Coreopsis, a.k.a. tickseed, is delicate-looking herbaceous flowering perennials or annuals with daisy-like blossoms. The flower heads have eight teethed petals, often with grooves that make them look light, almost like blotting paper.
The Coreopsis is appreciated for their profusion of golden yellow or multicolored flowers and uninterrupted and abundant flowering all summer until the beginning of fall. Some varieties can have up to 150 single or double flowers per plant!
Drought-resistant, easy to care for, and very floriferous, the coreopsis is an almost obligatory partner of the clumps and sunny flowerbeds, containers, or planters.
The numerous perennial species (Coreopsis grandiflora, Coreopsis verticillata, Coreopsis lanceolata) cultivars and hybrids widen the palette of colors and shapes.
From the double coreopsis to the single-flowered red coreopsis to the creamy-white or pink coreopsis like ‘American Dream,’ every types of coreopsis is stunning in its own way! There is even an annual species, Coreopsis tinctoria, which is more chilly than their hardy cousins.
Let’s see the best varieties of tickseed or coreopsis, so you can choose the one that looks just perfect in your flower bed, borders, rockeries, or even in those containers on your terrace!
Coreopsis, a Gift from the Americas
Tickseed or coreopsis is a genus of flowering plants original of North, Central and South America, there are 80 different species of coreopsis and countless hybrids and cultivars.
These herbaceous plants are mostly perennial but also exist as annuals with the Coreopsis tinctoria variety. It is a member of the Asteraceae family, the same as daisies, a very large one indeed.
It has made its way into gardens thanks to its super generous blooms, and with the advent of informal gardens it has had great fortune all over the world.
It has become even more popular with the organic gardening revolution, because it is super rich in pollen and it attracts lots of pollinators.
Now, this is their story, but why would you want tickseed plants in your garden?
Why You Should Grow Coreopsis in Your Garden
There are many reasons why growing tickseed or coreopsis is a good idea. To start with they are easy to grow, and you can solve many problems with them, like filling in gaps in borders and flower beds.
Secondly, they are quite sturdy and vigorous; these are plants that can weather a bad patch, and there are varieties for many climate conditions, from USDA zones 2 to 11, so, virtually all the USA and Canada!
Next, they are small plants, and this means that you don’t need a big garden to make them happy, actually, they are also perfect for small flower beds, containers or raised beds!
Finally, did I say that they are very beautiful? I am going to show you with words and pictures, but first…
And if you want to grow it in your garden, here are a few handy tips.
How to Grow Coreopsis
Key to growing coreopsis successfully are the position, the soil and feeding. But let’s take it step by step…
Once the plants germinate, you only need to give tickseed low maintenance:
As you can see, growing tickled is very easy, and it is excellent for low maintenance gardens. And in fact, which kind of gardens does it suit?
How to Use Coreopsis in Your Garden
Coreopsis is popular also because it adapts to difficult gardens like:
It is also good for:
Not bad for a plant that needs very little care! So, which one is the tickseed that really takes your fancy? Let’s find out…
12 Varieties of Coreopsis For Your Summer Garden
Discover the most beautiful and original varieties of coreopsis, or tickseed to compose colorful scenes in your sunny garden.
1: Coreopsis ‘Moonlight’ (Coreopsis ‘Moonlight’)
‘Moonlight’ is a classic variety of tickseed or coreopsis. It has a very delicate light yellow dolor with saffron centers, and it is a massive bloomer… It can keep going for months on end and the blooms literally cover the soft looking mound of thin needle like bright green foliage.
The luminous flowers are fairly large, 2 inches across (5 cm) and they remain fresh looking for many days even in hot climates.
‘Moonlight’ is an elegant and light variety, excellent to bring light to borders and beds and to give a touch of class to any garden or terrace
2: Pink Tickseed ‘Sweet Dreams’ (Coreopsis rosea ‘Sweet Dreams’)
Pink tickseed is a very original variety of coreopsis. It blooms with a tick canopy of flowers that have petals of two colors:
they are raspberry purple around the inner disk and white on the outside. The effect is striking, and they look wonderful on the clumps of lace like foliage that seems to hold them like a cushion.
‘Sweet Dreams’ tickseed is an early blooming variety of coreopsis and it is ideal for delicate but striking effects in gardens and on terraces. It has a unique , fairy tale appearance that your visitors and guests will love!
3: Coreopsis ‘Mercury Rising’ (Coreopsis ‘Mercury Rising’)
Tickseed ‘Mercury Rising’ has amazing scarlet red petals and a bright yellow center. What is more, they have the texture and feel of velvet, so the overall appearance is that of a luxurious and sensuous plant.
Unlike other varieties of coreopsis, ‘Mercury Rising’ opens its blooms on top pf clearly defined, long, straight and almost upright stems. This makes it even more elegant.
‘Mercury Rising’ is the coreopsis variety you want to produce a sense of passion and soft luxury in your garden; it recalls those thick and soft red curtains you find on the doors of big palaces or cathedrals…
4: Coreopsis ‘Star Cluster’ (Coreopsis ‘Star Cluster’)
Tickseed ‘Star Cluster’ is a great blooming coreopsis; in fact it can keep giving you new flowers continuously and without pause from early summer to fall.
The heads are unusually cream, with tiny purple shots at the base of every beautiful petal. The clumps it forms are very bushy and thick, mid green in color.
‘Star Cluster’ is a charming variety; it has an “old world” look to it that makes it ideal for nostalgic looking and traditionally inspired designs, like cottage gardens and English country gardens.
5: Coreopsis ‘Sienna Sunset’ (Coreopsis ‘Sienna Sunset’)
The flowers of tickseed ‘Sienna Sunset’ have an amazing color: they are of a dense and warm apricot shade with sienna overtones.
Sienna is a very rare shade, soft, warm and on the yellowish brown range. It will not bloom for as long as other coreopsis varieties, but when it does, the thick green bush studded with flowers of this unusual color is pure delight!
‘Sienna Sunset’ is a refined, sophisticated variety which suits original gardens, even green rooms, gravel gardens or urban ones. In any case, it will say a lit about your great sense of taste!
6: Lobed Tickseed (Coreopsis auriculata)
Lobed tickseed is a classical looking gold yellow variety of coreopsis with a twist..The flowers have broad petals with a soft wave pattern in them ending in what look like lobes at the end.
They look like small suns, and they also grow on fairly unusual clumps. In fact the foliage is hairy and it forms beautiful green rosettes with the leaves. It is also a deer resistant species, in case you have a problem with these herbivores
Lobed tickseed brings light and emotional depth to any garden, and it will look great in almost any informal setting, borders, beds or even containers.
7: Coreopsis ‘Jive’ (Coreopsis ‘Jive’)
Coreopsis ‘Jive’ is a striking variety of hardy annual tickseed. The blooms have a large burgundy center which includes the disk.
And the pure white tips of the petals makes a very showy contrast. The petals have lobed edges, and the overall effect of the shale is soft. The foliage is thread leaf in shape and middle green in color.
This variety adds lots of energy and drama to any flower bed or border where you grow it. It is also suitable for containers and it would not look out of place in a wild meadow or large natural looking patch.
8: Coreopsis ‘Jethro Tull’ (Coreopsis ‘Jethro Tull’)
‘Jethro Tull’ is an original cultivar of tickseed with large golden yellow blooms, 2 inches across (5 cm). These are semi double flowers with fluted petals, that curl onto themselves lengthways, making each look like a frilled trumpet.
The foliage is quite soft, light green in color and with pointed elliptical leaves. It will still attract pollinators because the inner disk is well in sight.
This decorative variety of coreopsis is great to bring light and color to beds and borders, but it is also appreciated and useful for the decorative and three dimensional shape of its petals.
9: Pink Tickseed ‘American Dream’ (Coreopsis rosea ‘American Dream’)
‘American Dream’ is a delicate looking but cold hardy variety of Coreopsis rosea, which is distinctive for its pink to purple shades.
In this case, the petals are pink lilac, bright and spaced while the center is golden yellow. The effect is one of elegant rayed stars. These come on upright stems and look up to the Sun among emerald green thin and needle like foliage.
‘American Dream’ is an excellent filler for flower beds and borders; it is really at home in a natural and informal looking garden. This variety is also easy to propagate because it is rhizomatous.
10: ‘Golden Sphere’ Tickseed (Coreopsis sloanna ‘Golden Sphere’)
‘Golden Sphere’ is an unusual variety of tickseed because the flowers are fully double and they look like spheres. In a way, they may remind you of small dahlias and they have fluted petals like them.
The color is bright golden yellow, and it contrasts with the thin and long elliptical leaves which are fern green in color.
‘Golden Sphere’ is more sculptural than most other varieties of coreopsis, and it looks really good in containers on terraces and patios, but if you want it in a border or flower bed, please, go ahead!
11: Coreopsis ‘Ruby Frost’ (Coreopsis ‘Ruby Frost’)
‘Ruby Frost’ is one of the most showy varieties of tickseed or coreopsis. It has ruby red petals in a star shape, very bright and impossible to miss, especially because the tips are cream white!
This show stopper puts on an incredible display of fiery blooms that look up to the sky above a delicate clump of emerald green foliage.
‘Ruby Frost’ is the variety you want to bring energy, drama and a hot summer and fall mood to your garden, in beds, borders or even containers. It is also a fairly large variety of tickseed, so you can use it for bigger displays.
12: Coreopsis ‘Cosmic Eye’ (Coreopsis ‘Cosmic Eye’)
‘Cosmic Eye’ is one of the most colorful, bright and striking tickseeds in the world! Just look at the large bicolor flowers that can reach 2 inches across (5 cm).
The disc is dark golden to amber yellow, while the petals form a large dark wine purple, almost maroon center and bright canary yellow tips.
The change of color is almost exactly half way through each petal. These also come in large number over the mid to emerald green foliage.
‘Cosmic Eye’ has the effect of a small sunflower, to give you an idea. It can literally lift any border or bed, terrace or patio that needs a real shot of energy and color.
Lots of Coreopsis Varieties
We have chosen 12 among the most striking varieties of tickseed or coreopsis, but there are many others. These beautiful followers are a great addition to any garden, patio or terrace, and they also make good cut flowers in many cases, so just pick your favorite!
After many years as an academic in London, Adriano Bulla became a writer, publishing books like A History of Gardening, Organic Gardening and Elements of Garden Design; he then decided to become a gardener, following his childhood dream, and has been following his dream writing and gardening professionally in Southern Europe, where he has specialized in new and innovative organic gardening fields and techniques, like permaculture, regenerative agriculture, food forests and hydroponics.