Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Threadleaf Coreopsis

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.


  1. I am loving all these pretty varieties coreopsis Jennifer! You have some real beauties. I have trouble growing any coreopsis here in my zone 3/4, but I always seem to keep trying :)

  2. I am a recent convert to coreopsis, I bought field of gold lat year, it hasn't done much but I'm hoping for a better show next year. Some beautiful varieties here and some lovely combinations. I always cut the perennials back

  3. Great idea to fill in with pots of colour. I'm a huge coreopis fan - love that salsa one!!

  4. I don't have a single coreopsis in my garden!! Thank you for reminding me of this sweet plant!

  5. Love that Jive!!! I don't have that variety but it is so cool! I need to learn to cut more to the ground....I always fear having holes as my garden is still young but I know the rewards are worth it! Such an excellent post here friend...lovely week to you! Nicole xo

  6. What a huge variety of colors and shapes!

  7. Oo that Jive is a corker - I have only seen yellow ones before and they don't do well in my garden mores the pity

  8. Great collection! And your photos are great!

  9. So interesting! I have never seen Coreopsis Jive and also Coreopsis Salsa is unknown to me. Another one which is probably not for sale in Europe is ´Route 66´. Only for the name you should like to have it.

  10. I really love my hardy coreopsis but many did not show this year. I will have to replace a few but they are a treat. You have a great collection and Red Satin is new to me.

  11. I just love coreopsis, and I never realized there were so many different varieties, Jennifer.
    Each one of these is really beautiful.

  12. What beautiful varieties of coreopsis. I did not know about most of them. I should try to grow more since they do well around here. There is even one that grows wild along the roads.

  13. Such an array of coreopsis. I had been wanting 'American Dream' then found it last summer but never managed to get it planted. It did not overwinter in the pot. ugh. I am kicking myself for that after seeing it again here.

  14. I love your collection of Coreys...they are all so colorful, and pretty. I have a few, some I add over the years as they go on sale...dependable little colorballs that they are. My only complaint, is that they like too much deadheading, and in our heat it's too much work. But they do reward with vigor.


  15. I just cut some perennials back, too. I added calamintha to the garden this year and just love it. I love coreopsis but don't like all the deadheading. Of course, it doesn't keep me from buying them... :o)

  16. A coreopsis lover like me! I'm partial to the yellow flowers. I had a tick seed some time ago and want to get another one. I also like the mouse ear. They are such sweet and varied flowers. Near where I live here near Wilmington, NC, there are ones growing wild on the side of the road! I need to get out my shovel and a bucket!

  17. You have way more patience than I. I can't STAND to deadhead them! They fall under the same category as cosmos. They're very, very pretty, though. I'll admire them in your yard. :)

  18. Loved all your information on the Coreopis..I grow the Zagreb variety and love it. Just sheered it back last week and in another few weeks, I should start seeing it rebloom. It's a work horse and I will divide it again in the fall to spread it out more places in the flowerbeds. While "Moonbean" is a lighter yellow, it always seems invisible to me when I see it. Zagreb really shines brightly.

    I have a question for you..why give details about the flowers in Cm? Most Americans don't know how to calculate CM and I'm one..most people like the details in inches or foot..Thanks for all the information you provided. Someday I'd love to try one of the red or pink varieties of coreopsis..Maybe I should try to grow them in a container to see if I like them before planting into my flowerbeds?

    1. Hi Pippi21, Sorry, with preparations for my recent travels I missed your questions. I have been putting the plant heights in cm because we use the metric system here in Canada, but I can see it would not be helpful to my American friends. It will be more work to put in both, but I will see what I can do.
      Depending on where you live the pink and red coreopsis may not be hardy. If you want to experiment with a few new varieties, I would think of them as annuals in both containers and your flowerbeds. For instance, I love Coreopsis rosea (which is a perennial), but it isn't hardy in my zone 6b garden. Perhaps you will be lucky and some of the pink and red cultivars will prove to be winter hardy where you live.


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