How to Grow Moonbeam Coreopsis

moonbeam coreopsis

The Spruce / Letícia Almeida

Taxonomy classifies Moonbeam coreopsis flowers as Coreopsis verticillata 'Moonbeam,' the latter term being the cultivar name. The common name for this genus is "tickseed" but the genus name is so familiar to the average gardener that it doubles as a common name. A member of the aster family, these easy-growing plants are one of the most popular varieties of threadleaf coreopsis. These herbaceous perennials reach up to two feet tall and bear clusters of light yellow, daisy-like blooms. This bushy plant that flowers in early summer and blooms through September is valued for its long blooming period. It has a moderate growth rate and should be planted after the danger of frost.

Botanical Name  Coreopsis verticillata
Common Name Moonbeam coreopsis, tickseed
Plant Type  Perennial
Mature Size  1.5 to 2 ft. tall and wide 
Sun Exposure  Full
Soil Type  Well-drained 
Soil pH Acidic, neutral to acidic, alkaline 
Bloom Time  Summer 
Flower Color  Light yellow 
Hardiness Zones  3-9 (USDA)
Native Area  North America 
moonbeam coreopsis
The Spruce / Letícia Almeida
moonbeam coreopsis from above
Barry Winiker / Getty Images
moonbeam coreopsis on a gardening path
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Moonbeam Coreopsis Care

These are some of the easiest perennials to take care of and therefore are great for beginner gardeners. Moonbeam coreopsis plants are frequently used in borders. Their drought tolerance makes them candidates for rock gardens (if you need tall plants somewhere) and xeriscaping. The fact that they are long-blooming perennials makes them a reliable choice for injecting color into the landscape. They also tend to attract butterflies.

However, keep in mind that this perennial reputedly can be somewhat invasive in some regions and under certain conditions. Consult with your county extension office to find out whether it is considered invasive in your region.

Light

These perennials prefer full sun but will tolerate partial shade in hot areas.

Soil

Moonbeam coreopsis plants prefer well-drained soil. They are clay-tolerant, but they will truly thrive in a loamy soil.

Water

This plant has low water needs and is drought-tolerant once established. Water about once a week to help the roots grow down. Water in the mornings if you can.

Temperature and Humidity

Moonbeam coreopsis can be grown in USDA plant hardiness zones 3-9 and is tolerant of high heat and humidity.

Fertilizer

Fertilization is not necessary and excess fertilizer may limit the plant's growth.

Moonbeam Coreopsis Varieties

There are about 80 species of coreopsis in existence. Along with Moonbeam coreopsis, a few popular varieties used in gardens include the following:

  • Coreopsis tinctoria is commonly called Golden tickseed or plains coreopsis. This annual plant has small yellow flowers with red centers and is often found along roadsides in the southern and western United States.
  • Coreopsis grandiflora is a large-flowered perennial that produces orange to yellow blooms throughout the summer.
  • Coreopsis rosea performs best in USDA zones 4 to 7. It produces lovely pink flowers with yellow centers and is usually found under one foot tall.

Pruning

Extend the blooming period for Moonbeam coreopsis flowers through deadheading. Gardeners often perform this operation on plants by pinching with their fingertips. Smaller flowered varieties may be challenging to deadhead; in that case, try shearing once the flowers fade after their first flush. This is probably how most gardeners deadhead their tickseed plants.

Propagating Moonbeam Coreopsis

Propagating can be done by seeds, cuttings, or crown division in fall or early spring.

To propagate by seed, pinch dead blooms off your Moonbeam coreopsis plants and dry them in a dark and cool environment. When the seeds are ready, sow them outdoors in early spring in a sunny part of the garden. Cover with soil and keep moist until the seeds germinate in about two weeks.

Propagating by cuttings begins with cutting the stem at a 45-degree angle where the leaf meets the stem. Remove most leaves from the plant and place cuttings in a pot of perlite or vermiculite. Moisten the soil. After two weeks in direct sunlight, the cuttings should be strong enough to be replanted.

Crown division propagation should be done in early spring. Lift plants from the ground and remove loose dirt. Divide the crown into sections with a knife and plant the sections with roots into the same soil type and environment as the original plant. Water them well until established.

"Tickseed" Plants: What's in a Name?

The word, "coreopsis," which is the scientific name for the flower, derives from the Greek for "bug-like," due to the resemblance that coreopsis seeds bear to ticks. While "tickseed" is the common name for coreopsis, this is a case where the scientific name (coreopsis) is more commonly used than the common name (tickseed). Thus, for practical purposes, the scientific name has become the common name. Perhaps this is because retailers feel consumers would shun a plant associated (even if only in name) with ticks, some of which bear Lyme disease. After spending time, energy, and money spraying to kill ticks, the consumer might be put off by the name, "tickseed"—even if only subconsciously.

Or it could be that, as scientific names go, "coreopsis" has a rather melodious ring to it.