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Coreopsis: How to Plant and Grow Coreopsis Flowers | The Old Farmer's Almanac

Coreopsis

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Pixabay
Botanical Name
Coreopsis spp.
Plant Type
Sun Exposure
Soil pH
Bloom Time
Flower Color
Hardiness Zone
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How to Plant, Grow, and Care for Coreopsis Flowers

The Editors
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Coreopsis varieties produce daisy-like yellow, red, orange, pink, maroon, and violet flowers that bloom from summer to fall. 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.

Even as other summer flowers are fading in the fall, coreopsis is often still going strong. Bees and butterflies love its nectar, and small birds, such as gold finches, love its seeds. Here’s how to plant, grow, and care for coreopsis in your flower garden!

About Coreopsis

This easy-to-grow plant makes few demands. It tolerates heat, humidity, and drought, and when cut, adds cheer to a bouquet

Plant in masses for striking visual effect. It is well suited to beds, borders, and containers.

  • Varieties include annuals and perennials.
  • Annuals tend to form clumps, to be short-lived, and to self-sow. The annual varieties are often included in wildflower seed mixes. 
  • Perennials spread with rhizomatous roots.
  • And there are hybrids that put energy into making colorful blooms but set few seeds.

 

 

 

Planting

Coreopsis requires full sun and good drainage, but they will grow and bloom (to a lesser extent) in partial sun, as well. It tolerates poor soil, but not heavy clay. Add compost to improve drainage before planting.

When to Plant Coreopsis

  • Sow seeds directly outdoors after the last spring frost
  • Start seeds indoors 8 to 10  weeks before the last spring frost.
  • Do not cover seeds. They need light for germination. Keep indoor seeds warm and moist.
  • Plant young annual coreopsis plants outdoors in the spring.
  • Perennial coreopsis plants can be planted anytime from spring through early fall. 

How to Plant Coreopsis

  • Set transplants 12 to 18 inches apart.
  • Water until plants are established. 
Growing

Water during dry spells. Fertilizer may cause spindly plants with few flowers. Apply 10-10-10 lightly in spring, if desired.

  •  Water established plants during dry spells.  
  • 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.  
  • After a couple of fall frosts, cut perennials back to 6 to 8 inches to protect the crowns. Remove plant debris.
  • Or, leave the seed heads on the plants in the fall for the birds. 
  • Spread a layer of compost, then a layer of mulch, around — not on — the crown.
  • Annual varieties can be dug up and discarded after a few frosts.
  • Divide perennials every 3 to 4 years in spring or early fall.

 

Harvesting

 

  • Cut flowers for arrangements when they are fully opened. Cutting them in morning is best.
  • 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. 
Wit and Wisdom
  • 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. 
Pests/Diseases