How to Save Coreopsis Seeds – An Illustrated Guide

Coreopsis is one of the easiest flowers to save the seeds from.  It is a just a matter of getting the seed heads before the birds pick them clean!  There is really only a few steps needed to save Coreopsis seeds, and I will show you the process with pictures below.  Although just about all Coreopsis are great at self-seeding, saving seed from Coreopsis is a particularly smart thing to do.  It is the cheapest way to get more plants for free, without having to transplant young seedlings to new areas.

General Physical Description

For my guide I’m showing you Lanceleaf Coreopsis (Coreopsis lanceolata) and Plains Coreopsis (Coreopsis Tinctoria).  Just about all Coreopsis flowers make a capsule / packet type seed head.

Lanceleaf Coreopsis is a flower that is a native perennial (although short lived) that blooms in early spring, and with deadheading will keep blooming throughout the summer.  Lanceleaf Coreopsis is a medium sized flower that grows 1-3′ tall with a shorter spread of just 6 inches to 1 foot (15 cm – 30 cm).  It can flop over if not supported through staking.

Large Flowered Tickseed is another Coreopsis species that this method will work on.  They look similar to Lanceleaf Coreopsis but bloom a bit later.  These are commonly sold in nurseries.

Plains Coreopsis is an annual flower native to North America.  It grows 1.5-3 feet tall and can be spaced as little as 6″ apart.  It really looks great in a mass planting, but may flop over without some nearby support.  It’s typical home is on the prairie, which makes sense given its shape and structure.

Guide to saving Coreposis Seeds (with pictures)

1 – Locate some Coreopsis Plants

Lanceleaf Coreopsis flowers bloom
Plains Coreopsis plant flower 1

Ideally you will have identified these when they were blooming, and know where to find them.  Or, if a neighbor or friend has some specimens you can ask to have some seeds or offer to dead-head their flowers.

2 – Find some ‘spent’ blooms, or seed heads that have formed.

Coreopsis Seed Head
Coreopsis tinctoria seed packets plains coreopsis

Seed heads will form right where the flower was.  Wait until the seed head has dried out before harvesting.  Or, if they have not fully dried you can clip the stem several inches below the seed head. Then just hang the stalk upside down in a cool dry place until dry.  This will allow the seeds to fully form.

3 – Open the seed heads and separate the seed

Gently crush the seed heads between your fingers.  The seed head will break apart and seed will fall out.  You can seperate the seeds from the chaff at this time, or not.  Having some chaff mixed in with the seed won’t matter.  Just make sure you have seed in the head.  Birds like to eat the seeds of Coreopsis flowers, and you will often find seed heads that have no seed inside.

save coreopsis seeds
Just crush the packets and the seed will fall right out. This is Plains Coreopsis,
Coreopsis Seeds
My finger is pointing to the Lanceleaf Coreopsis Seeds. This seed head only produced about 6 six seeds… I guess the birds beat me to it.
I simply crushed one of the many brown, dry seedheads. The seeds are small ‘flake-like’ seeds with a dark center.

4 – Store the seeds

Coreopsis seeds can generally be stored for at least a year in a sealed plastic container or zip-lock bag if they are fully dry.  So I always let mine dry out for about a week in a cool dry place.  After which, I label and store my seeds out of direct sunlight until I want to grow some seed the following Spring.

Well, that is it!  I made a video a while back on what you need to do to save seed from Plains Coreopsis.  And the process is same for Lanceleaf.  So, now you can see in video just how easy it is to save some seed from these wonderful flowers.

For Some Additional Information……

If you would like to learn some more about Coreopsis flowers, I will give you links to our Native Plant Profiles for both Plains Coreopsis and Lanceleaf Coreopsis.  They are very versatile flowers and make a great addition to any garden given the right setting.  And, they are also visited heavily by our native bees and butterflys!

If you liked this article, head on over and check out some of our other Native Plant articles, or if you are interested in other ways to save seed – check out our massive comprehensive guide to saving and storing flower seed!  Click Below!

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Joe Foster

Hi - I grew up outdoors in nature - hiking, fishing, hunting. In high school I got my first job at a garden center where I learned to garden and landscape. I've been growing plants from seed and designing native plant gardens for over 10 years. I hope to share some of my knowledge with you! You may have seen some of my videos I create on our YouTube channel, GrowitBuildit (more than 10 million views!). You can find my channel here: Additionally I am a wood worker / DIY enthusiast. I enjoy designing/building projects (with hand tools when I can!). I hope to give you some tips and useful information!

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