Coreopsis verticillata 'Zagreb' in A Garden For All by Kathy Diemer

Golden flowers of Coreopsis verticillata ‘Zagreb’ (photo: Kathy Diemer)

The flower of Coreopsis verticillata is like a sprinkle of sunshine touching down in your garden.  The gay yellow or golden blossoms are smaller than daisies or rudbeckia, yet they pack the same punch, literally illuminating any spot they are cohabiting.  Incredibly easy to grow and maintain, any sun drenched garden would greatly benefit with this lovely plant in its borders.

Coreopsis 'Zagreb' with Juniperus squamata 'Blue Star' in A Garden For All by Kathy Diemer

Coreopsis ‘Zagreb’ with Juniperus squamata ‘Blue Star’ (photo: Kathy Diemer)

Corepsis, or tickseed as they are commonly called, are native to the prairies and woodlands of North America and Central Asia, which explains their rugged dependability and endurance under a variety of conditions.  The carefree nature of this plant lends itself to a bit of wanderlust, but its smaller size will usually help keep it in bounds.  To show its perseverance, I planted some Coreopsis verticillata ‘Zagreb’ (my favorite) in with a ground cover juniper and they have lived happily ever after.  The delicate, feathery foliage of Zagreb is a perfect contrast to the prickly juniper, and with a shear after the initial bloom (usually late June-early July) and moderate moisture from Mother Nature, another flush of golden splendor will radiate from this plant in the late summer.

Coreopsis verticillata 'Moonbeam' in A Garden for All by Kathy Diemer

Buttery colored blossoms of Coreopsis verticillata ‘Moonbeam’ (photo: Kathy Diemer)

Coreopsis verticillata ‘Moonbeam’, the 1995 Perennial Plant of the Year, has the same airy foliage as Zagreb, but the flowers are a buttery yellow instead.  The softer, creamy color of Moonbeam makes it a wonderful companion to bolder colored flowers and foliage in the border, actually acting as a soother to help mellow a scene that might otherwise be considered a little too dazzling.  Donovan’s song “Mellow Yellow” comes to mind when describing Moonbeam’s softer shade . . . they call me mellow yellow, quite rightly . . .

Golden bouquet of Corepsis 'Zagreb' in A Garden For All by Kathy Diemer

Bouquet of bright yellow Corepsis ‘Zagreb’ (photo: Kathy Diemer)

For those that want to experiment outside the realm of yellow, there are many other coreopsis choices in shades of red, orange and pink as well.  Years ago, I purchased several coreopsis in the newly introduced shades of rose and burgundy, and not-a-one came back the following year.  They were tagged zone 5 and endorsed by well read gardeners across the U.S., but this girl can not claim the same success.  Perhaps some of you have had better luck, as for me, I’ll stick with what comes back dependably year after year.

Both Moonbeam (by the way, isn’t that the name of Frank Zappa’s daughter?) and Zagreb love sun and will thrive in zones 4-8 (though some coreopsis cultivars are zoned 5 and 6, so be sure to read the tags before purchasing).  When established, Coreopsis verticilllata is drought tolerant and will bloom repeatedly throughout the summer if deadheaded.  And if you’re not into pruning, please leave the spent flower heads for the goldfinches to snack on over the winter ♥  

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