior to transplanting them.

If transplanting in the summer months, be prepared for your plant not to survive. The high heat and full sun during the summer months make transplanting during this time exceedingly difficult.

How do you divide and transplant coneflowers?

  • To divide your coneflowers, you will want to pick a time in early spring. Early spring will ensure the plant has plenty of time to recover and establish itself prior to summer.
  • Make sure to either water the day prior to digging or pick a day after a rainstorm. This makes it far easier to dig the plant up and is all around easier on the plant.
  • Dig your desired coneflowers up. You will want to dig down about a foot and dig at an angle, creating a cone around the root area.
  • Separate the plant at the root clump. You can either quarter or half the root clump depending on how many plants you have that you would like to divide.
  • Transplant your plants into their new location or into a pot. You will want to mix compost into the soil to help nourish the plants. If moving the divided plants into pots, you will want to keep them in a partially shaded location until the plants fully recover from being divided.
  • Water thoroughly.

Here is a helpful video on dividing coneflower root clumps.


Can coneflowers grow in shade?

Mosaic of flowers and color of Echinacea purpurea

In their native natural environments, coneflowers can grow in woods with widely spaced trees. Thriving in these spaces with patchy sunlight, though they are more often found in prairie lands with full sunlight. Thus the recommendation for home gardeners is to keep them in full sun.

Coneflowers can be grown successfully in partial shade. In areas like Phoenix, Arizona, for example, they prefer shade due to the extreme heat. The intense sun in this location is just too much stress on the plant in the summer months. Just be aware that if growing coneflowers in the shade, they may not spread as easily or produce as many blooms as their full-sun counterparts.

Do coneflowers spread easily?

Dried Echinacea on a blurry background

Coneflowers are self-seeding plants. Under good conditions, they will spread easily. If your coneflowers have spread it is very simple to remove the seedlings from your garden. The root systems are only about one inch long when they are seedlings and quite easy to remove from the ground. You can either transplant somewhere else or discard them.

If you do not want to deal with seedlings at all and do not wish for your coneflowers to spread you can deadhead your plants. To deadhead you will wait until your blooms have faded a bit, then you will take either some scissors or running shears and clip right under the spent bloom at the first leaves on the stem. This will prevent any seeds from forming.

Deadheading Coneflowers

Echinacea purpurea

Deadheading your coneflowers will actually prolong your blooming season for the next year, with the coneflowers blooming all the way into fall! Or you can deadhead half of your coneflowers at one time then the other half at a later date to enjoy staggered, prolonged blooms from late summer to early fall.

In Summary

Don't let the idea of transplanting worry or scare you. As long as you follow our guide, you should have no problem transplanting your coneflowers. It's actually a fairly straightforward, simple process to transplant. You just have to time it to when it will be easiest on the plant.

If you have enjoyed this article, please consider these for further reading:

39 Plants That Like Full Sun And Heat

Which Drought-Tolerant Perennials Bloom All Summer?

10 Ground Cover Plants That Bloom All Summer

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