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


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Botanical Name
Coreopsis spp.
Plant Type
Sun Exposure
Soil pH
Bloom Time
Flower Color
Hardiness Zone
Special Features

How to Plant, Grow, and Care for Coreopsis Flowers

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The coreopsis flower (tickseed) is a long-blooming native that blooms from early summer until fall frost. Bees and butterflies love its nectar, it’s deer-resistant, and it’s an easy-to-grow perennial with few demands. Here’s how to plant this fan favorite—as well as deadhead coreopsis and other growing tips.

About Coreopsis (Tickseed)

The name “coreopsis” stems from the Greek koris, for “bedbug,” and opis, meaning “resembling,” because the seeds look like little bedbugs. The common name is tickseed, which comes from the seeds’ resemblance to ticks.

Coreopsis varieties produce daisylike yellow, red, orange, pink, and violet flowers that bloom from summer to fall. Even as other summer flowers are fading in the fall, coreopsis is often still going strong. Countless small blooms sit atop thin, branching stems, making coreopsis suitable for planting in a number of areas. Not only do bees and butterflies love its nectar, but also small birds such as goldfinches, love its seeds.

This low-maintenance 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.

It’s often planted as a perennial which spread with rhizomatous roots. There are annual types, too, that tend to be short-lived, and self-sow. The annual varieties are often included in wildflower seed mixes. And there are hybrids that put energy into making colorful blooms (but set few seeds).


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 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. 

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.

  • 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
  • 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. 

Coreopsis is deer-resistant. 
Diseases: asters yellow, Botrytis blight, fungal leaf spot, powdery mildew, Rhizoctonia root and stem rot, rust, Verticillium wilt
Pests: aphidsslugs and snails