How To Care For And Grow Coreopsis In Your Landscape

Coreopsis is a pretty, resilient flowering perennial plant available in numerous colors with several interesting petal and leaf features.

Surprisingly, you can easily grow coreopsis in your own garden or landscape.

You may have also heard about this lovely native plant referred to as “tickseed coreopsis” because of the tick-like appearance of its seeds.

bright colored flowering coreopsis - tickseed

There are more than 100 different species of coreopsis, or tickseed flower. Some are annual and some are perennial.

In this article, we will focus mainly on the perennial varieties that are most often used to add color and beauty to the yard and garden.

We will also share vital information on selecting, planting, growing, and caring for coreopsis in your landscape. Read on to learn more about growing coreopsis.

Rugged & Versatile

Available in a variety of colors and heights, it is easy to find coreopsis that will blend in and highlight the best in your landscape.

This wildflower is drought tolerant and thrives in most types of soil but a well-drained soil is.

Treated as a bedding flower and provide regular deadheading of the old flowers, you can count on these cheery daisy-like flowers to produce abundant blooms from spring to autumn in zones 3 through 8.

As native perennial plants, coreopsis are considered wildflowers. They do well in different settings and make wonderful additions to border beds, old-fashioned cut flower beds, and even herb and veggie gardens. [source]

Coreopsis is an excellent choice for naturalizing and wild-scaping.

They also make a nice “cover crop” for your bulb garden as they emerge and bloom early in the spring and provide cover and protection for the soil until your bulbs come to fruition.

You may also like the Bidens Plant a Coreopsis Look A Like

They Grow Like Weeds!

If you are new to gardening or if you simply prefer a care-free, set-it-and-forget-it style of garden, you could not make a better choice than coreopsis.

These plants like sandy soil with ample sun exposure. They do very well with little water and little (if any) fertilizer. [source]

Water deeply, occasionally during drought conditions. For the most part, coreopsis does fine with rainfall once it is established.

The main concern is to be certain your soil drains well. Coreopsis are more sensitive to soggy soils than most plants. Waterlogging will inevitably lead to root rot.

You might want to fertilize when you plant your plants, but once they are established, they should do quite well with an occasional mulching using organic compost.

Excessive nutrients in the soil will result in leggy, spindly plants.

As a native plant, coreopsis tends to spread quite readily. It’s a good idea to dig up your plantings every third year to thin them out and separate the roots a bit.

This can be done very early in the springtime, prior to blooming, or late in the autumn after the blooming season is over.

Enjoy Bounteous Blossoms!

For color and beauty throughout the growing season, coreopsis is an excellent choice. It will pop up early in the spring and bloom with great abandon all summer long.

This means you can always count on having plenty of interest and appeal in your landscape, even as your other plants wax and wane.

To encourage more blooms, be sure to deadhead your plants regularly during the spring and early summer months.

You may notice a lessening of blooms in midsummer. If so, you can encourage more blooms and a late autumn bloom with a little dramatic pruning.

Prune off several inches of your coreopsis plants in a uniform manner.

This will leave you with attractive foliage color for a while, but it won’t be long before your plants produce more buds and begin to bloom again.

Coreopsis’ leaves are visually appealing on their own. The foliage usually grows in a lush, bushy clump beneath the blossoms.

The leaves look rather fern-like, and some are variegated or display interesting configurations.

Coreopsis Care: Naturally Hardy

You needn’t worry about diseases or pest problems with coreopsis. Like most native plants, they have strong resistance to illness and predation by insects.

Still, it is a good idea to be vigilant. Examine your plants frequently and take care of problems immediately when they arise.

You may occasionally have some trouble with aphids, but if you catch them early enough, you can just knock them off with a blast from the water hose.

Propagating Coreopsis

If you want to grow your plants from seed, wait until the soil is reliably 70 degrees. With proper care, your plants should prosper; however, you should not expect blooms in the first year if you plant from coreopsis seeds.

It is best to plant from established roots, and indeed, some species must be planted from root stock. For example, this is the only way to plant Moonbeam Coreopsis, which is a sterile hybrid cultivar. [source]

When you plant from roots, you may find yourself rather puzzled as to “which end is up.” If the roots you are working with are difficult to decipher, don’t despair.

Just dig your planting hole wide and shallow and lay the roots down horizontally.

Cover them with about one inch of soil and let them sort it out. Before you know it, you will see your coreopsis plants breaking through the soil surface.

Provide Light, Seasonal Care

Late Autumn

At the end of the growing season, you will want to trim your plants back for the winter. You shouldn’t cut them back all the way, though. A few inches of stem left in place will help protect the root crowns. You can also mulch with chopped leaves and/or a good organic compost to protect the roots of your plants throughout the winter.

You may wish to simply leave the foliage and any coreopsis flowers that remain in place for the winter. The foliage and stems dry in place to a cinnamon color that can be quite attractive. Seed-bearing plants left in place in the autumn help provide food for birds and squirrels in the wintertime.

Spring

When springtime comes again, you can cut back your dead stems and foliage and prepare your plants for the new blooming season.

If you have had a dry winter, you may wish to water deeply. This is also a good time to divide your plants and/or add new plants to your garden.

Remember that new plants will need more water than established plants. Keep a close eye on them and provide water the moment you begin to see signs of distress (e.g. wilting).

Summer

During the summertime, check your plants every day and remove spent blossoms. Doing this daily will increase the number of blooms your plants create.

Remember to prune back by one-quarter to one-half inch mid-to-late summer to attain more beautiful blossoms in the fall.

Happy Companions

Coreopsis makes an excellent companion plant for most annual and perennial flowering plants. Some very excellent choices include:

Other native plants and wildflowers naturally do well alongside coreopsis. Some suitable choices include:

  • Mango Meadow Bright
  • False Indigo
  • Echinacea

Your herb garden would also look cheery with a border or backdrop of coreopsis and/or a few pretty specimens scattered throughout.

Coreopsis make natural plant additions for your butterfly garden.

Varieties to Choose From

No matter how large or small your yard or what type of plants you have, there’s sure to be a type of coreopsis that is just perfect for your setting.

From short, compact, bushy varieties to larger sizes that are tall, erect types, to sprawling ground covers, there is no shortage of choice.

Most coreopsis plants grow to be about two feet tall; however, this is just a general rule of thumb.

There is quite a bit of variety, thanks in no small part to the fact that a great number of hybrid varieties have been created.

Best Choices In Coreopsis

  • Snowberry is a cultivar that grows to be about three feet high and two feet wide. It presents a striking color pattern. The flowers are a creamy white and highlight a deep burgundy center.
  • Pinwheel is a cultivar that grows to be nearly three feet high and spreads to a width of two feet. It features novel curved petals that make it look like a pinwheel. The flowers are a pale yellow that provides an attractive appearance in any garden setting.
  • Autumn Blush grows to be about three feet tall and spreads approximately two feet. It has light yellow flowers with deep red centers.
  • Coreopsis Moonbeam flower or Coreopsis verticillata is easy to grow. It is a sterile cultivar that does best in very poor soil. In fact, it is ideal for rocky and sandy soil. It is such an enthusiastic grower that it borders on becoming invasive even in the face of drought, high heat, and oppressive humidity. Moonbeam was voted the Perennial Plant of the year in 1992. It grows to be approximately two feet high and wide. Its foliage is delicate and looks a great deal like ferns. The copious blossoms are pale yellow.
  • Sunray is an excellent choice for an abundance of bloom. The golden yellow flowers are quite large (up to two inches across). They make marvelous cut flowers. This variety is available in semi-double bloom or double bloom variety. This sturdy perennial grows to be 18 inches wide and 18 inches high.
  • Sweet Dreams has lovely pink flowers that display a deep purplish-red center. It grows to be 12-18 inches high. This variety is a real standout with its unusual coloring. It is so stunning that it can be used as a specimen plant or the centerpiece of any focal point in your garden. It makes an excellent container plant, and it also looks spectacular blanketing a field.
  • Crème Brulee has soft yellow flowers. The foliage is a yellowish-green shade. It grows to a height of 12-18 inches. Unlike other types of coreopsis, this plant produces blooms the full length of the stem. Other varieties produce blossoms at the top of the plant on long, thin stems.
  • Tequila Sunrise has bright yellow blossoms and pretty, variegated foliage. This plant reaches both a height and width of 12-16 inches.
  • Little Sundial is a dwarf coreopsis plant that only grows up to 10 inches high and 10 inches wide. Its blooms are a cheery yellow and feature a dark center.
  • Nana is sometimes called “dwarf-eared” or “mouse-eared” because its leaves are small and lobed. This plant spreads like a ground cover and only grows to be two-to-four inches high. It presents a pretty blanket of deep green leaves and abundant yellow flowers from early spring to early fall.
  • Other coreopsis species you may consider having include Coreopsis lanceolata (Lanceleaf coreopsis or lanceleaf tickseed), Coreopsis grandiflora (Large-leaf tickseed), and Coreopsis tinctoria (Golden tickseed plant).

Grow Coreopsis: A Rewarding Addition To Your Yard Or Garden

All-in-all, “tickseed” is a reliable and useful plant in any garden. It is carefree and rewards your little efforts with gorgeous, abundant blooms for nearly half the year.

In addition to the beauty the plants themselves bring to your garden, the flowers of these hardy natives are irresistible to valuable pollinators and beneficial to insects such as butterflies and bees.

Because of its drought tolerance, coreopsis can help you overcome several gardening challenges.

For example, if you need a rugged, yet beautiful, plant to surround your mailbox, coreopsis is your guy! If you want to create a colorful field or a pretty roadside, look no further!

Likewise, if you want a tough, drought-resistant, attractive plant for the planter on your hot, sunny deck, you couldn’t make a finer choice.

If you need off-season color in your bulb garden, plant a cover crop of coreopsis. The uses go on and on and are really limited only by your imagination.