How to Plant, Grow, and Care for Coreopsis Flowers
These long-blooming native flowers are a fan favorite. Countless small blooms sit atop thin, branching stems, making coreopsis suitable for planting in a number of areas around the garden. Here’s how to plant, grow, and care for coreopsis in your flower garden!
Coreopsis varieties produce daisy-like yellow, red, orange, pink, maroon, and violet flowers that bloom from summer to fall. Even as other summer flowers are fading in the fall, coreopsis are often still going strong.
Bees and butterflies love its nectar, and small birds (like goldfinches) love its seeds. It tolerates heat, humidity, and drought and, as cut flowers, will add cheer to any bouquet.
Plant in masses for striking visual effect; coreopsis are well-suited to beds, borders and containers. Varieties include annuals that tend to form clumps, be short lived, and self-sow; perennials, with rhizomatous roots; and hybrids that put energy into making colorful flowers and set few seeds. The annual varieties are often included in wildflower seed mixes.
When to Plant Coreopsis
- Sow seeds directly outdoors after the last spring frost or start seeds indoors 6 to 8 weeks before the last spring frost.
- Plant young annual coreopsis plants outdoors in the spring. Perennial coreopsis plants can be planted anytime from spring through early fall.
Choosing and Preparing a Planting Site
- Coreopsis flowers do best in full sun, but they will grow and bloom (to a lesser extent) in partial sun as well.
- Coreopsis tolerate poor soil, but not clay. They need well-draining soil. Add compost and/or sand to improve drainage before planting.
How to Plant Coreopsis
- Do not cover seeds; they need light for germination.
- Keep indoor-started seeds warm and moist.
- Plant transplants 12 to 18 inches apart.
- Water newly planted coreopsis regularly.
How to Care for Coreopsis
- Water established plants during dry spells.
- Too much fertilizer may cause spindly plants. Apply 10-10-10 lightly in spring, if desired.
- Deadhead for continuous blooms, removing the spent flower and its stalk.
- In mid- to late summer, when flowers fade, shear off 1/4 to 1/2 of growth to encourage late-season reblooming.
- Leave the seed heads on the plants in the fall for the birds or cut stems back to 6 to 8 inches to protect the crowns.
- Annual varieties can be dug up and discarded in the fall after a few frosts.
- Divide perennial plants every 3 to 4 years in the spring or early fall.
Coreopsis verticillata ‘Zagreb’ has moderately spreading clumps of slender green leaves that bear an abundance of bright-yellow, daisy-like flowers through summer. It is 12 to 18 inches tall and is hardy in Zones 4 to 9.
C. auriculata ‘Snowberry’ has stunning creamy white flowers with burgundy centers and grows 24 to 30 inches tall. This cultivar is hardy in Zones 3-8.
C. auriculata ‘Nana’ blooms from spring to September. Only 2 to 4 inches tall with dark green foliage and yellow flowers it makes a beautiful ground cover. The plant is hardy in Zones 4 to 9.
C. grandiflora ‘SunKiss’ has big, bright yellow flowers with burgundy starburst centers. It reaches 12 to 14 inches tall and blooms 2 months nonstop. The flowers are perfect for cutting and using in bouquets. The plant is hardy in Zones 4 to 9.
Hybrid ‘Pinwheel’ has blue-green leaves and flowers that are pinwheel shaped. The pastel yellow flowers with orange centers cover the plant all through summer and early fall. The plant is hardy in Zone 5 to 9.
Hybrid ‘Razzle Dazzle’ has large violet-purple blooms with white tips; hardy in Zones 5-9.
An annual species, C. tinctoria has bright flowers with yellow-red petals surrounding a dark-red center. The flowers bloom on long, branching stems.
Coreopsis as Cut Flowers
- Cut fully opened flowers in the morning.
- Recut the stems at an angle and remove leaves from the bottom half of the stems before placing in a vase.
- Change the water completely every 3 days.
- Coreopsis will last 7 to 10 days in a vase.
- Coreopsis is an excellent cut flower in a mixed bouquet.
- The coreopsis’ common name, tickseed, comes from the fact that its seeds resemble tiny ticks.
- Similarly, the name “coreopsis” stems from Greek koris, for “bedbug,” and opsis, meaning “like,” because the seeds also look like little bed bugs.
- In the language of flowers, coreopsis means “always cheerful.”
- Coreopsis flowers and roots were traditionally steeped into teas by some early Native Americans.
- The flowers can be used to make yellow and red dyes.