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How to Plant, Grow, and Care for Coreopsis (Complete Guide)


Blooming yellow coreopsis flowers with a bee perching on a gardenBlooming yellow coreopsis flowers with a bee perching on a garden

Coreopsis plants, also known as “tickseed” for their resemblance to the bloodsucking arachnids, are a vibrant and low-maintenance addition to any garden.

These perennials are native to North and South America and are loved for their colorful blooms that attract pollinators like bees and butterflies.

One of the most popular varieties is the perennial coreopsis, which blooms from early summer to early fall. It’s a great choice for gardeners who want to boost their garden’s appeal to pollinators.

Coreopsis plants are known for their cheerful, daisy-like blooms that come in a variety of colors, including shades of yellow, pink, and red. They thrive in full sun, requiring at least 6 hours of direct sunlight each day.

These plants are also quite versatile, as they can tolerate poor soil conditions and are drought-tolerant once established. They are often found in the wild along roadsides, adding a touch of natural beauty to the landscape.

Perennial coreopsis plants grow from a clump of rhizomes, which are underground stems that store nutrients. They have a moderate growth rate and can spread easily, forming smaller sections of the plant over time.

Their foliage is also noteworthy, with delicate, fern-like leaves that add texture and interest to the garden.

As a master gardener, I’ll share everything you need to grow these plants. With proper care and attention, coreopsis plants can thrive for many years, providing a burst of color and life to the garden.

Selective focus of coreopsis grandiflora flowersSelective focus of coreopsis grandiflora flowers

Botanical Name: Coreopsis spp

Common Name: Coreopsis, tickseed, calliopsis

Family: Asteraceae

Plant Type: Perennial, biennial

Hardiness Zones: 2 – 11 (USDA)

Sun Exposure: Full

Soil Type: Sandy, well-drained

Soil pH: Neutral, acidic

Bloom Time: Summer, fall

Flower Color: Red, orange, yellow, pink, white

Native Area: North America, Central America, South America

Coreopsis Plant Care

Coreopsis plants are native to North and South America. These vibrant perennials are a good choice for your garden, attracting bees, butterflies, and other pollinators with their colorful blooms.

They prefer well-draining soil, so add perlite or peat moss to boost the drainage if you have clay or poor soil. Place them in an area that receives at least six hours of full sun, although some varieties can tolerate light shade.

Coreopsis are low-maintenance and drought-tolerant, but keep an eye out for aphids and powdery mildew. Deadheading, or removing the dead blooms, can promote continuous blooming and prevent self-sowing, as they can be quite prolific.

Coreopsis planted in a gardenCoreopsis planted in a garden

Plant them after the last frost in spring and expect their vibrant blooms to grace your garden from early summer to early fall.


Perennial coreopsis are sun-loving plants, requiring at least six hours of full sun daily to thrive. Whether they are the perennial coreopsis, which bloom from early summer to early fall, or the annual varieties that bloom continuously, they need an abundance of light.

These colorful blooms are at their best when basking in the full sun, which enhances their vibrant hues and ensures prolific blooms.

It is important to note that while a perennial coreopsis plant can tolerate some shade, it will result in fewer blooms and a leggy growth habit. So, planting them in a location with full sun exposure is ideal for the health and appearance of your coreopsis.


Coreopsis plants are quite adaptable and can thrive in a variety of soil conditions, including poor soil often found along roadsides. They prefer well-draining soil but can also grow in clay if the area has good soil drainage.

Blooming coreopsis planted in soilBlooming coreopsis planted in soil

Adding a little compost to the planting hole can boost the growth of coreopsis, especially in nutrient-poor soil. Some gardeners also mix in peat moss or perlite to improve drainage in heavy clay soil.

These lovely perennials can even self-sow in smaller sections of the garden with favorable soil conditions. Whether your garden soil is rich or poor, coreopsis is a good choice for a splash of colorful blooms.


Coreopsis plants thrive in well-draining soil and have a moderate growth rate. They prefer a consistent level of moisture but are quite drought-tolerant once established.

Overwatering can lead to poor soil drainage and the development of diseases like powdery mildew, so it’s important to let the top inch of soil dry out between waterings.

During particularly dry periods, giving them a good soak every 7-10 days should suffice. It’s always best to water at the base of the plant to keep the foliage dry and prevent the onset of any potential issues.

Temperature and Humidity

Coreopsis in full sunCoreopsis in full sun

Perennial coreopsis thrive in a wide range of temperatures, from the last frost of spring to the early fall. They are quite hardy, with many varieties being native to North America, where they can be found along roadsides and in fields.

Most coreopsis prefer full sun, at least 6 hours of direct sunlight a day, but they can also tolerate partial shade, especially in areas with scorching summer temperatures.

As for humidity, these plants are relatively low-maintenance and can tolerate dry conditions, thanks to their drought-tolerant nature. However, they may suffer from powdery mildew in very humid environments.


Perennial coreopsis, known for its colorful blooms, is a low-maintenance plant with moderate growth rate. It doesn’t demand heavy feeding, but a little boost can promote lush foliage and abundant blooms.

During early summer, after the last frost, a light application of a balanced fertilizer can be beneficial. Mixing in some compost during this time can also provide the necessary nutrients for the season.

However, it’s important not to over-fertilize as this can lead to excessive foliage at the expense of blooms.

Thriving flowers of coreopsis with red and yellow colorsThriving flowers of coreopsis with red and yellow colors


Pruning perennial coreopsis is a crucial aspect of their care. Deadheading, or the removal of dead blooms, not only keeps the plant looking tidy but also encourages more colorful blooms.

In early fall, you can cut back the entire clump to smaller sections, which will help boost next year’s growth. Be mindful to leave some stems and foliage at the base of the plant to allow for overwintering.

These plants also self-sow, so if you want to control their spread, deadheading is even more important.


Coreopsis flower covered in snow frostCoreopsis flower covered in snow frost

Perennial coreopsis can endure harsh winters. Before the last frost, trim the foliage back to allow the plant to concentrate its energy.

Add a layer of peat moss or compost to provide extra insulation. If you live in a particularly cold region, covering the area with a thick layer of mulch can be beneficial.

Ensure the area has good soil drainage to prevent waterlogging, which can be detrimental to the rhizomes. In spring, as the temperatures rise, you’ll see new growth emerging from the clump.

Types of Coreopsis

  • Coreopsis Grandiflora ‘Early Sunrise’: The Coreopsis Grandiflora ‘Early Sunrise’ is a perennial variety known for its early summer blooms. Its golden-yellow, semi-double flowers add a burst of color to any garden.

Selective focus on the golden-yellow flower of Coreopsis Grandiflora 'Early Sunrise'Selective focus on the golden-yellow flower of Coreopsis Grandiflora 'Early Sunrise'

  • Coreopsis Grandiflora ‘Golden Showers’: Another perennial variety, the Coreopsis Grandiflora ‘Golden Showers’ boasts bright yellow, semi-double blooms that last from early summer to early fall on longer-than-average stems.

Yellow flowers of Coreopsis Grandiflora 'Golden Showers'Yellow flowers of Coreopsis Grandiflora 'Golden Showers'

  • Coreopsis Verticillata ‘Moonbeam’: The Coreopsis Verticillata ‘Moonbeam’ is a delicate-looking yet tough perennial coreopsis. Its pale yellow, daisy-like blooms and fine, thread-like foliage add a unique texture to the garden.

Pale yellow flowers of Coreopsis Verticillata 'Moonbeam'Pale yellow flowers of Coreopsis Verticillata 'Moonbeam'

  • Coreopsis Rosea ‘Nana’: For those seeking a pop of pink in their garden, the Coreopsis Rosea ‘Nana’ is an excellent choice. This perennial variety features soft pink, semi-double blooms that appear in early summer.

Pink flower of Coreopsis Rosea 'Nana'Pink flower of Coreopsis Rosea 'Nana'

How to Plant Coreopsis From Seed

Step 1: Preparing the Soil

Coreopsis plants prefer well-draining soil. Start by checking the quality of your soil. If it’s heavy clay or poor, consider adding peat moss, perlite, or a little compost to boost its quality.

If you’re dealing with clay soil, adding organic matter can help improve its drainage and nutrient content.

Step 2: Sowing the Seeds

Sow the seeds of your perennial coreopsis plants in the early summer after the last frost. You can sow them directly in the ground or start them indoors and then transplant them.

If you’re sowing them directly, scatter the seeds over the soil and cover them lightly with a thin layer of soil.

Seeds of coreopsis flowersSeeds of coreopsis flowers

If you’re starting them indoors, sow the seeds in small pots or trays. Cover the pots with plastic wrap to create a greenhouse effect, which can help with germination.

Step 3: Caring for the Seedlings

Once the seeds have germinated, you’ll need to care for the seedlings. Keep the soil consistently moist but not waterlogged.

As the seedlings grow, you can thin them out to give each plant enough space to develop. You can also divide the clump into smaller sections and transplant them to other areas of your garden.

Step 4: Transplanting the Seedlings

When the seedlings have developed a few true leaves, they’re ready to be transplanted. Choose a location that receives at least 6 hours of full sun a day.

If you’re planting perennial coreopsis, make sure the location has good soil drainage. Dig a hole that’s slightly larger than the root ball of the seedling and place the seedling in the hole.

Cover the roots with soil and water well.

How to Propagate Coreopsis

Step 1: Choose the Right Time

Propagation of coreopsis plants is best done in early spring, just before the last frost, or in early fall.

This timing allows the plants to establish themselves before the rigors of summer or winter.

Butterfly perching on yellow coreopsis flowersButterfly perching on yellow coreopsis flowers

Step 2: Prepare the Soil

Coreopsis plants prefer well-draining soil and can tolerate poor soil conditions, but a boost of nutrients will encourage vigorous growth and abundant blooms.

Mix some peat moss and perlite into the soil to improve drainage and add a little compost for nutrients.

Step 3: Divide the Clumps

Perennial coreopsis plants spread through their rhizomes, forming dense clumps over time.

To propagate, carefully dig up the clump and separate it into smaller sections, each with a few stems and healthy roots.

Step 4: Plant the Divisions

Plant the divisions in the prepared soil, making sure the roots are well-covered but the stems and leafy growth are above the soil line.

Water the divisions thoroughly and continue to keep the soil moist until they show signs of new growth.

Planting coreopsis in soilPlanting coreopsis in soil

How to Pot or Repot Coreopsis

Step 1: Choosing the Right Pot and Soil

When it comes to potting or repotting your Coreopsis plants, the first step is to choose the right pot and soil.

Coreopsis plants prefer well-draining soil, so a mix of regular garden soil with added perlite and peat moss is a good choice.

The pot should have good soil drainage to prevent waterlogging, which can lead to root rot. Coreopsis can tolerate poor soil, including clay, but good drainage is crucial.

Step 2: Preparing the Plant

Before potting your Coreopsis, it’s essential to prepare the plant. If you’re dealing with a perennial Coreopsis, this is best done in early spring after the last frost.

Start by gently removing the plant from its current pot or the ground, being careful not to damage the roots. Perennial Coreopsis plants often spread via rhizomes, so you might need to divide the plant into smaller sections to pot separately.

For annual varieties, you can start the germination process indoors about six to eight weeks before the last frost.

Step 3: Potting

Top view of coreopsis with blooming yellow flowers on a green potTop view of coreopsis with blooming yellow flowers on a green pot

Once your soil and pot are ready, it’s time to pot your Coreopsis. Place the plant in the pot, ensuring the top of the root ball is level with the soil surface.

Fill in around the plant with your soil mix, pressing lightly to remove air pockets. Water thoroughly, and place the pot in a location that receives at least six hours of full sun per day.

If you’re dealing with a perennial Coreopsis, it’s also a good idea to deadhead any dead blooms at this point to boost new growth.

Common Pests and Plant Diseases for Coreopsis


Aphids on a plantAphids on a plant

Aphids are small, soft-bodied insects that can infest both perennial and annual varieties of coreopsis. They feed on the sap of the plant, usually congregating on the stems and undersides of leaves.

Their presence can lead to distorted growth and the development of a sticky substance called honeydew. While aphids are not usually fatal to the plant, a severe infestation can weaken the coreopsis and make it more susceptible to other diseases.

Powdery Mildew

Leaf with powdery mildewLeaf with powdery mildew

Powdery mildew is a common fungal disease that can affect coreopsis, especially in conditions of high humidity and poor air circulation.

The disease presents as a white, powdery coating on the leaves and stems of the plant, often leading to leaf drop and a decline in overall health.

Good soil drainage and proper spacing of plants can help prevent powdery mildew. If the disease does occur, affected plant parts should be pruned and disposed of to prevent its spread.

Common Plant Problems and Solutions for Coreopsis

Brown Tips on Leaves

Brown tips on the foliage of your perennial coreopsis are often a sign of poor soil drainage. These plants prefer well-draining soil, so if you have heavy clay, consider adding perlite or peat moss to boost drainage.

Yellowing Leaves

Yellowing leaves can be a sign of a few different issues, including overwatering or nutrient deficiencies. If your coreopsis is planted in a location with poor soil, a little compost can work wonders to improve its health.

Faded Blooms

Faded blooms of coreopsisFaded blooms of coreopsis

If the colorful blooms of your coreopsis are fading, it’s likely time for deadheading. This process involves removing the dead blooms, which can encourage the plant to produce more flowers.


Other Guides from Planet Natural:

How to Plant, Grow and Care for Cordyline Plant

How to Plant, Grow, and Care for Cenizo

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