oreopsis are among the most useful native perennials in
our area. They are very heat and drought tolerant and
require little fussing to produce lavish amounts of color in
C. lanceolata tends to be rather tall (about 3
feet) and sprawls as it reaches its peak flowering. This is
especially obvious after wind or rain and is aggravated by
an abundance of water and fertilizer. The foliage is long
and slender, and the 2-inch yellow daisy-like flowers
appear on long slender stems from mid-spring until really
hot weather in July.
Click on picture to see larger image
an attractive native
The good news about
Coreopsis is the
introduction of cultivars
such as 'Baby Sun' and
'Sunray', both of which are
more compact and less
sprawling in character. 'Sunray' is
a semi-double golden orange, and 'Baby Sun' is more
yellow. Both stay in the 18-inch height range and have all
the good characteristics of the species.
'Gold Fink' is a
very compact selection that makes dense tufts of foliage,
and can be used as a ground cover in small areas. It is not,
however, as well adapted to the Gulf Coast as the other
two cultivars, and is often short-lived, melting during the
heat of midsummer. Better success can be expected in
Central, West, and Northern parts of Texas.
Coreopsis clumps should be divided every 1 to 2 years,
and they will usually bloom from seed the first year.
Seedlings will appear in large numbers around established
plants, but to maintain the dwarf character of the new
cultivars, it is necessary to divide existing clumps or
purchase fresh seed. Mature clumps will sometimes form
plantlets called "proliferation" on the tips of floral stems.
These may be removed and quickly rooted in moist
potting soil. "Proliferations" will have the same form and
size as the parent plant.
As Coreopsis finish their bloom cycle, the seed heads are
unsightly. It is best to cut these as close to the foliage as
possible to prevent an untidy mass of stubble. Removing
spent blossoms and stems often stimulates another cycle of
The last few years have seen the introduction of C.
verticillata into the nursery trade. This is a very finetextured
foliage form known sometimes as Threadleaf
Coreopsis. At least three cultivars are available. 'Golden
Shower' has bright yellow flowers that tend to bloom all
summer and into the fall on 2- to 3-foot mounds of airy
foliage. 'Zagreb' is the most dwarf form, with a height of
about 18 inches and gold flowers. 'Moonbeam' is just
slightly larger but with lovely creamy yellow flowers.
C. verticillata cultivars tend to form running thickets of
fine stems that may be divided in fall or early spring. All
Coreopsis prefer sunny locations and well-drained soil.
They like sandy soils and perform well with little or no
In addition to use as masses and in border
plantings, I have enjoyed C. verticillata, 'Moonbeam', in a
large container combined with gray-foliaged Dianthus,
which spills over the edge of the pot. C. verticillata and its
cultivars are, however, not as well adapted to coastal areas
of Texas as C. lanceolata and its kin.