Updated: Apr 20, 2020
Coreopsis is a light and airy wildflower that is native to North America and has long been used by the Cherokee, Zuni and Apache as dye plants. The small yellow and orange flowers are plentiful and attractive to butterflies and insects making them a perfect addition to the garden. The fresh or dried flowers produce yellows, oranges and browns.
Coreopsis is typically grown as annual flowers in the garden and will grow in full sun or partial shade, they are not fussy plants and will tolerate drought. Coreopsis seeds are best sown in April on a sunny windowsill or warm greenhouse. Keep the seeds well watered and warm (approx 20C) until germination, which is usually within 21 days. The plants will grow quickly and start to flower at about 8 to 12 weeks after sowing. If you are growing your coreopsis seeds in one of our soil pods, sow approximately 3 seeds per pod, allow the seedlings to grow until they have formed the first true leaves, then separate and select the strongest seedlings to plant on into larger pots or directly into the garden after the risk of frost has passed.
Once in their final position in large pots or in the ground, coreopsis plants require little attention, keeping them watered when the soil feels dry to the touch. Coreopsis prefers a warmer climate so chose a warm sunny spot for the best harvest. Harvest the coreopsis flower heads when the flower has opened completely by snipping or snapping them off. This way the plant will continue to produce more flowers throughout the rest of the season.
Once you have harvested the coreopsis you are ready to dye! You can also dry them out in a sunny spot on a windowsill to save them for use during the winter.