Coreopsis 'Jive' and 'Salsa'
Mauve colored Veronica 'Eveline' and Penstemon 'Dark Towers', with its deep maroon stems and light pink flowers looked pretty together in my front garden for quite a number of weeks, but as the summer slipped quietly from July into August, they both were starting to look a bit weary.
Hoping for a fresh flush of flowers in early fall, I ruthlessly pruned them back. Cutting any perennial back hard is always a case of short term pain for long term gain. Often a plant looks like hell before it bounces back.
To disguise the mess I created, I bought a big pot of annual Coreopsis 'Jive' and placed it right into the flower border.
I have always been a fan of Threadleaf Coreopsis. I have perennial Coreopsis verticillata 'Moonbeam' in the front and back gardens.
Coreopsis verticillata 'Moonbeam' : has soft, ferny foliage and buttery-yellow flowers in late July/August. Deadheading encourages new flowers and an extended bloom time. This is an easy care plant that tolerates a range of soil types and growing conditions. Full sun. Height: 30-45 cm, Spread: 30-45 cm. Note: Moonbeam is essentially sterile and must be propagated by division or cuttings. USDA Zones 4-9.
'Zagreb' is another popular cultivar with flowers that are a deeper, more golden-yellow.
Coreopsis verticillata 'Zagreb': has the same ferny foliage and golden-yellow flowers in late July/August. Full sun. Height: 20-30 cm, Spread: 30-45 cm. USDA Zones 4-9.
Coreopsis verticillata 'Golden Gain': offers the same golden yellow flower as 'Zagreb' on a plant that is a little taller than 'Moonbeam'. Again full sun. Height: 60-75 cm, Spread: 45-60 cm. USDA Zones 4-9.
This pink cultivar is sometimes sold as a perennial here, but it has never been hardy in my Zone 6b garden.
Coreopsis rosea 'American Dream': has the same threadleaf foliage as 'Moonbeam', but with pink flowers in late July/August. Full sun. Height: 30-45 cm, Spread: 45-50 cm. Coreopsis rosea 'American Dream' prefers average to moist soil. USDA Zones 4-9.
Coreopsis 'Route 66' is also a perennial that has to be treated like an annual here (hardy only to Zone 5).
Coreopsis 'Route 66': has starry yellow flowers splattered more or less with maroon. (Each flower is a little different than the next.) This species is native to the Eastern USA and tolerates heat and humidity well. It prefers dry growing conditions and is happiest in sandy, poor or rocky soil that offers good drainage. Full sun. Height: 50-60 cm, Spread: 45-60 cm. USDA Zones 5-9.
Coreopsis 'Red Satin' is final example of a perennial that must be treated like as annual here in southern Ontario (hardy only to Zone 5).
Coreopsis 'Red Satin': has maroon flowers summer to fall. It is native to the Eastern USA where it grows in hot, dry conditions. Like 'Route 66', it is quite happy in poor, sandy soil and is drought tolerant once established. Full sun. Height: 45-60 cm, Spread: 35-45 cm. USDA Zones 5-9.
In recent years, Coreopsis tinctoria and Coreopsis rosea have been hybridized to produce many new annual varieties.
Coreopsis 'Jive' is part of the new Coloropsis series. Full sun. Height: 30-45 cm, Spread: 30-45 cm.
Coreopsis 'Salsa': is part of the same series as 'Jive' and is compact, upright annual with yellow flowers that have a reddish-brown centre. Full sun. Height: 30-45 cm, Spread: 30-45 cm.
One drawback is that many of these new annuals are sterile and must be grown from cuttings. Sadly there is no possibility of collecting seed each fall.
A nice companion plant for any Threadleaf Coreopsis might be Calamintha, which is also quite delicate in appearance.
Dwarf Calamint, Calamintha nepeta ssp. nepta: has arching spays of pale mauve-blue flowers. The foliage of this plant has a slight minty fragrance. Full sun or light shade. It tolerates average, dry and moist growing conditions and is suitable for normal, sandy or clay soils. Bees love it! Height: 20-30 cm, Spread 30-45 cm Hardy USDA Zones 4-9.
Here Coreopsis is combined with some purple Liatris spicata and a great mauve colored Geranium called 'Rozanne'.
Geranium 'Rozanne': Height: 30-50 cm, Spread: 45-60 cm. Full sun to part shade. Normal, sandy or clay soil are fine. Average to moist soil. Hardy USDA zones 4-9.
In my back garden 'Moonbeam', which is about to flower, is tucked into a little corner along with Sedum, Rudbeckia and Artemesia schmidtiana 'Silver Mound'.
Artemisia schmidtiana 'Silver Mound': makes a nice, compact mound of soft, silver-grey foliage. Full sun or very light shade. It doesn't mind poor soil and dry conditions. Height: 25-35 cm, Spread: 30-40 cm. Hardy UDA Zones 4-9.
One word of warning: the pot of 'Jive' Coreopsis on the pricy side.
So far though, it has been well worth it. With Jive's profusion of cheerful white and reddish-brown flowers, a section of the front garden that was looking a bit tatty is bound to look great for weeks.