Rose & Flower Gardening
How to Grow Coreopsis
Cheerful? Simple to grow? Deer-resistant? Check, check, check!
Coreopsis boast yellow, orange, red, and multi-colored blooms that really brighten up any sunny garden or landscape bed—which is no surprise, as these perennial flowers are in the daisy family. They’re so pretty and easy to grow that they’ve become favorites for everyone from serious gardeners to homeowners who just want to plant something nice out front. When you go plant shopping you’ll almost always find coreopsis for sale! Bonus: Coreopsis are resistant to both deer and rabbits, plus the seeds they produce are a good food source for birds.
How to Choose Coreopsis
When shopping for coreopsis, you’re likely to run into a few different species, and possibly several choices within each species. While all coreopsis have the same basic care requirements, each variety is just different enough that it helps to know a bit about the most popular types before buying so that you choose the right one.
- Lanceleaf coreopsis & large-flowered coreopsis: These are the types of coreopsis that you’re most likely to find in stores. They have orange-yellow or yellow flowers, sometimes with red centers. Relatively short-lived for perennials—count on enjoying them for 3 years or so in the garden—these don’t spread the way some other types of coreopsis do.
- Threadleaf coreopsis: This spreading perennial has short (about the length of a thumbnail), narrow, thread-like, light green leaves, with flowers that are smaller and more numerous than those on the lanceleaf and large-flowered coreopsis. ‘Moonbeam’ is one of the most popular varieties of threadleaf coreopsis.
Where to Plant Coreopsis
Regardless of the type you’re growing, coreopsis need full sun, so plant them where they will receive at least 6 to 8 hours of sunlight per day. Coreopsis grows best in well drained, moderately moist soils. These are not good plants for a poorly drained, low spot in the yard.
When to Plant Coreopsis
Plant coreopsis in the late spring, after the last frost has passed. If you’ve purchased it online or from a catalog, wait until there’s no threat of frost before planting.
How to Prepare the Soil for Planting Coreopsis
Coreopsis grow best in slightly moist, well-drained soil. Get your plants off to their best start by preparing new planting areas with Miracle-Gro® Garden Soil for Flowers—all you have to do is mix 3 inches of garden soil into the top 6 inches of native soil. This product is ideal for coreopsis, as it contains Moisture Control® technology to help protect against over- and under-watering. Another option for soil prep is to amend individual planting holes by blending Miracle-Gro® soil with existing soil in a 50:50 ratio.
How to Plant Coreopsis
1. For each coreopsis, dig a hole that’s the same depth as the root ball and just a bit wider.
2. To give your plant a strong start, drop a Miracle-Gro® Quick Start® Planting Tablet into the hole and cover it lightly with soil.
3. Place the plant inside so that the top of the root ball is at or just slightly above the soil level. (Check the plant tag to see how far apart to space the plants.)
4. Water thoroughly after planting.
5. To help keep soil moist and block sunlight to prevent weeds from growing, lay 3 inches of mulch around the plants, taking care not to let the mulch touch the stems.
What to Plant with Coreopsis
Create a prairie garden look by planting coreopsis with purple coneflower, garden phlox, Joe-pye weed, and daisies. Prefer a cottage garden? Combine coreopsis with bee balm, salvia, and yarrow. Threadleaf coreopsis also makes an attractive border in front of shrubs along landscape beds. Feel free to experiment—all types of coreopsis play well with other sun-loving perennials.
How to Water Coreopsis
Water thoroughly at the time of planting, then plan to keep the soil about as moist as a wrung-out sponge (either from rain or watering). Remember, coreopsis does not like to be in standing water.
How to Feed Coreopsis
In addition to the great soil mentioned above, the recipe for loads of bright, colorful coreopsis blooms includes another key ingredient: just the right plant food. Give your coreopsis all the nutrition they need by feeding them with Miracle-Gro® Shake 'n Feed® Rose & Bloom Plant Food a month after planting. Not only will this fertilizer keep your plants well fed for up to 3 months, but it also contains ingredients like kelp, earthworm castings, feature meal, and bone meal that do the crucial job of feeding the microbes in the soil. Simply shake it evenly onto the soil, work it into the top layer, and water it in. Be sure to read the label to see how much to apply and when to do follow-up feedings.
How to Deadhead Coreopsis
The easiest way to remove dead flowerheads is to simply cut the plants back by half after they finish their first big bloom. About a month or so after you do this, most coreopsis will flower a second time. Or, if you prefer, you can individually deadhead lanceleaf and large-flowered types by cutting the flower stalks back to the topmost leaf. This will also likely bring on a second bloom, but it takes a lot of time.
After their final summer bloom, leave coreopsis plants alone so they can set seed that birds can feed on during the winter. (Do this and you’ll probably see new coreopsis popping up here and there in the spring, too.) In early spring, cut the plants back to about 2 to 3 inches above the ground and wait for new leaves to emerge.
How to Grow Coreopsis: Recap
- Choose coreopsis varieties that will grow well in the space you have.
- Create a wonderful environment for plant roots your garden bed by adding Miracle-Gro® Garden Soil for Flowers to the native soil.
- Plant coreopsis in full sun in late spring.
- Water plants thoroughly at the time of planting and throughout the season as needed.
- Feed plants with Miracle-Gro® Shake 'n Feed® Rose & Bloom Plant Food for big blooms and tons of color.
- Deadhead to encourage repeat blooming.