Plains Coreopsis Grow and Care Guide

Plains Coreopsis plant flower 1Plains Coreopsis is a Native Wildflower that blooms most of the summer, generally beginning in June for USDA zones 6.  This flower is tall and skinny, and may require staking if not supported by other companion plants or grasses.  I love seeing the small yellow discs with red centers that seem to float above the garden.  Since the leaves and stalks are so slender, it almost appears that the flowers hover above the garden.  In a mass planting, or liberally distributed around the garden this plant can make an impressive sight.

Facts about Plains Coreopsis

  • Plains Coreopsis is an native Annual flower, meaning it generally will not return the following Spring
  • This plant self-seeds quite well, bringing more flowers the following year
  • Plains Coreopsis is a long-blooming flower, as it is an annual. You can expect several months of color until Fall/Winter.
  • The tall-slender nature of the plant means it may require support, and is susceptible to being knocked over in heavy storms/wind. Or even just from being too top heavy.
  • Native Americans used Plains Coreopsis medicinally and for colored dyes
  • It generally reaches 3-4’ height in full sun, moist sites
  • The common name of tickseed is in reference to the shape and appearance of the seed. Don’t worry – this plant doesn’t attract ticks!
  • This plant shouldn’t require supplemental watering after establishment

Plains Coreopsis Bloom 2General Description

Plains Coreopsis is a tall annual flower that will self-seed the following year.  The stalk is quite small relative to its height, making it top heavy when in full bloom.  You can expect it to bloom all summer, as it is an annual flower (although sometimes a plant will return for a second year, but don’t count on it).  And annual flowers generally only have a single year to reproduce, so they bloom as much as possible.  This is opposed to perennials, which generally bloom for just 2-4 weeks during the year (an exception being False Sunflower, Heliopsis helianthoides).

The leaves on this plant are deeply lobed, and very skinny.  The blooms on Plains Coreopsis are approximately 1” diameter, and will have an individual stem emanating from a single stalk.  Most of the blooms are at the top of the plant, but depending on conditions and available sunlight some blooms may occur lower on the plant.

plains coreopsis leaves
Leaves of Plains Coreopsis

Plains Coreopsis Scientific Name

The scientific name of Plains Coreopsis is Coreopsis Tinctoria

Growing Conditions

This is a prairie plant, and does best in full sun with medium to moist soil.  The soil should be well draining for the health of the plant.  I find it best to plant this flower amongst other, sturdier plants that can provide support to prevent it from tipping over too much.  This plant can grow in partial shade (as I have some that are almost hidden behind my Swamp Milkweed), but the plant will be smaller with fewer blooms.Plains Coreopsis plant flower

Garden Uses for Plains Coreopsis

This flower is best in mass plantings, wildflower gardens, and borders.  As I stated above, this plant may require vertical support so that it doesn’t tip over on its side.  But Plains Coreopsis is really beautiful and interesting in groupings when they are standing uprights, as the discs appear to be floating above the foliage.  This is because the main stalk is very narrow and green, which kind of hides it, or lets it blend in with other plants.  While the daisy-like flowers really pop with color, as the yellow outer ring really contrasts with the red inner ring.Plains Coreopsis Bloom 1

I use this flower liberally in our backyard prairie, as it is a disease free plant (because it is native), is pretty, and can punch through clay soil like a champ!

==>See how to make your own micro-prairie by clicking on the image below!

Micro Prairie

Growing Plains Coreopsis from Seed

This plant is incredibly easy to grow from seed.  Just sprinkle seed on top of the soil, and press in. I find that it needs sunlight to break dormancy/germinate. You can do this in the fall or spring, as no stratification is required.  The most incredible thing about this plant is its time to germination.  I find that the seed germinates in as little as 5 days.  It really is one of the fastest flowers to sprout that I have grown.

Direct sowing is a good option with this plant, as more seedlings reduces the chances of rabbits eating the young seedlings.  But just starting a few of these from six-packs works well too, as you can plant out in the garden once they reach a couple inches in height.

Saving/Harvesting Plains Coreopsis Seeds

Head over to this article to learn how to save seeds from this wonderful flower!  Simple guide on all you need to know to save and store your seeds to propagate more plants for free! Click below to read how;

How to Save Coreopsis Seeds – An Illustrated Guide

Fauna Associations

The flowers of Plains Coreopsis provide nectar to multiple species of bees, butterflies and skipper-moths.  The leaves are consumed by two butterflies, the Wavy-lined Emerald and the Dimorphic Gray moth.

Birds and rodents will consumed seed from Plains Coreopsis.  I’ve found rabbits will eat this plant, so be aware of that fact.  Because of rabbits, I don’t recommend single specimens.  Better to have many plants to ensure survival of the species to blooming.  Alternatively, you can protect them with Liquid Fence.

Disease Problems

I have grown this plant for years, and have never noticed any disease or fungal issues.

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How to Grow Plains Coreopsis

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