What colors do tick seed weeds come in

8 Varieties of Coreopsis for Your Flower Garden

Marie Iannotti is a life-long gardener and a veteran Master Gardener with nearly three decades of experience. She’s also an author of three gardening books, a plant photographer, public speaker, and a former Cornell Cooperative Extension Horticulture Educator. Marie’s garden writing has been featured in newspapers and magazines nationwide and she has been interviewed for Martha Stewart Radio, National Public Radio, and numerous articles.

The Spruce / Evgeniya Vlasova

Coreopsis, often called tickseed, is a genus containing up to 80 species of flowering perennials native to North America, Central America, and South America. The flowers are usually yellow and daisy-like (and, like daisies, they’re part of the Aster family). There are four species of particular interest to gardeners: C. grandiflora (large-flowered tickseed), C. lanceolata (lance-leafed tickseed), C. verticillata (threadleaf coreopsis), and C. rosea (pink coreopsis).

Coreopsis plants are extremely adaptable, easy-growing perennials. There’s a good range of varieties, and their numbers increase every year through the development of additional cultivars. There are tall, fluffy forms, red and pink varieties, and even annual types.

Here are eight varieties of coreopsis to consider growing in your flower garden.

Gardening Tip

All coreopsis species have a tendency to become sparse in late summer. They’re often rejuvenated by aggressively cutting them back after the main flowering period has concluded.

Large-Flowered Tickseed (Coreopsis grandiflora)

In addition to its many cultivars, the pure Coreopsis grandiflora has been gracing gardens with its bright yellow flowers for generations. It makes an excellent perennial for novice gardeners, but experienced gardeners will also appreciate its reliability, ease of growth, and versatility. Also known as large-flowered tickseed, it can grow in just about any soil, whether shallow, lean, or chalky. It’s open pollinated, so it can be grown either from seed or by division, and it will also self-seed, but not to the point of annoyance. If you don’t want the volunteers, deadhead the plants before they go to seed. These plants will benefit from shearing after the initial bloom fades.

  • Native Area: Central and eastern North America
  • USDA Growing Zones: 4–9
  • Height: 18–24 inches
  • Sun Exposure: Full sun

‘Heliot’ (Coreopsis grandiflora ‘Heliot’)

The Spruce / Evgeniya Vlasova

Coreopsis grandiflora are exuberant plants and will happily spread out in a garden. One cultivar, ‘Heliot,’ a Fleuroselect Gold Medal winner, was bred to stay tight and compact—perfect for a smaller garden or containers. The flowers are single with a burgundy ring around the center disk. They’re not as full as the double Coreopsis grandiflora, but they bloom from early summer right through to frost, even in the first year of planting. This cultivar also benefits from shearing after the initial blooms fade. Divide the clumps every three years to maintain the plant.

  • Native Area: Central and eastern North America
  • USDA Growing Zones: 4–9
  • Height: 10–14 inches
  • Sun Exposure: Full sun

‘Rising Sun’ (Coreopsis grandiflora ‘Rising Sun’)

Coreopsis grandiflora ‘Rising Sun’ is another Fleuroselect Gold Medal winner. It’s unique in a couple ways: First, it begins blooming weeks earlier than other varieties of coreopsis. Then there’s the flower itself. ‘Rising Sun’ has semi-double, fringed golden flowers with a red dot at the base of each petal. The 2-inch flowers are relatively large for the species, but the growth habit and ease of maintenance are everything you’d expect.

  • Native Area: Central and eastern North America
  • USDA Growing Zones: 3–9
  • Height: 18–24 inches
  • Sun Exposure: Full sun

Lanceleaf Coreopsis (Coreopsis lanceolata)

While all coreopsis plants are carefree, the lanceleaf, another North American native, is virtually foolproof. All it asks for is lots of sunshine and well-draining soil, and it will bloom its heart out all season long with deep yellow flowers. Lanceleaf coreopsis has a more open, airy form than Coreopsis grandiflora, although not as airy as the threadleaf. Lanceleaf has a bit of a wildflower look that blends well in cottage-style gardens. The flowers follow the sun, so position them where you’ll best enjoy the view.

‘Moonbeam’ Threadleaf Coreopsis (Coreopsis verticillata ‘Moonbeam’)

When Coreopsis verticillata ‘Moonbeam’ came on the market, nurseries couldn’t keep it in stock. The buttery yellow flowers were too irresistible, and then there’s the foliage: thread-like wisps of green that soften the look of the garden. ‘Moonbeam’ is, indeed, a stunning plant. It blooms from midsummer all the way into fall. Although this cultivar shares its species’ ease of growth, it tends to be less long-lived than most, often disappearing from a garden within three years. Then again, it’s been known to travel a bit and pop up in another part of the garden. It’s impossible to say how ‘Moonbeam’ will perform in your particular garden, but it’s worth a shot as it blends well into any garden design.

  • Native Area: Eastern-central United States
  • USDA Growing Zones: 3–9
  • Height: 18–24 inches
  • Sun Exposure: Full sun

‘Golden Showers’ (Coreopsis verticillata ‘Golden Showers’)

The Spruce / Marie Iannotti

The threadleaf coreopsis (C. verticillata) is increasingly popular, leading to the development of several cultivars.The feathery leaves and profusion of blooms are certainly worthy features. However, some threadleafs become wispy and floppy as they age, and others are short-lived. However, ‘Golden Showers’ can hold its flower stems tall and sturdy throughout the season. It tends to form a nice size clump, rather than traveling around your garden, and it stays around for several years. The golden yellow flowers bloom from midsummer into fall. Like most coreopsis, ‘Golden Showers’ is very tolerant of hot, dry weather. Shearing the plants back by about two-thirds once the initial blooming is finished will refresh the plant and set new buds.

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All About Coreopsis

Profuse blooms, often in shades of yellow, through a long period in mid-summer make coreopsis a great native plant choice for perennial gardens and containers.

This perennial has even more going for it—low maintenance with few insect pests or disease problems, if any.

Coreopsis attracts butterflies, beneficial insects, and birds

Want to attract butterfly pollinators and their caterpillars?

A research study in the mid-Atlantic region (Mt. Cuba Center in Delaware) identified at least 29 different species of pollinators visiting Coreopsis:

In addition to butterflies and insects, coreopsis is a good choice for birds, IF you let plants form for the seeds.

The only problems are, that by doing so, you’ll get fewer flowers and they may self-sow throughout your garden where you don’t want them. One compromise is to keep them cut back during the season, for more flowers, but let them go to seed in the fall for the birds. You may, then, have to easily weed out some seedlings next spring if they self-sow.

Coreopsis (said as “core-ee-OP-siss”)– the name that it is most often known by– also has the common name of “tickseed” from the resemblance of seeds to ticks. This is a good example of a common name that really doesn’t do justice to a wonderful flower that is in the daisy or aster family (Asteraceae).

The name “coreopsis” also refers to the seeds, coming from the Greek words “koris” meaning bug, and “opsis” meaning “like a bug.”

Coreopsis were popular some decades ago when mainly the species were sold and there were only a few selections. Those growing them were the original native plant enthusiasts.

In recent years coreopsis has become much more popular, grown, and sold thanks, in part, to the breeding of many new forms. There are at least 80 different species of coreopsis and many selections and hybrids of them. About half the species are native to North America, the other half to Central or South America.

Life Cycle

Coreopsis Zagreb are an example of the perennial Coreopsis verticillata, which are also commonly known as threadleaf coreopsis.

Some coreopsis are perennial—living more than one year, others are annual—living for only one year.

So it’s important when shopping for, and choosing, which coreopsis you’ll plant to find out first if the desired plant is annual or perennial in your area. Some may be perennial in warmer climates, but not live over winter in colder climates.

Use annual coreopsis in front of taller summer perennials such as garden phlox, bee balm, or coneflowers. Annual coreopsis also looks great in containers on patios or balconies.

Growing Coreopsis

Make sure to check the hardiness zone ratings on the plant description or label.

While hardiness zone is a good place to start with the perennial species, there is more to winter survival with coreopsis than just temperature.

Soil plays a big part in winter hardiness. Coreopsis survive much better in sandy soils and those that stay dry during winter, rather than staying too wet.

The Mt. Cuba, Delaware trial of 94 different coreopsis found that those that spread by underground stems (rhizomes) were much more likely to overwinter successfully than those that formed clumps.

The annual species and its selections may perform better through the summer into fall with regular watering and fertilizer. Cutting off spent flowers (deadheading) individually takes some time, but results in a more continual bloom than shearing all off. The latter is quicker and easier but may leave the plants with no blooms for 3 weeks.

Most Common Types of Coreopsis

Although there are many perennial species of coreopsis and, in fact, most are perennial in many areas, there are a handful that are most common. The perennial species are generally deer resistant—an important trait for gardeners in many parts of the country.

Coreopsis tinctoria or Golden tickseed or Plains coreopsis

The most common annual species that you’ll find, along with some selections of it, is the golden tickseed or plains coreopsis (tinctoria), native as its name indicates to the plains of the Central U.S. but also to much of the East and the South.It has spread throughout many western and southern states where it can be found in disturbed areas, such as ditches along roadsides.

It has small, but many, yellow flowers with red centers in summer on plants one foot or so high. Tips of petals have notches in them

Coreopsis auriculata or Mouse-ear coreopsis

The mouse-ear coreopsis(auriculata) gets its great name from the two sections of the leaves that stick out like mouse ears. The yellow spring flowers appear above the dark, evergreen foliage. As with the annual coreopsis, this and most the perennials reach 1 to 2 feet tall.

Although native to southern states, it is hardy in USDA zones 4 through 9 which means they can tolerate minus 30 to 30 degrees F average annual winter minimum temperature. Check your zone with the USDA Hardiness Zone Interactive Map

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Coreopsis ‘nana’ or Dwarf mouse-ear coreopsis.

Even lower is a dwarf mouse-ear coreopsis (‘Nana’) which, like the species, spreads but not aggressively. It only reaches 6 to 8 inches high. Plant several of these a foot or so apart to fill in and make a nice colorful mass of flowers in spring.

Coreopsis grandiflora or Large-flowered coreopsis.

Another popular perennial coreopsis is the large-flowered coreopsis (that’s what the species name grandiflora means), with quite a few popular selections. It begins flowering in early summer and, with deadheading, should produce more orange to yellow flowers throughout the summer.

It, too, is native to southern states, can reach 1 to 2 feet tall, and is hardy in zones 4 through 9. The only downside with this species is that it is short-lived, needing replacing every couple of years in the South and every 3 to 4 years in the North.

Coreopsis lanceolata or Lanceleaf coreopsis

The perennial lanceleaf coreopsis (lanceolata) is another southern native, but also is found through the Midwest and is naturalized throughout northeastern states.

It is, in many respects, similar to its large-flowered relative, and may hybridize with it. This one, though, may be longer lived and has most of its leaves at the base of plants.

Pollinators love Coreopsis, and will visit their blooms throughout the growing season. (Customer Photo by Jennifer J.) Coreopsis Sweet Dreams is part of the Coreopsis rosea family.

Coreopsis rosea

The pink coreopsis (rosea) species is native from Nova Scotia to Maryland, so performs best in zones 4 to 7. Some of its selections or hybrids may not be quite so winter hardy. What you find for sale (usually the dwarf form of the species) is under one foot high, the rose-pink summer flowers having yellow centers. It has fine, thread-like leaves.

Coreopsis verticillata or threadleaf coreopsis

Perhaps the most popular perennial tickseed is the threadleaf coreopsis (verticillata) with, as its name indicates, thread-like leaves too. It is one of the tallest coreopsis, reaching 18 to 36 inches high, and needing 2 to 3 feet to spread. It provides yellow summer flowers.

Li’l Bang Red Elf PPAF is one of the smallest, compact Coreopsis reaching heights of 9-12”. Although its shorter, it has larger blooms than most and it produces a unique red flower.

How to Grow and Care for Coreopsis

Marie Iannotti is a life-long gardener and a veteran Master Gardener with nearly three decades of experience. She’s also an author of three gardening books, a plant photographer, public speaker, and a former Cornell Cooperative Extension Horticulture Educator. Marie’s garden writing has been featured in newspapers and magazines nationwide and she has been interviewed for Martha Stewart Radio, National Public Radio, and numerous articles.

Kathleen Miller is a highly-regarded Master Gardener and Horticulturist who shares her knowledge of sustainable living, organic gardening, farming, and landscape design. She founded Gaia’s Farm and Gardens, a working sustainable permaculture farm, and writes for Gaia Grows, a local newspaper column. She has over 30 years of experience in gardening and sustainable farming.

The Spruce / Adrienne Legault

If you’re looking for a low-maintenance, drought-tolerant, long-blooming flower to fill a bed or line a border, coreopsis plants (Coreopsis spp.) are a perfect choice. With more than 80 varieties of coreopsis, there’s a varietal to suit every garden design.

Native to North America, coreopsis plants grow in upright clumps and feature masses of bright, showy, daisy-like flowers throughout the summer. The foliage of the species varies, with some varieties boasting large green leaves and others sporting narrower greenery. One of the plant’s common names, tickseed, is a nod to its round seeds, which resemble ticks. Birds and other wildlife love to snack on the seeds during the fall and winter, while bees and butterflies are drawn to the colorful blooms.

Plants in the coreopsis species have a moderate growth rate and are best planted in the spring after all risk of frost has passed. Annual varieties will start blooming in early summer and repeat bloom periodically through the fall, while perennial varieties will begin blooming the second year after planting.

Common Name Coreopsis, tickseed, calliopsis
Botanical Name Coreopsis spp.
Family Asteraceae
Plant Type Perennial, annual
Mature Size 2–4 ft. tall, 1-2 ft. wide (varies by species)
Sun Exposure Full sun
Soil Type Sandy, well-drained
Soil pH Neutral to acidic
Bloom Time Summer, fall
Flower Color Red, orange, yellow, pink, white
Hardiness Zones 2–11, USA
Native Area North America, Central America, South America

Watch Now: How to Grow and Care for Coreopsis

Coreopsis Care

Overall, coreopsis plants don’t require much care when grown in their preferred environment. Select a planting site that gets lots of sun and has good soil drainage. Also, don’t forget to account for the mature size of your species—when planting, leave some space around each plant for air circulation. The taller coreopsis varieties might need staking as they mature; otherwise, the stems might flop over. Moreover, deadheading your plants (removing the spent blooms) can keep the plant blooming throughout summer and into fall.

Light

Coreopsis plants will grow and bloom best in full sun, which means at least six to eight hours of direct light on most days. They can also grow in partial sun, but the plants might be lankier and not flower as profusely. In climates with very hot summers, some afternoon shade is welcome.

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These plants thrive in well-draining loamy or sandy soil with a fairly neutral soil pH. However, most coreopsis varieties are very easy to grow and aren’t particular about soil quality or soil pH, as long as they aren’t waterlogged. In fact, some of the most profuse blooming comes from coreopsis plants that are growing on the untamed border of roadways or other “forgotten” areas. Heavy, wet clay soils should be amended with compost to help drainage.

Water

New coreopsis plants need regular water to keep the soil evenly moist (but not soggy) until they are established. After their first year, these plants have good drought tolerance, but they’ll bloom most prolifically with regular watering. Water deeply whenever the soil is dry about an inch down. Early morning watering is best—it allows the leaves a chance to dry out during the day.

Temperature and Humidity

Coreopsis plants like warm temperatures between 70 and 80 degrees Fahrenheit during the day and 50 and 60 degrees Fahrenheit at night. That being said, various species of coreopsis have differing levels of cold tolerance. High levels of humidity typically aren’t an issue for these plants as long as they have good air circulation and proper watering and drainage.

Fertilizer

Fertilization typically isn’t necessary for coreopsis plants unless you have very poor soil. Too much fertilizer can actually promote excessive foliage growth at the expense of the plant flowering. To give your plants a boost, you can mix a little compost into the soil at the beginning of spring.

Types of Coreopsis

There are dozens of species and varieties of coreopsis, which mostly differ in appearance rather than care. Some of the most popular varietals for outdoor cultivation include:

  • Coreopsis grandifloraEarly Sunrise’: A variety with large, semi-double, bright yellow flowers that start blooming in early summer
  • Coreopsis grandiflora ‘Golden Showers’: A variety with profuse yellow blooms on longer-than-average stems
  • Coreopsis verticillata ‘Moonbeam’: A variety with buttery yellow flowers and a compact, dense shape
  • Coreopsis rosea ‘Nana’: A mauve-pink dwarf variety that spreads nicely but lacks drought tolerance

Michael Hütten / EyeEm / Getty Images

Propagating Coreopsis

Although perennial coreopsis are rugged plants, they don’t tend to live more than three to five years. A decrease in flowering is a good signal that it’s time to divide the plants (or to plant some new ones from seed) to propagate them. The best time to divide your plant is the spring or early fall—here’s how:

  1. First carefully dig up a clump of a mature plant, leaving the roots as intact as possible.
  2. Use a sharp trowel to split the clump into smaller sections, making sure there are several healthy roots present on each section.
  3. Replant the sections in a suitable growing site. Keep the new plants well-watered until they’re established and show visible signs of growth, which can take several weeks.

How to Grow Coreopsis From Seed

Many coreopsis varieties can be grown from seed and often will reseed themselves in your garden. Start seeds indoors six to eight weeks before your area’s projected last frost date, or directly plant seeds in your garden after your last frost. Plant the seeds roughly 1/2-inch deep, and keep the soil lightly moist and warm. Seedlings should emerge in about two to three weeks, at which point you can put the seedlings by a sunny window and continue to keep the soil lightly moist. Indoor seedlings will need to be slowly acclimatized to the outdoors by taking them outside for long stretches each day for about a week. Then, they’re ready to be planted in the garden.

Common Pests & Plant Diseases

For the most part, coreopsis plants grow problem-free. But in damp seasons, they might fall prey to snails and slugs, as well as to fungal diseases. Before turning to pesticides and fungicides, try to improve your plant’s environment. Make sure it has plenty of air circulation, which can ward off pests and fungal problems. And note whether it’s getting enough sunlight. Divide overgrown clumps where the centers aren’t getting much air or light.

How to Get Coreopsis to Bloom

One of the most important factors in ensuring your coreopsis blooms each season is planting the flowers somewhere where the plant gets ample light. If you’re noticing that your plant is struggling to bloom, too much shade may be to blame. If there’s not a spot in your landscape that boasts six to eight hours of direct light a day, plant your coreopsis in a pot so you can move it around your lawn occasionally to “chase” the light.

It’s important to reiterate that coreopsis does not need fertilization. In fact, doing so can cause the plant to grow disproportionally—too much fertilizer can cause the plant to put all of its energy into growing its stem and leaves, and not enough energy into bud production. If it looks like your coreopsis could use a boost, look to add organic matter to the soil instead. Additionally, deadheading spent blooms can also prompt the plant to produce additional buds.

Yes—coreopsis plants do not require much attention and tend to thrive on a bit of neglect.