TickseedBotanical name: CoreopsisPronunciation...

PLANT NOTEBOOK

January 25, 1992|By Amalie Adler Ascher

Tickseed

Botanical name: Coreopsis

Pronunciation: coe-rea-OP-sys

Family: Compsoitae (Daisy)

Origin: North and South America and Africa

Class: Perennial

Display period: Summer into fall

Height: 18 to 20 inches

Environment: Sun to light shade

Your color preference will determine which of two special coreopsis selections you elect to grow. Lemon-yellow C. verticillata Moonbeam has been hailed by landscapers, in particular, as the greatest perennial to come along in many a day. The Perennial Plant Association has chosen it the Plant of the Year for 1992. Moonbeam fills the requirements for the title in ease of propagation, adaptability to a variety of soil and temperature conditions, multiseason interest and a pleasing habit of growth.

Much the same can be said of C. rosea. More compact than Moonbeam, it bears similar although slightly smaller flowers, and as the species name indicates, they are pink. Moonbeam's species name -- a reference to its ferny foliage -- has given rise to its popular name, threadleaf coreopsis. Rosea's foliage is finely cut too.

Because rosea is indigenous to cranberry bogs, says Alan Summers, president of Carroll Gardens in Westminster and host of the popular WCBM early Saturday morning talk show, "The fTC Garden Club," it likes its soil kept relatively moist. Moonbeam, on the other hand, can tolerate drier conditions. While rosea is suited to container culture, he notes that it can exhaust the soil's fertility in a year or two. Plants should be kept well-fed.

In spreading by underground stolons [creeping stems], both rosea and Moonbeam need room to run lest they invade the territory of their neighbors. Mr. Summers has used rosea to great effect as a ground cover in an island bed set in the middle of a boulevard street. A further asset in such a situation is the plant's low maintenance, he says.

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