Transplanting Coneflowers: A Simple Step-by-Step Guide

While you can grow coneflowers from seed, they are most commonly planted as transplants. The best time to transplant is in the late spring or fall. Pick a location with full sun and at least a foot of space for plants to expand. In this guide, I’ll cover all you need to know about transplanting coneflowers (Echinacea), including how to divide coneflowers in your garden.

How to Transplant Coneflowers the Easy Way

What is Transplanting and Division?

Lady transplanting a flowering plant in the garden

What Is Transplanting?

Transplanting refers to moving a plant from one location to another. The prefix “trans” refers to across or change, which helps explain the word’s meaning.

Transplanting can refer to planting a potted plant in a larger pot or into the ground. If you buy a plant from a nursery and then plant it in your garden, you are transplanting it.

Transplanting can also refer to moving a plant from one location in your garden to another. In this case, you first dig up the plant and then plant it in its new location.

What Is Division?

As the word suggests, division refers to dividing plants. Gardeners sometimes say they are “splitting” their plants instead of “dividing” them.

So why would you want to practice division?

Many types of coneflowers and other plants grow not only upwards but also outwards. As their root and stem systems expand, the plants take up a larger area than they once did.

At this point, the plants can be separated. When you divide plants, you separate a group of plants into two or more smaller clumps. You can then transplant these smaller clumps into new locations.

This not only limits the size of the original plant but also allows you to share your plant with friends or move it to another area of your garden.

It’s important to note that you should not divide your plants when they are flowering or actively growing. Instead, wait until they become dormant.

For more, see our essential guide to common botany terms.

Are Coneflowers Happy to Be Moved and Relocated in Your Garden?

A garden filled with flowering coneflowers in summer

Fortunately, coneflowers are good candidates for transplanting. You can either dig up an entire coneflower plant or divide larger plants.

However, before you move your coneflower, you should consider the following.

Size of the Coneflower Plant

The size of your plant will determine the best method for relocating it.

If your coneflower plant is small and only has a handful of stems, it’s best to dig up the entire plant and relocate. 

If your coneflower is large, you can divide it. Depending on the size of the plant, you can divide it into multiple divisions.

The divisions can be as large as you want, but each division should have at least one stem and a group of roots.

Time of Year

If you’d like to relocate your coneflowers, it’s best to wait until the right time of year. If you dig up or divide your plants in the summer, they are unlikely to recover from this shock.

The best time to move your plants is in the fall or early spring. You can also move your plants in the winter, but frozen soil can make this difficult.

What are the Best Times of Year to Transplant?

Bright red coneflowers in bloom

The best times to transplant coneflowers are the early spring and fall. These periods provide cool temperatures and shorter days, allowing the transplants to recover.

If you choose to transplant in the spring, wait until the danger of frost has passed. Once this has happened, you can transplant your coneflowers. At this point, the soil should be soft enough to be worked.

You can also transplant coneflowers in the early fall after the intense heat of summer has left. If you’re transplanting in the fall, wait until daytime high temperatures are below 80ºF. However, make sure to transplant at least one month before the first fall frost arrives.

You should avoid transplanting coneflowers in the late spring and summer. During this time, hot temperatures and long sunny days can prevent the coneflowers from becoming well established.

What Tools Will I Need to Transplant Coneflowers

A collection of helpful tools for transplanting coneflowers

Having the proper tools will help make transplanting a simple process. Before you begin transplanting, gather the following.

  • Shovel: to dig up plants and dig holes.
  • Pruning shears/knife:  to divide coneflower roots.

How to Transplant Coneflowers

A cluster of colorful coneflowers in bloom

1) Start at the right time of year.

The best time to transplant coneflowers is in the early spring or fall. Avoid transplanting in the summer and winter.

2) Obtain a plant.

You can start with a potted plant or divide a larger plant.

If you are dividing a plant, dig up the plant’s rootball. Next, use a pair of pruning shears or a knife to divide the rootball into multiple clumps.

3) Find a suitable location.

Coneflowers like full sun, but they aren’t particular about their soil. They can handle poor soils with low nutrients. They are also drought tolerant but do not like excessively wet soil.

Since coneflowers can spread, you should plant them at least a foot away from other plants.

4) Prepare the location.

Fortunately, coneflowers aren’t too particular about their soil. To prepare for planting, dig a hole that is a few inches larger than the plant’s rootball. You can also add a handful of compost to the hole before planting, but this isn’t necessary.

5) Place the plant in the soil.

Put the coneflower’s rootball in the hole and fill in the remainder of the hole with soil. Water your coneflowers well.

Post Transplanting and Division Care

Watering yellow coneflowers in the garden with a spray hose

After transplanting your coneflower, keep the soil moist for the next few weeks and watch out for any common coneflower pests and diseases. The soil doesn’t have to be soaked, but it should not dry out completely.

At this point, the plant should be established. If you notice some leaves dying back, don’t worry. Some dieback is a normal part of the transplanting process. You can also deadhead any past prime coneflower blooms and consider fertilizing if your plants need a nutrient boost.

Transplanting and Dividing Coneflowers FAQs:

Do Coneflowers Transplant Easily?

Coneflowers are easy to transplant in the spring and fall. You can transplant potted plants or plants that have been divided.

When Can I Move Coneflowers?

The best time to move coneflowers is the early spring and fall.

How Many Years Do Coneflowers Live?

Coneflowers can live for over ten years when grown in ideal conditions.

Will Coneflowers Spread Naturally?

Yes! Coneflowers will spread naturally through both seeds and roots.

Wrapping Up

Coneflowers are easy to divide and transplant as long as you complete this process during the right time of year. Transplant during the spring or fall, and make sure to choose a location with full sun.

Contributing Editor | | Full Bio

Briana holds a B.S. in Plant Sciences from Penn State University. She manages a small market garden where she grows vegetables and herbs. She also enjoys growing flowers and houseplants at home.

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