About Leavenworth's Tickseed: This lovely wildflower has been named for Melines Conkling Leavenworth (1796-1862), a botanist who collected this specimen from his native Florida as well as many others throughout the southeastern United States. Its common name of “tickseed” comes from the resemblance of the seeds to that particular bug. Hardiness and love of dry soil make the flowers in this family especially valuable to citizens of the state of Florida, who appointed Coreopsis as their official state wildflower in 1991.
Leavenworth's Tickseed Germination: Direct sow in late fall, planting the seed just below the surface of the soil; these seeds need light to germinate. For spring planting, mix the seed with moist sand and store it in the refrigerator for 30 days before direct sowing. Keep the soil evenly moist until germination, which should occur within 10-15 days. The treated seeds can also be started indoors 6-8 weeks before the last frost of spring; plant the seeds on the surface of a flat, keeping the moisture consistent and the temperature around 65 degrees F. Transplant seedlings to 9-12” apart. This plant adapts to nearly any soil, including rocky or shallow areas.
Growing Leavenworth's Tickseed Seeds: Water the seedlings occasionally until they become established; mature plants prefer dry soil and tolerate drought, heat, and humidity well. If given too much moisture or rich soil, the plants tend to flop and may need support. If the blooming decreases midseason, cut the plant back by half for new growth and blooms. Regular deadheading also helps prolong the season of blooming. If allowed to self-seed it will produce volunteer plants, though it does not become weedy. For the healthiest growth, divide plants in the spring or fall after several years of growth. This plant attracts butterflies and bees as well as resisting rabbits and deer.
Harvesting Leavenworth's Tickseed: For long lasting fresh flowers, cut the stems long and place them in water immediately.
Saving Leavenworth's Tickseed Seeds: Several weeks after the flowers have faded, the seed heads will turn dry and dark brown. Since these seeds are a favorite food of songbirds and rodents, harvest them promptly. Cut the heads from the plant and spread them out to dry completely. Break them apart to remove the seeds, and separate the seeds from the chaff. Store the seeds in a cool, dry place.
Detailed Leavenworth's Tickseed Info: Origin: US Native Other Common Names: Leavenworth's Coreopsis Duration: Perennial Bloom Time: Summer Height: 18-36 inches Spacing: 9-12 inches Light: Full Sun Soil Moisture: Medium USDA Zone: 8a-11 Seeds Per Oz: 120,000 Produces narrow blade-shaped green foliage and 1˝-2” daisy-like flowers with notched, lemon yellow petals and dark centers.