Today we are going to discuss how to grow Coreopsis Tinctoria plants. Most of us know this plant by its common names: Tickseed and the Pot of Gold. It is a beautiful daisy-like flower. It belongs to the Asteraceae family, similar to daisies and asters.
The Tickseed plant is short in height and easy to manage. This makes it a favorite choice for every container gardener. It only raises to a height of 1 foot and spans a max of 0.5 to 1 foot. The flowers are bright beautiful and eye-catching. The golden yellow or pinkish tone of petals mix well with a dark maroon center. You may also find a couple of other variants with White, yellow, or pink blossoms. These flowers attract natural pollinators like honeybees and butterflies. So they may help you get a higher vegetable yield if you are growing any.
Tickseed plants require full sun and well-drained healthy soil to grow. It prefers moist soil and can grow in meadows or lowlands. It is native to North and Central America. So we can grow it almost anywhere throughout the country.
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Tickseed (Coreopsis Tinctoria) Basic Plant Info
- Common Name: Tickseed, Pot of gold
- Botanical name: Coreopsis Tinctoria
- Family: Asteraceae
- Native Climate: Central and North America
- Growing Area: Lowlands, meadows, grasslands
- Agricultural Zone: USDA Zone 5 through 9
- Plant Type: Tickseeds or Coreopsis tinctoria is a Perennial wildflower. Though we all grow it as an annual flowering herb. This is mostly due to its short bloom season.
- Plant Size: 8 inches to 1 foot high and 0.5 to 1 foot wide.
- Flowers: Small 1.5 to 2 cm bloom with a variety of color options. Most popular tickseed varieties produce golden-yellow blooms with a dark brown or maroon center. Other varieties may have white, pink, or yellow flowers with a plain yellow core.
- Propagation methods: tickseeds or Coreopsis can be propagated from its seed and cuttings.
- Soil Type: Moist soil with good drainage is ideal to grow Tickseed. The soil should have low ph and high organic contents.
- Sunlight: Full bright daylight for 6 or more hours is essential to growing tickseeds. You can either let the container near an east-facing window or place it on the terrace. Make sure tickseed plants in your flower beds get enough sunlight.
- Temperature: Grow Tickseed in a temperature range of 65 to 78 degrees Fahrenheit. These Coreopsis plants can tolerate extreme temperatures ranging from 50 to 80 degrees Fahrenheit or even more. Though the extreme condition may affect their blooming.
- Water: Tickseed plants require a generous amount of water throughout their growth period. It can tolerate heat and frost with this water. Sufficient moisture in the soil can save it from dehydration. 1-inch water per week is the minimum requirement for these flowering plants.
Is Tickseed Perennial or Annual Flower?
Tickseed is a Perennial Wild Flower. Although it is mostly grown as Annual flowering plants due to the short bloom season.
There are 33 varieties of Coreopsis that we call Tickseed. This means you will find a great variation in color size, pattern, and growth of these plants. All of them are perennial though most of them are grown as annuals.
The main reason for growing annual tickseed is they are self-seeding. Also, each plant can bloom only for a couple of weeks. Tickseed produces a lot of seed per plant. The parent plant spread 100 or even 1000s seeds after blooming to ensure its heredity. These seeds can stay alive in the soil for more than 25 months. Once blooming ends the plant will not die and continue growing foliage but no blooms. So it is better to cut them off and prepare the area for new plants. The fallen seeds will sprout again in early spring next year. You probably need not reseed the flower beds again in the next season.
This is why we recommend sowing tickseed flower beds multiple times keeping a calculated time difference to get blooms throughout spring until late summer. They work great even when crowded in single-flower beds. Therefore don’t hesitate to re-seed the flowerbeds once or twice every month. It will keep the flower beds full of blooms. And yes there is no need to clean off the entire bed at once. If you like this flower the keep reading to learn How to Grow Coreopsis?
Where to Grow Tickseed Plants?
Always grow tickseed plants in bright sunny areas. They require full sun, especially in cooler zones. A bright sunny location can help these plants to bloom bigger and faster than others. Though you have to Maintain light humidity around the flower beds and protect the plants from critters.
Tickseed is perennial in USDA mild zone 7 to 9, everywhere else it grows as annual wildflowers. It can tolerate light frost. So basically you can grow them anywhere you want. You can easily grow tickseeds in containers and flat flower beds. They will do just fine if you manage to provide sufficient sunlight, water, and nutrition to the tickseed plant.
When to Grow Tickseed Coreopsis Plants?
Sow tickseed plant seeds in ate spring after the risk of frost are over. Rake the flower bed to loosen the topsoil. Let it dry and aerate for a couple of days. Finally, water the beds thoroughly to rehydrate them and add 2 to 4 inches of compost in the topsoil. Next, Sprinkle the tiny Coreopsis seeds on the soil surface. Spread a thin layer of soil over the seeds just to protect them from blowing away. These seeds require sunlight to germinate. So don’t put a heavy cover over it.
In warm Agricultural zones, you can sow seeds in late summer and the plant will keep blooming until December. Here you also start seed early in spring as there is no risk for heavy frost.
Ideally, Mid Feb to April is the right time to grow Tickseed.
How much water do You need to grow a Tickseed Plant?
You will need at least 1-inch water for each plant every week. Usually, there are a dozen or more tickseed plants that grow together in a bed or container. That’s why calculating the exact water level with a 1-inch reference is not feasible. So it is better to pour sufficient water to dampen the soil and let it dry for 3 to 5 days.
Water again once you feel the topsoil is dry. Here the light coloring of the soil surface also indicates dryness. So Water just before it turns white and dusty.
Keep the soil moist but not soggy throughout the season.
Soil Condition for Tickseed Plant
Tickseed plants require soft moist well-drained soil. The soil should have a low ph value. Slightly acidic soil is good for blooming. You can maintain this composition with compost and wood ash.
An easy thumb rule for soil preparation- Add 2 teaspoons of fine wood ash to a 2-inch layer of compost. Mix it well with soil, sand, and cocopeat or perlite. This composition is ideal for tickseeds. Instead of amending the soil later during the growing season, you should provide everything at once in the soil.
You can’t rake or tilt the soil once the flower bed is full of baby plants. Therefore prepare the soil before sowing the seeds and it should be good to feed the plants for 4 to 6 months.
I recommend using 30% compost 30% sand, 10% cocopeat, leaf mold, or perlite with garden soil to grow Tickseed plants.
Propagation Methods of Coreopsis: Tickseed
We can propagate Coreopsis Tinctoria or Tickseeds from their seeds and cutting. Although seeds are the best choice yet you can use cutting to grow tickseeds. Cutting from mature tickseed plants can be taken in late spring till summer. You may need rooting hormone to root these cuttings and it’s not that easy.
Each Tickseed plant will develop a lot of seeds so leave only a few flowers to mature and form seeds. Otherwise, you will end up with 1000’s new seedlings crowed in the same spot. Regularly check for mature and dry seedpods and pluck them off from the branch else they will scatter the seeds. Collect the seeds and store them in cool dry storage containers for future uses.
Sow the seeds in the garden in spring a week after the last frost. Keep the soil moist and the seeds will germinate within 3 to 4 weeks of sowing.
In some varieties of Coreopsis new plants can also grow from roots, so don’t be amazed if you saw one coming out adjacent to the parent plant.
How to Grow Coreopsis Tinctoria: Tickseed?
- Collect healthy viable tickseed plant seeds to grow. You can get them from a nearby garden store or buy Coreopsis seeds from Amazon.
- Prepare the flower beds and containers for the new plant. Amend the soil with compost and other fertilizers if requires.
- Dampen the soil and sprinkle the seed over it. You can spread a thin layer of soil just to protect the seeds from flowing away with water or wind.
- Let it settle and germinate. Just wait for 3 to 4 weeks. Meanwhile, keep the soil moist and well hydrated.
- New Coreopsis seedlings will be ready to bloom within 45 to 60 days after germination.
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Common problems with Tickseed Plants
Only aphids can attack the seedlings, especially during moist rainy days. A mature tickseed plant is not very prone to pests and diseases. Still, few can make your day bad. If you regularly overwater tickseeds then aphids, mealybugs, gnats, and powder mildew may attack the plants.
Other than these sometimes birds, squirrels, caterpillars, rabbits, and wild hogs can damage your tickseed garden.
You can control bugs and pests by regulating the watering cycle. Use neem oil spray to distract these bugs away from your flowerbeds. Slugs, snails, or caterpillars can be removed by handpicking or just spreading eggshell powder around the plant base. Pepper spray can also help with pest control in flowerbeds.
Other creatures like hogs, rabbits, and birds can be distracted by fencing or netting the flower beds. You can use a wooden fence to distract hogs and rabbits. Whereas green nets are a great tool to prevent bird attacks in the early days.
Deers also love these wildflowers so don’t forget to install a fence if you live around them.
How to care for Coreopsis Plants?
- Stake mature Tickseed plants to ensure new growth. There are a lot of coreopsis seeds waiting for the right amount of sunlight to germinate. So to give them the proper opportunity you have to keep the mother plants straight away from the surface.
- Cut 1/3 to 1/2 of the Coreopsis plants at the end of the flowering season to ensure new branching and bud formation. It is especially important if you have a permanent patch of Tickseeds growing for several years. Heavy pruning is usually not necessary for annual tickseed plantations.
- Repeat seed sowing to ensure continuous blooming throughout the season. Sow fresh seeds once every alternate week or at 12 to 15 days intervals. It will allow new plants to occupy the space of plants that recently finished their blooming schedule.
- Sow seeds in abundance as Tickseeds prefer to grow better in crowded flower beds. They bloom better when grown in big clusters. This also makes the flower bed eye-pleasing during the blooming season. The entire flower bed will look golden orange or yellow with the dark brown or maroon highlighted center.
- Don’t use chemical pesticides as they may harm natural pollinators. Tickseed flowers attract a lot of honeybees, butterflies, beetles, and other creatures. They help in flowering and fruiting in the garden. Chemical pesticides don’t identify their target and harm every insect. So it is better to use only natural pesticides like neem oil and chili or garlic spray to prevent pest attacks.
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