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Coreopsis

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Coreopsis, a tough and hardy, easy to grow perennial

 

Coreopsis is a genus of the Asteraceae or Aster family.  There are roughly on hundred species, both annual and perennial.  There are dozens of perennial varieties currently cultivated for gardens.  They are native perennial wildflowers that are very hardy and easy to grow.  Coreopsis is valued in the garden for its’ long bloom season.  They are generally very tolerant of any soil condition other than very wet soils.  Full sun is best for prolific blooming and deadheading will further encourage blooming. Very little care is required.

 

 

Coreopsis lanceolata L. Lanceleaf TickseedCoreopsis lanceolata by Tanaka

  • Common Name:  Tickseed, Lance-leaved Coreopsis, Sand Coreopsis
  • Plant Type:  Herbaceous perennial
  • Height:  12-30”
  • Spread:  12-18”
  • Sun/Shade Requirements:  Full sun to light shade
  • Water Requirements:  Low to average water needs, very drought tolerant.
  • Soil Requirements:  Prefers sandy soil, but not at all fussy other than preferring well drained rather than wet soils.
  • Growth Habit:  Clump forming
  • Bloom Time: May into July
  • Bloom Color: Yellow
  • Bloom Form:  Eight petals, four lobed and toothed, around a flat yellow center, forming a 1 1/2” daisy-like flat bloom.
  • Foliage:  3-6” grass-green, long opposite leaves, deeply cut forming 3 leaflets.
  • Fragrance:  None
  • Coreopsis lancelolata Baby Sun by F D RichardsP e st a n d D is e a s e R e si st ance:  No notable pests or problems.
  • Fertilize:  Feeding is not necessary, but a balanced fertilizer may be applied annually in early spring
  • Maintenance:  Divide every 3-4 years in very early spring or in late fall when blooming is finished.  Deadhead to encourage prolific blooming.
  • Other:  Attracts butterflies and birds, deer resistant
  • Hardiness:  Zones 2-9

 

The ‘Lanceleaf Tickseed’ species is the most common Coreopsis, often marketed as simply Coreopsis.  A southern species, ‘Greater Tickseed’, is similar, as well as several similar species in the east.  The ‘Lanceleaf Coreopsis’ propagates easily from seed, and the small clumps can form extensive colonies.  This native species can often be found growing wild along roadsides, where sizable colonies may become established.  Although each individual clump is not necessarily reliably perennial, it self seeds readily to establish itself in the garden.  Division every few years will also help maintain the health of the plant, discarding old centers and replanting outer young rosettes.  Cut back to the ground or by two thirds in summer if foliage becomes leggy and sprawling.

Common Coreopsis is very easily grown with minimal maintenance.  Bright sunny yellow blooms are very showy.  They are borne on stiff slender stems from spring into summer.  It blooms best in full sun, too much shade will produce tall stems with few flowers.  Deadheading will increase and prolong the bloom period, as well as minimize self seeding.  This is an excellent choice for roadside plantings, cottage gardens, and for naturalizing.  Coreopsis is a great, long lasting cut flower.  It is tolerant of heat, humidity and drought.  When grown in fertile moist soil, the plants tend to grow long, leggy, sprawling branches.

 

Coreopsis verticillata ‘Moonbeam’Coreopsis 'Moonbeam' by F D Richards

  • Common Name:  Tickseed, Threadleaf Coreopsis, Sand Coreopsis
  • Plant Type:  Herbaceous perennial
  • Height:  18-24”
  • Spread:  15-24”
  • Sun/Shade Requirements:  Full sun
  • Water Requirements:  Low to average water needs, very drought tolerant.
  • Soil Requirements:  Prefers average to sandy soil, but not at all fussy other than preferring well drained rather than wet soils.
  • Growth Habit:  Clump forming, bushy
  • Bloom Time: June through August, repeating until frost
  • Bloom Color: Pale yellow with golden centers.
  • Bloom Form:  1” daisy like flowers with eight delicate petals
  • Foliage:  Grass green, fine three parted “needle-like’ leaves
  • Fragrance:  NoneCoreopsis Moonbeam by F D Richards
  • Pest and Disease Resistanc e:  No notable pests or problems.  Deer resistant
  • Fertilize:  Feeding is not necessary.  Apply a balanced fertilizer in early spring if soil is especially poor.
  • Maintenance:  Divide every 3-4 years in very early spring or in late fall when blooming is finished.  Deadhead to encourage prolific blooming.
  • Other:  Attracts butterflies.
  • Hardiness:  Zones 3-9

 

‘Moonbeam’s’ soft lemon yellow blooms are borne on slender stems above grass like foliage.  This classic perennial continues to be highly popular because of its’ long bloom season and easy care.  The airy profusion of flowers continues through much of summer, and will repeat until frost.  Deadheading will increase the repeat blooms produced.  Since there is rarely a time with no fresh blooms, shear when most of the blooms are spent.  In a couple of weeks a fresh crop of blooms will be produced.  Any foliage that begins to sprawl or become leggy can also be sheared back by as much as two thirds to tidy the clump.

A creeping root system will produce new plants surrounding the original clump.  The spread is relatively slow and easy to control.  Or just let it spread to fill any area that is difficult to maintain other perennials.  ‘Moonbeam’ is a sterile cultivar and will not self seed, so late fall spent blooms can be left overwinter.  The tiny “tickseed” heads atop long stems add winter interest to the garden.  The threadleaf Coreopsis tend to be rather short lived, so allowing it to spread and division every few years will maintain the life of the plant in your garden.  Replant fresh outer clumps and discard old centers.

‘Moonbeam’ is stunning when paired with blue of any hue.  The creamy yellow is lovely at the front of a perennial border or fronting evergreens in a foundation planting.  Don’t let the delicate look of the blooms and foliage fool you, this is a tough and hardy perennial with excellent drought resistance for those neglected areas of your landscape.  An excellent perennial to hold the soil on a slope.

 

Coreopsis verticillata ‘Golden Dream’ Coreopsis 'Golden Dreams' bloom by TOG

  • Common Name:  Tickseed, Thread Leaf Coreopsis, Sand Coreopsis
  • Plant Type:  Herbaceous perennial
  • Height:  10-12”
  • Spread:  12-20”
  • Sun/Shade Requirements:  Full sun
  • Water Requirements:  Low to average water needs, somewhat drought tolerant.
  • Soil Requirements:  Prefers sandy soil, but not at all fussy other than preferring well drained rather than wet soils.
  • Growth Habit:  Upright, uniform mounded clump
  • Bloom Time: June into August
  • Bloom Color: Golden Yellow touched with orange, with yellow orange centers
  • Bloom Form:  1” daisy like flowers
  • FoliaCoreopsis 'Golden Dreams' by TOGge:  Green, fine textured three parted leaves.
  • Fragr ance:  None
  • Pest and Disea se Resist ance:  No notabl e pests or probl ems.
  • Fertilize:  Feeding is not necessary.
  • Maintenance:  Divide every 3-4 years in very early spring or in late fall when blooming is finished.  Deadhead to encourage prolific blooming.
  • Other:  Attracts butterflies
  • Hardiness:  Zones 5-8

 

‘Golden Dream’ is a dwarf sport of ‘Creme Brulee’.  It is of course smaller overall than ‘Creme Brulee’, making it an excellent cultivar for container gardening.  The blooms are smaller, but ‘Golden Dream’ has a longer bloom time and the coloring is much better.  The blooms are held singly and in loose clusters, and with deadheading the blooming can last right up until frost.  The stems of ‘Golden Dream’ are stronger than ‘Zagreb’, but with a short compact plant, windy sites should not be a problem anyway.  The dense foliage is fine and lacy.  Foliage generally remains fresh, but should it become leggy or ragged after the first major flush of blooming., cut back up to two thirds, or simply remove the spent clumps to refresh the foliage and generate new growth.

‘Golden Dream’ will spread slowly by underground rhizomes.  But it does not self seed so controlling the spread is not a problem.  Vigilant deadheading then is also not necessary to control self seeding, but shearing when most of the blooms are spent will encourage additional blooming.  ‘Golden Dream’ is perfect for naturalizing and wild gardens, but is also lovely in a cottage garden, front of a perennial border or as an accent plant.  ‘Golden Dream’ is a relatively new cultivar and hardiness is not fully tested, but has shown success in zone 4 in limited trials.

 

Coreopsis grandiflora ‘Jethro Tull’Coreopsis 'Jethro Tull'

  • Common Name:  Tickseed, Fluted Tickseed
  • Plant Type:  Herbaceous perennial
  • Height:  12-18”
  • Spread:  18-24”
  • Sun/Shade Requirements:  Full sun
  • Water Requirements:  Low to average water needs, very drought tolerant.
  • Soil Requirements:  Prefers sandy soil, but not at all fussy other than preferring well drained rather than wet soils.
  • Growth Habit:  upright, broad spreading
  • Bloom Time: June into August, lighter reblooming until frost
  • Bloom Color: Vivid golden yellow
  • Bloom Form:  2” tubular, fluted rays
  • Foliage:  Green 3” elliptic leaves
  • Fragrance:  None
  • Pest and Disease Resistance:  No notable pests or problems.Coreopsis Jethro Tull
  • F e rt ili z e:  F e e di n g is n o t n e c essary, but light feedings will improve foliage.
  • Maintenance:  Divide every 3-4 years in very early spring or in late fall when blooming is finished.  Deadhead to encourage prolific blooming.
  • Other:  Deer resistant, attracts butterflies
  • Hardiness:  Zones 5-9

 

‘Jethro Tull’ is a cross between ‘Zamphir’ and ‘Early Sunrise’ with broader fluted petals, a longer bloom season, and a nice compact form.  The unique stunning blooms have a tightly packed single row of tubular petals that are deeply fluted, surrounding a dark yellow center.  ‘Jethro Tull’ is a profuse bloomer.  Deadheading will encourage the reblooms, but even without deadheading  blooming continues until frost.  This is a strong and vigorous growing perennial with strong stems that hold up in windy conditions.

‘Jethro Tull’ does best in full sun with average well drained soil, tolerating heat, humidity, poor soil and drought.  Reblooming is encouraged by deadheading, just shear off the spent stems after the first bloom period.  ‘Jethro Tull’ will not self seed, minimizing the spread of the plant.  Spread by underground rhizomes is more easily controlled with simple division every few years.  Has been grown with limited success in zone 4.

Plant ‘Jethro Tull’ anywhere a bold statement is needed, massed, singly or in groups.  The amazing blooms make a unique and cheery greeting in an entry garden.  It will thrive in poor and dry soils and containers.  Excellent in a vase.

 

Coreopsis grandiflora ‘Early Sunrise’Coreopsis 'early sunrise' by Echo Forsberg

  • Common Name:  Tickseed
  • Plant Type:  Herbaceous perennial
  • Height:  18-20”
  • Spread:  15-24”
  • Sun/Shade Requirements:  Full Sun
  • Water Requirements:  Low to average water needs, very drought tolerant.
  • Soil Requirements:  Prefers sandy soil, but not at all fussy other than preferring well drained rather than wet soils.
  • Growth Habit:  Upright
  • Bloom Time: June through September
  • Bloom Color: Golden yellow, flushed orange-yellow toward the centers
  • Bloom Form:  2” Semi double daisy like flowers
  • Foliage:  Neat compact foliage
  • Fragrance:  None
  • Pest and Disease Resistance:  No notable pests or problems.
  • Fertilize:  Feeding is not necessary.  A light application of balanced fertilizer may be applied in early spring.
  • Maintenance:  Divide every 3-4 years in very early spring or in late fall when blooming is finished.  Deadhead to encourage prolific blooming.
  • Other:  Attracts butterflies, deer resistant.
  • Hardiness:  Zones 4-9

‘Early Sunrise’ lush double blooms are held on 20”, long, straight stems.  ‘Early Sunrise’ is one of the earliest Coreopsis to bloom, usually getting started in late May.  As is usually the case with grandifloras, blooming is prolific, creating a stunning mass of long lasting, golden yellow blooms in June, lighter blooming persisting until frost.  The blooms self-clean pretty well and deadheading is not required for continued bloom but may encourage it.  ‘Early Sunrise’ can be an aggressive self seeder, deadheading regularly will reduce self seeding..  The Coreopsis grandiflora cultivars should be given some room to spread so they don’t become leggy and scraggly.  Try to let them have sun all the way to the base of the plant to encourage dense sturdy growth.  Staking should not be required unless your region receives frequent heavy rainfalls.  If foliage becomes too ragged, sheer back by one third or more, if necessary to the ground, to rejuvenate the plant.  New foliage will emerge and new blooms will develop.

A very easy care perennial, ‘Early Sunrise’ will tolerate very hot conditions and withstands drought period.  But don’t let it go too long without water, the foliage will suffer and the plant may die.  Allow fall foliage growth to overwinter, adding interest to your winter garden and protecting the crown.  In zone 4 plants may not survive without heavy mulching.  If soil is particularly poor, an application of slow release fertilizer in early spring may help the foliage to remain fresh.  Over fertilizing will encourage foliage growth and diminish flowering.

‘Early Sunrise’ makes a perfect cut flower with long straight stems and long lasting blooms.  Excellent for areas of the landscape that are hard to maintain with difficult conditions.

 

Coreopsis verticillata ‘Zagreb’Coreopsis verticillata Zagreb Threadleaf by the ordinary gardener

  • Common Name:  Tickseed, Threadleaf Coreopsis, Whorled Coreopsis
  • Plant Type:  Herbaceous perennial
  • Height:  12-18”
  • Spread:  12-18”
  • Sun/Shade Requirements:  Full sun
  • Water Requirements:  Low to average water needs, very drought tolerant.
  • Soil Requirements:  Prefers sandy soil, but not at all fussy other than preferring well drained rather than wet soils.
  • Growth Habit:  Dense compact clumps
  • Bloom Time: May through June, reblooming until frost
  • Bloom Color: Bright yellow
  • Bloom Form:  1-2” daisy like flowers, singly or in clusters.
  • Foliage:  Medium-dark green, three parted leaves in delicate thread like segments.
  • Fragrance:  None
  • Pest and Disease Resistance:  No notable pests or problems.  Deer resistant.
  • Fertilize:  Feeding is not necessary.
  • Maintenance:  Divide every 3-4 years in very early spring or in late fall when blooming is finished.  Deadhead to encourage prolific blooming.
  • Other:  Attracts butterflies
  • Hardiness:  Zones 3-8

Coreopsis verticillata Zagreb by F D Richards‘Zagreb’, related to ‘Moonbeam’, produces abundant bright stars of yellow blooms over a delicate lacy mound of airy foliage.  Blooming continues all summer, and if deadheaded will rebloom until frost.  ‘Zagreb’ blooms are a deeper yellow and blooming longer than ‘Moonbeam’, and the plant is tougher, holding up better to hot dry conditions.  Growth in spring begins as much as a few weeks earlier and finishes later in autumn.

‘Zagreb’ spreads slowly by underground rhizomes and also self seeds to produce new plants.  Deadheading spent blooms and frequent cutting for fresh arrangements will minimize self seeding.  Moist fertile soil will encourage spreading and seed sprout.  But since verticillata cultivars are relatively short lived, propagation of new plants may not be a problem if grown in a naturalized, wild or casual cottage garden.  In a rock garden or street garden with poor soil and minimal maintenance, ‘Zagreb’s’ ability to spread and reproduce will be minimized.  In the front of a perennial border ‘Zagreb’ will shine with sunny yellow stars all summer long.

 

Coreopsis ‘Limerock Passion’Coreopsis 'Limerock Passion' and C. 'Limerock Ruby' by Wally Grom

  • Common Name:  Tickseed, Threadleaf Coreopsis
  • Plant Type:  Herbaceous perennial
  • Height:  16-22”
  • Spread:  34”
  • Sun/Shade Requirements:  Full sun to light shade
  • Water Requirements:  Average to high water needs.
  • Soil Requirements:  Grows in nearly any soil that is well drained
  • Growth Habit:  Dense bushy mound
  • Bloom Time: June through September
  • Bloom Color: Magenta pink to red-purple daisy like flowers with a yellow eye.
  • Bloom Form:  Daisy like flowers
  • Foliage:  Dark green, fine, ferny
  • Fragrance:  None
  • Pest and Disease Resistance:  No notable pests or problems.
  • Fertilize:  Apply a balanced fertilizer in early spring and
  • Maintenance:  Divide every 3-4 years in very early spring or in late fall when blooming is finished.  Deadhead to encourage prolific blooming.
  • Other:  Attracts butterflies.
  • Hardiness:  Zones 6-9

‘Limerock Passion’ is a newer hybrid selection of perennial Coreopsis, a sport of ‘Limerock Ruby’ .  Masses of tiny magenta pink blooms are produced all summer, creating a bold statement when planted in groups or masses.  The petal color softens to a lighter pink as the blooms mature.  If cut back by at least two thirds after the first flush of blooms has faded, ‘Limerock Passion’ will continue blooming well into fall, and the foliage will branch out in dense new foliage.  It does not self seed and is a slow spreader.  This is a superb selection for border edging, container gardens and accent plants.  It is a strong, vigorous grower that will not disappoint.  The only notable difference between ‘Limerock Passion’ and Limerock Ruby’ is the color.  ‘Limerock Ruby’ has ruby red blooms, a striking red in the garden or containers.  In the above photo, ‘Limerock Ruby’ is shown at the top, ‘Limerock Passion’ is below.

Unfortunately this is a tender perennial, and will barely be hardy in zone 5.  Heat and drought may burn or discolor petals.  But with Coreopsis’ feature of never failing to disappoint in the blooming department, it is well worth some space in your garden if you have the right place and climate for it.  Northern summers in a sunny spot are ideal for ‘Limerock Passion’, but it must be considered an annual.

 

Coreopsis rosea ‘Sweet Dreams’Coreopsis 'Sweet Dreams' by Gordon Joly

  • Common Name:  Tickseed, Pink Coreopsis
  • Plant Type:  Herbaceous perennial
  • Height:  12-18”
  • Spread:  12-24”
  • Sun/Shade Requirements: Full sun
  • Water Requirements: Average water needs, prefers consistently moist.  Once well established, becomes somewhat drought tolerant.
  • Soil Requirements:  Prefers an average, well drained soil
  • Growth Habit:  Upright, low mound
  • Bloom Time: June to August, reblooming through October.
  • Bloom Color: White petals with a raspberry-red base and yellow centers.
  • Bloom Form:  1 1/2” daisy like blooms with toothed tips.
  • Foliage:  Ferny dark green foliage
  • Fragrance:  None
  • Pest and Disease Resistance:  No notable pests or problems, deer resistant
  • Fertilize:  Apply a balanced fertilizer in early spring.
  • Maintenance:  Divide every 3-4 years in very early spring or in late fall when blooming is finished.  Deadhead to encourage prolific blooming.
  • Other:  Attracts butterflies
  • Hardiness:  Zones 4-9

Coreopsis rosea are the only Coreopsis with pink flowers, and ‘Sweet Dreams’ bright bicolor blooms are very showy.  As the blooms mature, the raspberry color “bleeds” out toward the tips, creating everchanging flower coloring.  The bloom period is long, beginning in June and continuing into August.  Lighter blooms flushes will continue until frost, and can be encouraged by deadheading.  Shear back spent blooms and stems in late summer. Fine grass like dark green foliage has an airy appearance.  ‘’Sweet Dreams’ does not produce seed so it does not spread aggressively through the garden.  It spreads moderately by underground rhizomes, and can eventually create a gorgeous groundcover.

Avoid heavy clay soils for ‘Sweet Dreams’ as root rot may become a problem.  Cool summer climates are ideal.  Hot and humid regions can result in leggy, scraggly plants with poor blooming.  Heavy moisture will result in weak stems that cause the plant to mat.  ‘Sweet Dreams’ is a good choice for naturalized and cottage gardens, rock gardens, accent plants and to create a groundcover for smaller areas.

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