FAMILY: Asteraceae

  • Annuals
  • Perennials
  • Full Sun
  • Varies by Species
  • US (Upper South) / Zone 6
  • MS (Middle South) / Zone 7
  • LS (Lower South) / Zone 8
  • CS (Coastal South) / Zone 9

Plant Details

Easily grown members of sun- ower family, yielding a profusion of yellow, orange, maroon, or reddish owers over a long bloom season. Easy to propagate annuals from seed sown in place or in pots, perennials from seed or division of root crown. Tend to self-sow; seeds attract birds. Not browsed by deer.

C. auriculata 'Nana'. DWARF-EARED COREOPSIS. Perennial. Selection of a species native to the southeastern U.S. Forms a 5- to 6-in.-high mat of medium green, 2- to 5-in.-long leaves; under ideal conditions, spreads by stolons to form a 2-ft.-wide clump in a year. Bright orange-yellow, 1- to 2-in.-wide flowers rise well above the foliage; bloom is heaviest in spring, but flowers keep on coming over a long season if you deadhead regularly. Best used in front of taller plants, in borders, or as edging. Moderate water. C. a. 'Zamphir' is similar but grows 1-1 ft. high and wide, with golden yellow, fluted petals.

C. grandiflora. BIGFLOWER COREOPSIS. Perennial. From the central and southeastern U.S. Narrow, dark green leaves with three to five lobes form a foliage clump 12 ft. high, spreading to 3 ft. wide. Bright yellow, 2- to 3-in.-wide flowers bloom all summer on long, slender stems high above foliage. 'Sunburst' has large semidouble flowers; it blooms the first year from seed sown early in spring, then spreads by self-sowing. 'Early Sunrise' is similar but may begin blooming in late spring. 'Flying Saucers' is a nearly sterile selection with flat, single, 2-in. yellow flowers over a long period; 'Sunray' is a dense, compact selection with double and semidouble flowers. 'Corey Yellow' has golden yellow flowers with dark red center, and 'Santa Fe Yellow' is semidouble with golden yellow flowers.

All are tough enough for roadside planting. Moderate water.

C. hybrids. A beguiling array of hybrid coreopsis have stormed nurseries and garden centers. They offer a wide range of flower colors and varied habits. Perennial types bloom from late spring through summer and into fall, and can also be treated as annuals. Most grow about 1122 ft. tall and 212 ft. wide, and look best with moderate water. 'Autumn Blush' bears butter-yellow flowers with red centers. As the weather cools, the flowers blush reddish pink. 'Crme Brlee' bears abundant, deep yellow blooms on compact plants with good mildew resistance. 'Jethro Tull' grows 18 in. tall and bears golden-yellow flowers with unusual, tubular rays. 'Limerock Ruby' has ruby-red flowers to 1 in. wide. 'Limerock Passion' is similar, but with yellow-centered, lavender-pink flowers. 'Sienna Sunset' has rich salmon-orange blooms and excellent disease resistance. 'Tequila Sunrise' is compact, to 112 ft. high and 1 ft. wide. Narrow, olive-green leaves are irregularly variegated with cream and yellow, with touches of pinkish red in spring and deeper red in fall. Golden yellow flowers with deep orange-red centers. Members of the Hardy Jewel series are compact perennials, including 'Citrine', bright yellow; 'Ruby Frost', deep red with white edges; 'Garnet', garnet red; and 'Pink Sapphire', bright purplish pink.

Hybrid annual coreopsis include compact 'Little Penny', which grows less than a foot tall and twice as wide and has small copper-red blooms; the mounding (under a foot high) Punch series in bright shades of red, yellow, orange, and red-and-white bicolors; and the Lemonade series, with feathery golden foliage and red, pink, or rose flowers. Many are perennials in mild-winter areas. Most perform best in the optimum conditions of a container garden. Regular water.

C. lanceolata. LANCE COREOPSIS. Perennial from the central and southern U.S. To 12 ft. high, 11 ft. wide. Narrow, somewhat hairy, medium green leaves, mostly in a tuft near plant's base; some leaves on lower stem have a few lobes. Yellow, 1- to 2-in. flowers on pale green stems bloom from spring to summer, make excellent cut flowers. When well established, plant persists year after year. Moderate water.

C. rosea. ROSE COREOPSIS. Perennial. Zones US, MS, LS; USDA 6-8. Native from Nova Scotia to Delaware. Fine-textured plant with bright green foliage; grows 12 ft. tall, 1 ft. wide, with 1-in.-wide, yellow-centered pink flowers from summer to fall. 'Heaven's Gate' has fine leaf texture with burgundy flowers. Flower fades in high light to a white flower with a burgundy center. 'Sweet Dreams' has threadlike leaves and masses of big white flowers with a raspberry-colored ring surrounding a golden eye. Shorter lived than other species. Prefers moist soil.

C. tinctoria. CALLIOPSIS, ANNUAL COREOPSIS. Annual. Zones US, MS, LS, CS, TS; USDA 6-11. Native to much of North America. Slender, upright, wiry-stemmed plant 13 ft. tall, 11 ft. wide; much like cosmos in growth habit. Smooth, medium to dark green leaves and smooth stems. Flowers to 1 in. wide, with purple-brown centers; rays are yellow, maroon, bronze, or reddish rays, banded with contrasting colors. Dwarf and double types are also available. Blooms in spring and summer, except where hot, humid weather shortens the show. Sow seed in place in dryish soil and full sun. Little to moderate water.

C. tripteris. TALL COREOPSIS. Perennial. Native to prairies, open woods, and roadsides from Ontario south to Georgia, Mississippi, and Louisiana. To 57 ft. tall, 4 ft. wide. Shiny, dark green, three-leafleted leaves. Blooms from midsummer into fall, carrying many 2-in., brown-eyed, butter-yellow flowers on branching stems. Both foliage and flowers are anise scented. Use at the back of a border or in a wildflower or butterfly garden. Prefers moist soil and some shade. 'Lightning Flash' blooms heavier and longer with age; single yellow flower atop yellow foliage.

C. verticillata. THREADLEAF COREOPSIS. Perennial. Native from Maryland to Florida, west to Arkansas. To 212 3 ft. tall, half as broad; many erect or slightly leaning stems carry many whorls of medium green, finely divided, very narrow leaves. At stem tips are 2-in., bright yellow daisies, freely borne over a long summer and autumn season. One of the most tolerant of drought and neglect. 'Fool's Gold' has variegated foliage with single yellow flower, while 'Golden Gain' has bright yellow flowers on dense clumps of dark green foliage. 'Moonbeam', to 12 ft. tall, has pale yellow blooms; 'Zagreb', to 1 ft., bears golden yellow flowers. Divide in fall or spring every third year to maintain vigor. Little to moderate water.

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