What is Tickseed?

Jackie Johnson
Jackie Johnson
Woman with a flower
Woman with a flower

Tickseed, also known as coreopsis, is a variety of flowering plant. In all, there are about 35 species of the plant, most of which are perennials. The plants typically flourish in climate zones 3 to 8 in the US and are native to North, South and Central America. Tickseed plants typically produce bright yellow flowers during the summer and fall and are not particularly fussy about soil or food — they also do not require much water, once established.

One of the most significant characteristics of the tickseed plant is its low maintenance; the plant does not require fertilizing or much water. Since it is a wildflower, the plant adapted to drought conditions and does not like prolonged periods of wet soil. It is a good plant to use in flower gardens, combined with other plants that also thrive with little attention.

Some varieties of tickseed can grow as tall as 2 feet (0.6 meters). The plants bloom throughout the summer and are often completely covered with bright flowers. Once a flower dies, cutting off the flower "head" will often send a signal to the plant to produce new flowers. Although the plant is a perennial, over time the older growth may become woody and not flower as profusely; cutting back the plants in the fall usually can help keep them blooming in the spring. After a few years, the plant may become large enough to dig up and divide to plant in other areas of the yard or flower garden.

The tickseed plant can also be grown outdoors from seed once the soil temperature reaches 70 degrees Fahrenheit (21 degrees Celsius). Seeds from hybrid plants may not grow dependably, however. Gardeners can check the seed packets, which typically should indicate whether they've been cultivated from hybrid varieties or not.

In the wild, the tickseed plants have shades of yellow flowers, but some hybrids have shades of pink and red flowers. This plant is also a good one to grow for cut flowers since the blooms last a long time in water. Since the plant is not fussy about food or water, the tickseed is commonly used to brighten and decorate a sunny patio or balcony. These plants can also be grown in pots, and when they outgrow the vessel they can be divided, just as the plants in the ground can be. In humid climates, watering the pots from the bottom can help eliminate the chance of the plant developing mildew on its leaves.

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