So far, all of my growing guides for flowers have been for annuals or bulbs/tubers. Over the next few weeks, I would like to cover some of my favourite perennials. The difference between annuals and perennials is that annuals will grow, set seed and die after one growing season (meaning that you will have to resow them unless they self-seed freely), whereas perennials stay alive in the ground and will reflower in subsequent seasons. By their nature, perennials are low maintenance plants. I think there’s a place for both annuals and perennials in any garden. Anita’s Garden contains both annuals and perennials. This is the reason that there are normally flowers in the garden year round, which is very important to us.
A perennial that I only discovered last season is coreopsis. This wonderful yellow flower is so cheerful, easy to grow and once established in your garden, will pop up year after year without you having to worry about resowing or replanting seedlings. The flowers are on long stems so they are perfect for picking and placing in a vase inside, or adding to other floral arrangements. One of our Early Sunrise coreopsis plants is flowering at the moment, so it seemed like a good time to write a blog post about how to grow them. I hope that this guide will encourage others to give this beautiful, hardy plant a go, too.
Sowing coreopsis from seed
Coreopsis can be started from seed. It takes approximately 100 days from the time of the germination of a coreopsis seed until flowering, which isn’t too bad.
Coreopsis can be started from seed indoors in October or even earlier if you live in a more temperate zone and have a hot house to protect them from the cold. Coreopsis seeds need warmth in order to germinate. I germinate seeds in punnets filled with seed raising mix from Gardn Gro. I like Gardn Gro’s seed raising mix as it is very fine in texture, enabling seeds to push through the mixture easily as they rise to the surface. I place the punnets inside plastic incubators which you can purchase from garden centres. I then place the incubators on a heat pad indoors and spray plants with water once daily or twice if the seed raising mixture is very dry. If you don’t have a heat pad you can also use your hot water cupboard which will also provide seedlings with a warm environment so they can germinate successfully.
How to care for coreopsis seedlings
For new gardeners, those who don’t wish to start their coreopsis seedlings from seed or if you’ve simply left it too late, plants are available for sale in nurseries from October onwards. Awapuni also sell high quality, large grade coreopsis seedlings and plants delivered direct to your door. Look out for Amulet, Early Sunrise, Rising Sun and Sunburst varieties. If you order 7 or more bundles of seedlings or at least 9 established plants, delivery is free.
I am also selling established coreopsis plants in my nursery this year. I have ten each of the varieties Early Sunrise and Rising Sun. Each plant is a very large grade and comes in a potting bag, so it’s ready to plant straight into your garden. The plants are actually in flower at the moment and they look lovely! They are just $5 each. Please text me on 021 02762091 if you are interested in purchasing plants. Please specify which variety you would like and how many plants you require.
If you’re planning to grow coreopsis from seed, you’ll find that they come in an impressive array of colours, sizes and heights. Egmont Seeds have a variety called Sunfire, which has received the Fleuroselect Quality Mark, widely recognised by gardeners and professional growers worldwide. To order seeds from the very extensive Egmont Seeds range, visit http://www.egmontseeds.co.nz/.
How to care for coreopsis plants
Coreopsis need at least 6 hours of sunshine per day, so be sure to plant seedlings or plants in the sunniest spot in your garden. Before planting coreopsis seedlings, take the time to prepare the bed properly so plants receive adequate nutrition. Dig the area over that you wish to plant your seedlings in. Mix plenty of compost and some sheep pellets into the ground. I highly recommend Gardn Gro’s Wonder Nuggets, which are 100% organic and function as an excellent fertiliser. Rake the ground so that it is nice and level. Be sure to water plants every day, preferably early in the morning or in the evening. Liquid feed coreopsis weekly to encourage the growth of healthy leaves and the formation of flowers.
As stated above, coreopsis is a perennial which means that they will reappear in your garden next season. It’s therefore a good idea to give some thought as to where you want to plant them, given that their location in the garden will be permanent.