Coreopsis tripteris Guide: Grow Tall Tickseed with Ease



Coreopsis tripteris, commonly known in the USA as Tall Tickseed, is a perennial plant native to North America. It is also regionally referred to as Tall Coreopsis. This plant is valued for its height, which can add vertical interest to gardens, and its bright yellow flowers that bloom in late summer to fall. Tall Tickseed is known for its ornamental value, attracting pollinators such as butterflies and bees, and is often used in native plant gardens, prairie restorations, and as a border plant in landscaping.


  • Kingdom: Plantae
  • Phylum: Tracheophyta
  • Class: Magnoliopsida
  • Order: Asterales
  • Family: Asteraceae
  • Genus: Coreopsis
  • Species: Coreopsis tripteris


Coreopsis tripteris is a herbaceous perennial known for its tall stature and vibrant, daisy-like flowers. It forms clumps with erect stems and is a popular choice for gardeners seeking to add height and color to their plantings. The plant is recognized for its ornamental appeal, but beyond aesthetics, it serves an ecological role by providing nectar and habitat for pollinators. It is not considered invasive or problematic, but rather a beneficial addition to diverse ecosystems and gardens.


Tall Tickseed can reach impressive heights, typically growing between 4 to 9 feet tall, with some specimens known to extend up to 10 feet under optimal conditions. The plant’s growth rate is moderate, with an average monthly increase in height of about 1 to 2 inches during the growing season. The roots of Coreopsis tripteris are fibrous and extensive, helping to anchor the plant firmly in the soil. They are not known to cause problems with infrastructure or other plants.


The leaves of Tall Tickseed are simple yet distinctive. They are mostly basal, with a few alternate leaves on the stem. The leaves are deeply divided into three parts, hence the species name “triptris,” which means “three-parted.” From a botanical perspective, the leaves are sessile or short-petiolate, lanceolate in shape, and can be up to 6 inches long. They possess a bright green color and a slightly rough texture.


The flowers of Coreopsis tripteris are its most striking feature. They are composite flowers, typical of the Asteraceae family, with a central disk of small, tubular florets surrounded by a fringe of ray florets that are bright yellow and petal-like. Each flower can be up to 2 inches in diameter. The blooming period extends from late summer to early fall, providing a splash of color when many other plants have finished flowering. The flowers are known for their attractiveness to pollinators.


The fruit of Coreopsis tripteris is a small, dry achene that is typically oblong or obovate in shape. Each achene contains one seed, and the fruits are often dispersed by wind or wildlife, aiding in the plant’s propagation.


The stems of Tall Tickseed are erect, slender, and ribbed, with a tendency to branch in the upper portion of the plant. They are green to reddish-green in color and can become woody at the base as the plant matures.

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Cultivation and Care

Coreopsis tripteris is a low-maintenance plant that thrives in a variety of conditions, making it a suitable choice for both novice and experienced gardeners. It is drought-tolerant once established and can adapt to different soil types.


To plant Tall Tickseed, choose a location with full sun to partial shade. The plant can be grown from seed, which should be sown directly into the ground in the fall or early spring. Alternatively, young plants or divisions can be planted in the spring. Space the plants about 18 to 24 inches apart to allow for proper air circulation and growth.

Soil Preference

Tall Tickseed prefers well-drained soil but is adaptable to a range of soil types, including sandy, loamy, or clay soils. The ideal pH range for this plant is between 6.0 and 7.0, though it can tolerate slightly acidic to slightly alkaline conditions.


While Coreopsis tripteris is drought-tolerant, it benefits from regular watering during its first growing season to establish a strong root system. Once established, it requires minimal watering. A sample watering schedule might include weekly watering during dry spells, with adjustments made for rainfall and soil moisture levels.

Sun Requirements

Tall Tickseed performs best in full sun but can tolerate partial shade. Planting in a location that receives at least 6 hours of direct sunlight per day will ensure vigorous growth and abundant flowering.


Pruning can be done to maintain shape, remove spent flowers, and encourage a second bloom. Deadheading, or removing faded flowers, can be done throughout the blooming period. In late fall or early spring, cut back the entire plant to ground level to promote fresh growth. Use clean, sharp pruning shears or scissors for the task.


Propagation of Coreopsis tripteris can be done by seed, division, or cuttings. Seeds can be collected from the dried flower heads in the fall and sown the following spring. Divisions should be made in the spring or fall, and stem cuttings can be taken in late spring or early summer.

Health & Safety

There are no known toxic or poisonous parts of Coreopsis tripteris to humans, dogs, or cats. It is also not known to have thorns, spikes, or to cause contact dermatitis, making it a safe choice for gardens frequented by people and pets.

Pests and Problems

Tall Tickseed is relatively pest-resistant. However, it can occasionally be affected by aphids (Aphidoidea) and leafhoppers (Cicadellidae), which suck sap from the leaves, causing yellowing and distortion. Treatment includes the application of insecticidal soap or neem oil. Additionally, powdery mildew and other fungal diseases can occur in humid conditions. Good air circulation and proper spacing can help prevent these issues. If a fungal problem arises, fungicides may be used according to the manufacturer’s instructions.

General Information

Plant Name:Coreopsis tripteris
Etymology:Coreopsis: Derived from Greek words ‘koris’ meaning ‘bug’ and ‘opsis’ meaning ‘view’, referring to the shape of the seeds which resemble bugs or ticks.
Tripteris: From Greek ‘tri-‘ meaning ‘three’ and ‘pteron’ meaning ‘wing’, referring to the three-parted or three-lobed leaves of the species.
Common Name:Tall Tickseed
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Plant Characteristics

Height:1.5-2.5 meters, 5-8 feet
Width and Spread:Width: 2-3 feet (0.61-0.91 meters)
Spread: 2-3 feet (0.61-0.91 meters)
Plant Type:Perennial
Habit/Form:Growth Habit: Herbaceous perennial
Growth Form: Upright
Leaf Type:Simple
Leaf Arrangement:Opposite
Leaf Shape:Lanceolate to elliptic, sometimes ovate, lower leaves often 3-parted or 3-lobed
Leaf Margin:Entire
Leaf Color:Green
Fragrance:Yes, faint anise scent.
Stem Description:Square, glabrous, sometimes glaucous, often reddish-brown.
Stem Is Aromatic:No
Leaf Feel:Rough
Leaf Length:10-20 cm
Leaf Description:Arrangement: Opposite and alternate (upper leaves)
Shape: Lanceolate to ovate
Margin: Entire to serrate
Size: Up to 20 cm long
Texture: Glabrous to pubescent
Venation: Pinnate
Hairs Present:No


Light Requirements:Full sun
Soil Preference:Loamy, well-drained, moist
Water Requirements:High moisture.
Fertilizer Requirements:NPK Type: Balanced (e.g., 10-10-10)
Frequency: 1-2 times per growing season
Timing: Early spring and optionally mid-summer
Pruning Requirements:Pruning time: Late winter or early spring before new growth begins. Pruning requirement: Cut back to ground to encourage bushier growth and more flowers. Deadheading: Recommended to promote continuous blooming.
Seed Germination Time:7-30 days
Display/Harvest Time:July to September
Fruit/Seed Production:Fruit production: Achene
Seed production: Not documented
Growth Rate:Moderate to Fast
Growth Habit:Perennial
Root System Type:Taproot system

Flower and Fruit Information

Fruit Type:Achene
Fruit Description:Dry, achene, oblong, 2-winged.
Flower Color:Yellow
Flower Shape:Radiate
Flower Inflorescence:Inflorescence type: Corymb-like arrays
Flower characteristics: Yellow ray florets and yellow disc florets
Flowering Season:July to September
Bloom Duration:July to September

Tolerance and Hardiness

Drought Tolerance:Moderate to high.
Frost Tolerance:-5 to -10 degrees Celsius
Heat Tolerance:40°C
Wind Tolerance:High
Shade Tolerance:Low to moderate
Salt Tolerance:Not documented
Soil Compaction Tolerance:Low
USDA Plant Hardiness Zones:4-9
Photoperiod Sensitivity:Short Day Plant

Wildlife and Landscape

Pollinator Attraction:Yes. Bees, butterflies, and other insects.
Wildlife Value:Attracts pollinators, provides nectar for insects, larval host for butterflies.
Problematic Insects:Japanese beetles (Popillia japonica), leafhoppers (Cicadellidae), aphids (Aphidoidea), thrips (Thysanoptera)
Allelopathic Properties:Yes
Habitat Enhancement:Coreopsis tripteris, commonly known as Tall Tickseed, enhances its habitat by providing nectar and pollen for pollinators, stabilizing soil with its deep root system, and adding aesthetic value with its bright yellow flowers. It can also serve as a host plant for certain butterfly and moth larvae.
Erosion Control Potential:Not documented
Landscape Location:Prairies, meadows, open woods, roadsides
Landscape Theme:Full sun, prairie restoration, wildflower gardens, naturalized areas
Design Feature:Yes. Coreopsis tripteris, commonly known as Tall Tickseed, is used in landscape design for its height, bright yellow flowers, and ability to attract pollinators. It is often planted in wildflower meadows, borders, and naturalized areas.
Ethnobotanical Significance:Medicinal: Used by Native Americans to treat diarrhea and as an emetic.
Cultural: Not documented.
Ecological: Provides nectar for pollinators, including bees and butterflies.
Naturalization Ability:High
Companion Planting Suitability:Companion plants for Coreopsis tripteris:

1. Echinacea purpurea
2. Rudbeckia hirta
3. Schizachyrium scoparium
4. Asclepias tuberosa
5. Solidago spp.
6. Baptisia australis
7. Amsonia hubrichtii
8. Panicum virgatum

Health and Safety

Edibility:Not documented.
Edible Parts:Flowers, leaves
Poison Parts of Plant:Not documented
Toxic to Humans:No.
Toxic to Cats:Not documented.
Toxic to Dogs:Not documented.
Causes Contact Dermatitis:No.
Air Purification Qualities:Not documented
Medicinal Properties:Not documented.
Thorniness or Spikiness:No
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