2018 is the year of the core­op­sis

Alberta Gardener Magazine - - Contents - By Heather Klein

Core­op­sis pleases ev­ery­one! Peo­ple love it for its sunny, long-last­ing blooms. Birds love it for its seeds and but­ter­flies, and other pol­li­na­tors en­joy its tasty nec­tar. Core­op­sis is the state flower of both Mis­sis­sippi and Florida. You will see it along many Florida roads and high­ways as Florid­i­ans use it as part of their beau­ti­fi­ca­tion pro­gram.

It is hard to imag­ine a hap­pier flower than core­op­sis. These re­li­able, long-bloom­ing, daisy-like plants pro­duce blooms from early sum­mer right through till fall. Not only are the flow­ers bright and cheery, but they will also in­vite many other de­light­ful things into your gar­den! But­ter­flies love these colour­ful, nec­tar­rich flow­ers and if you don’t cut them back, birds can en­joy their seeds right into win­ter. As well, dry core­op­sis can be used as a tea or cof­fee sub­sti­tute.

The word core­op­sis orig­i­nates from the Greek words “ko­ris” which means bed­bug and “op­sis” which means

view. The name refers to the un­usual look of the seed it­self. It is spiny on one end and bul­bous in the mid­dle, with a small head-like part on the other end. At first glance it looks like a tick, hence its more com­mon name, tick­seed.

There are so many colours and pat­terns to choose from due to a heavy cross-breed­ing that pro­duces many an­nu­als and ten­der peren­ni­als. Also, there are now an­nu­als that will bloom non-stop sum­mer through fall and don’t need dead-head­ing. Their rugged­ness and abun­dant blooms have made them a pop­u­lar choice with breed­ers, help­ing the core­op­sis species grow to more than 100 varieties.

Most core­op­sis plants are clump-form­ing, hold­ing their daisy-like flow­ers on tall stems above the fo­liage. A lengthy bloom time also makes them great fillers, giv­ing your gar­den a con­tin­u­ous bloom of colour.

This North Amer­i­can na­tive can take quite a beat­ing so grow­ing core­op­sis is rel­a­tively easy. Just make sure that you plant them in full sun­light. They will grow in less than ideal con­di­tions, like ditches and be­side the road; how­ever they will not bloom as well in the shade. They bloom from June to Septem­ber and are drought tol­er­ant. Most core­op­sis are hardy to zone 4 and will grow well in most soil con­di­tions. If you want a con­tin­ued dis­play of blooms cut them back by one-third in the late sum­mer. A good win­ter will see them re­turn in zone 3. Just make sure that you leave some flow­ers on the plants so that the birds can en­joy their seeds!

Fer­til­iza­tion of core­op­sis is gen­er­ally not needed and, in fact, too much may limit flower pro­duc­tion. For the most part core­op­sis is prob­lem-free al­though if the sea­son is es­pe­cially damp, snails, slugs and fun­gal dis­eases may affect them.

Core­op­sis is typ­i­cally found in colours of yel­low and gold, with some varieties splashed with red, bronze and bur­gundy.

They bloom through­out the sum­mer and early fall.

Core­op­sis is the state flower for Mis­sis­sippi and Florida.

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