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  • Writer's pictureKristin Bailey Wilson

Floppy Ticks with Powder

I have a love-hate relationship with Lanceleaf Coreopsis. Coreopsis lanceolata L. is native to my home state of Missouri, and commonly found in the states where I currently hang out, Kentucky and Tennessee. It's a beauty. Known as Tickseed by many, it's a popular native flower. It grows in clumps and some of the leaves are lanced. The flowers are solid yellow and grow on slender stems. It starts flowering in March, saying hello as the snow and cold are going.

Plus, this is a native that will grow well in a pot. It will flower the first year and then the next and next. It's a pot perennial! What's there to hate, right?

While it stands upright and withstands the wind and rain at the farm, at home it flops. It flops over the edge of the flower beds. It flops onto the sidewalk. It flops. I don't fertilize, but the dirt was brought in to fill the beds, so it's likely richer than the dirt at the farm. It simply won't stand for it.

I've toyed with the idea of digging them up and planting something else, but I would miss these bright yellow flowers through the spring and into summer. And, I find that if I deadhead, I can keep them flowering for quite awhile. I compromise. I cut them back or put up short fence pieces to keep them off the sidewalk.

I also decide that I like them leaning over the edges of flowerbed and peeking up at me as I wander by.

There's one other Lanceleaf Coreopsis problem though: powdery mildew. Yep, Lanceleaf Coreopsis is susceptible to it and it spreads. A little breeze will carry those spores across the yard in a jiffy. Apple cider vinegar will get rid of it, but you have to keep applying and pay attention (2 tablespoons to a quart of water). Neem oil is better (follow label directions), but neem oil will kill the pollinators, so you shouldn't use it if the coreopsis is blooming.

Despite these minor frustrations, Lanceleaf Coreopsis is a flower to plant and nuture because the pollinators love it. Just ask these beauties.

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