Coreopsis are bright and cheerful summer-flowering annuals and herbaceous perennials that bear daisy-like blooms. Also known as tickseed, coreopsis originate from North and Central America and are easily grown and reliable garden plants.
Coreopsis can be annual (completing their lifecycle in one year) or perennial (lasting for several years). Perennial coreopsis mostly bear yellow flowers with some pink-flowered and bicoloured varieties too. Annual varieties offer a wider flower colour range including orange, pink and red as well as yellow. The pretty and colourful coreopsis daisies are borne in profusion and are predominantly single, with some doubles.
Both annual and perennial coreopsis are straightforward to grow from seed and perennial varieties can produce blooms in their first year if sown early. Taller varieties of coreopsis that bear blooms on upright stems make good cut flowers.
Coreopsis is an excellent plant to attract wildlife. Bees, butterflies, and other pollinators visit the flowers and birds eat the seeds.
How to grow coreopsis
Perennial coreopsis are tough and reliable plants for creating summer colour. They are herbaceous perennials, dying back in winter and regrowing the following spring to give colour year after year.
Plant perennial coreopsis in autumn or spring so they can establish before the main growing season, although plants can also be planted in summer as long as they’re watered until established. Space plants 40-50 cm apart depending on variety size.
Sow annual coreopsis outside where they are to bloom, or under cover in pots to plant out in late spring. Tender coreopsis for borders and containers should be planted out after the last frosts. Again, site them in sun or light shade, and well drained soil.
Coreopsis grows well on any fertile soil, but it must be well drained. For growing in pots, use peat-free multi-purpose potting compost.
Growing coreopsis: jump links
- Planting coreopsis
- Caring for coreopsis
- Propagating coreopsis
- Growing coreopsis: pests and problem-solving
- Where to buy coreopsis
- Best coreopsis to grow
Where to grow coreopsis
Coreopsis grows best in full sun or light shade. Perennial coreopsis grows well in borders mixed with other herbaceous plants, shrubs, and ornamental grasses.
Annual coreopsis creates sparkling summer colour in large pots and borders. Taller varieties are best grown in the ground while shorter, bushy varieties are ideal for large pots as well as borders, Tall coreopsis are lovely mixed with other annual flowers to create brightly coloured mixed plantings and add jewel-like sparkle to an informal summer-flowering meadow.
How to care for coreopsis
Perennial varieties need little care once established. Taller varieties may need staking or support, especially in windy sites. The dead growth should be cut back to the ground before new leaves appear in spring.
Annual coreopsis growing in borders or meadow mixes may need protection from slugs while plants are small. Watering may be needed during long dry spells, especially when plants are young.
Coreopsis growing in pots for summer display should be watered regularly to keep the compost evenly moist. From late summer, feed every 2 weeks with a liquid fertilizer high in potash (such as tomato fertilizer).
Coreopsis growing in pots benefit from regular deadheading to keep plants looking good and to encourage more blooms to be produced. Perennials in borders can also be deadheaded, although leaving the heads on provides food for seed-eating birds like finches.
How to propagate coreopsis
Annual coreopsis can be sown in the ground where they are to bloom. Seed can also be sown in pots or trays under cover from late winter to spring. Sow seed into moist soil and cover thinly with no more than 0.5 cm of soil. Thin seedlings to 15 cm apart.
To grow perennial coreopsis from seed, sow under cover in late winter. Grow on in pots to plant in the ground in early summer.
Perennial coreopsis that are at least several years old and have formed good-sized clumps can be lifted, divided, and replanted in early spring.
Basal shoots of perennial coreopsis can be carefully detached with a small portion of root, in spring. Pot individually into small pots and grow on to plant later in the year.
Growing coreopsis: problem solving
Coreopsis are easy and reliable plants that rarely suffer from problems. Avoid over-feeding plants in borders, which boosts leafy growth at the expense of flowers. Slugs and snails may attack young plants, particularly seedlings.
Advice on buying coreopsis
- Choose from a variety of options, making sure you buy the best fit for your garden
- Bear in mind that specialist nurseries may have more choice, but large online retailers may offer reduced prices
- Buy only the healthiest plants – check the plant over for signs of pests and damage before planting
Where to buy coreopsis online
Coreopsis varieties to grow
- Coreopsis rosea (pink tickseed) forms delicate clumps of slender, almost grass-like foliage and bears masses of clear rose-pink flowers in late summer. Perennial. 60 cm
- Coreopsis tripteris ‘Uptick’ series includes ‘Cream and Red’ as well as yellow and bronze varieties. Perennial
- Coreopsis verticillata has a compact habit and flowers from early to late summer. Some varieties have the bonus of attractive, feathery, fern-like foliage too ‘Bengal Tiger’ bears dramatic, bicoloured flowers in red and yellow, named for being reminiscent of tiger eyes. ‘Grandiflora’ bears bright yellow flowers and is the latest variety to bloom. ‘Moonbeam’ bears soft yellow flowers with a darker centre, from June to September. ‘Zagreb’ bears large, star-shaped, bright yellow flowers on upright, wiry stems, in contrast with dark green filigree leaves. Perennial. Height 50-60 cm.
- Coreopsis ‘Early Sunrise’ is usually grown as an annual although can be perennial. Large, rich yellow, semi double flowers are borne from late spring into summer. Annual. Height 60 cm
- Coreopsis ‘Mango Punch’ produces masses of orange-yellow blooms on bushy plants. Annual. Height 40 cm
- Coreopsis ‘Pink Lady’ produces a profusion of bright pink blooms. Annual. Height 40 cm
- Coreopsis ‘Rum Punch’ bears masses of orange-pink blooms on a bushy, compact plant. Annual. 30 cm high.