About Prairie Coreopsis: This plant’s blazing brightness and heat-loving, drought tolerant growth has made it one of the most well known native wildflowers, as well as being a popular choice of beginning gardeners and master gardeners alike. The genus name Coreopsis, derived from the Greek “koris,” refers to the resemblance of the seeds to bedbugs. The flowers in this family have become especially well loved by the citizens of the state of Florida, who appointed Coreopsis as their official state wildflower in 1991.
Prairie Coreopsis 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 18-24” apart. This plant adapts to nearly any soil, including rocky or shallow areas; it makes a good choice for borders, roadsides, or prairie plantings.
Growing Prairie Coreopsis 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. It will self-seed as well as spreading by rhizomes, 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 Prairie Coreopsis: For long lasting fresh flowers, cut the stems long and place them in water immediately.
Saving Prairie Coreopsis Seeds: Several weeks after the flowers have faded, the 1/4" 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 Prairie Coreopsis Info: Origin: US Native Other Common Names: Prairie Tickseed, Stiff Coreopsis, Stiff Tickseed Duration: Perennial Bloom Time: Summer Height: 24-36 inches Spacing: 18-24 inches Light: Full Sun to Part Shade Soil Moisture: Medium to Dry USDA Zone: 3a-8b Seeds Per Oz: 10,900 Produces narrow blade-shaped green foliage and 2” daisy-like flowers with scallop-edged yellow petals and yellow centers.