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Saturday - November 28, 2015

From: Bristol, TN
Region: Southeast
Topic: Propagation, Herbs/Forbs
Title: Choosing the right Coreopsis species for Tennessee
Answered by: Guy Thompson

QUESTION:

I live in Bristol Tennessee and have replaced most of my lawn with native plants. I have been trying to learn more about the Coreopsis genus. In TN, we have C. auriculata, grandiflora, lanceolata, major, pubescens, and tripteris (+ more that are not available at nurseries). When researching C. grandiflora & pubescens, I keep coming across references that say they are short-lived and should be allowed to re-seed to maintain their presence. But they are also described as freely self-seeding, sometimes to the point of being weedy. So far, I have only planted C. lanceolata, and I have been disappointed that although it comes up, it is pretty much gone after a few years. Is this is a general trait of coreopsis? Should I buy ones even if they are labeled as aggressive re-seeders? Is there a difference in how aggressive these different species are, such that I should be careful which ones I plant? I get a little scared when I see the words "may become weedy." But on the other hand, my experience with C. lanceolata indicates that I am better off going with the ones labeled "weedy."

ANSWER:

A good reference on Coreopsis species is found on Wikipedia.  It includes some descriptions of some Coreopsis species being invasive.  For example, Coreopsis lanceolata (Lanceleaf coreopsis) is highly invasive in Japan. It is not unusual for plants introduced into a location where they are not native to overwhelm the native flora.  This happens for poorly understood reasons, such as the absence of an insect that controls the plant in its native environment.

I do not think you will have a problem of weediness if you choose Coreopsis spcies that are native to your area.  You can find this information on our Native Plant Database.  You will also find propagation tips for the individual species.  Some, e.g., Coreopsis lancelolata, are perennials which are easilly propagated by dividing clumps.  Others, like Coreopsis tinctoria (Plains coreopsis), are annuals growing from scattered seeds.  My advice would be to try several Coreopsis species that you like and see which ones flourish.

 

From the Image Gallery


Lanceleaf coreopsis
Coreopsis lanceolata

Plains coreopsis
Coreopsis tinctoria

Lobed tickseed
Coreopsis auriculata

Largeflower tickseed
Coreopsis grandiflora

Greater tickseed
Coreopsis major

Smooth oxeye
Heliopsis helianthoides

Tall tickseed
Coreopsis tripteris

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