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Coreopsis ‘Nana’ – Tickseed

Coreopsis auriculata Nana has the common name ‘ear-leaved tickseed’, but I sometimes refer to it as Coreopsis Nana and leave it at that. What I mostly do is just call it coreopsis and point at it in the garden.

Coreopsis Nana
Coreopsis auriculata Nana in late afternoon.

Coreopsis Nana may bloom in spring, but its golden flowers hint at summer. Coreopsis auriculata is called ‘early tickseed’ for a reason. After cold mornings and endless pansies and azaleas, I am ready for some warm colors in the garden. This beckoning of summer is where the value of Coreopsis auriculata resonates with me.

Nana is a dwarf version of Coreopsis auriculata, native to much of the southeastern United States.

There are tons of coreopsis available to gardeners, but I reckon Coreopsis auriculata is the first tickseed to bloom each season in most gardens, as early as mid-April in Georgia. The color of the flowers is somewhat reminiscent of black-eyed susans, albeit on a smaller scale.

Nana is easy to grow in sunny spots.  It grows low, maybe 6″ tall or so, spreading to around a foot wide. Coreopsis Nana looks better as the years go by as the original round pot shape dissipates into a more free-flowing form.

I have noticed a lot of gardeners tend to plant a few around their mailboxes, which is stiff. Plant Coreopsis Nana in drifts like it just showed up one day.

Coreopsis Nana has a long bloom period for a perennial…especially if dead-headed.

Almost every garden guide I have read recommends that you can extend the already longish flowering season of coreopsis by deadheading…and this is true. Almost nobody I know actually does this, as the flowers are small, close to the ground, and there are a ton of them.

If you are going to deadhead, a shearing just below the flowers (scissors are great for this) works. This shearing method works especially well for Coreopsis verticillata cultivars such as Moonbeam.

Coreopsis auriculata nana
Disclaimer: This flower is an inch or so wide.

Coreopsis Nana will spread slowly through its immediate area via stolons, but it is not an aggressive rascal like lamium. You can keep the coreopsis in check without breaking a sweat.

Coreopsis Nana likes sun, but no other special care is needed. Average garden soil is fine. Average rainfall is enough after it is established the first season. You might want to fertilize coreopsis occasionally if you think about it. I admit to almost never fertilizing anything, but then again I have ferried more wheelbarrows full of compost around the garden than I care to remember. I always tell myself that spreading compost is good for one’s character.

Coreopsis Nana is a herbaceous perennial and hardy zones 4-9. Don’t be surprised if it fades a way in the heat of summer, returning in fall with a few flowers here and there. Apparently, deer leave it alone, which is a bonus for rural gardeners.

If you want to know more about Coreopsis Nana, that bunch over at the Missouri Botanical Garden are competent and often inspiring.

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