Q: Is it better to divide and transplant coreopsis in the fall or in the spring?
A: Coreopsis, commonly known as tickseed, are hard-working members of the aster family. These are rugged plants with over 100 species available in both perennial and annual varieties. They love sunshine, flower profusely over a long period of time, are generally trouble-free and easy to grow. As an added benefit, butterflies flock to coreopsis.
Most varieties bloom in early summer and repeat bloom periodically into fall. Species plants freely self-seed, although C. ‘Moonbeam’ is a sterile cultivar. Ordinary garden soil is just fine, as long as it is well drained. An overly moist fertile soil will actually cause sprawling and crown rot.
As with most plants, deadhead the spent flowers to encourage more blooms, although it has been said coreopsis don’t know when to stop and will literally bloom themselves to death. Perhaps that is why even though rugged, these plants tend to live no more than three to five years. When flowering decreases, it may be time to divide or simply scatter seed for new coreopsis.
Divide in spring just as new growth begins. Lift the entire plant and divide it into clumps before replanting. The plants will have the complete warm weather season to establish themselves before winter dormancy. After the first killing frost, cut back plant stems to 1 or 2 inches above the soil line.
For more information, call The Ohio State University Summit County Extension Hotline Tuesdays from 9 a.m. to noon at 330-928-4769, ext. 3, and request Fact Sheet W-12-2002, “Butterfly Gardens.”
Please note fact sheets are sent out free; there is a fee for bulletins. Many bulletins are available at ohioline.osu.edu and can be printed or accessed at the public library.
Dayle Davis is a freelance writer and avid perennial gardener, with a B.A. in communications and course work in botany, geology and wildflowers. Davis is a master gardener emeritus under The Ohio State University’s Horticultural Extension. Readers can send in questions regarding lawn and garden issues, which could be featured in a future edition, as well as about the OSU Master Gardener program. Questions can be emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org, faxed to 330-665-9590 or sent to Leader Publications, 3075 Smith Road, Suite 204, Akron, OH 44333. Please do not send any leaves, seeds or other organic material. Inquiries about area garden clubs or groups should be sent directly to the particular organization in question.
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