Coreopsis lanceolata, Lanceleaf Coreopsis

Coreopsis lanceolata is an easy, showy, sun-loving, drought tolerant perennial forb that attracts many butterflies and bees from late spring through mid- or late-summer, followed by birds which eat the seeds. In fact, Wikipedia says “Coreopsis lanceolata is useful for pollinator restoration in large urban cities, providing a food source for animals that drink the nectar and/or eat the seed.” (Wikipedia, 2023)


An Easy Cottage Garden Favorite

This particular Coreopsis is a shortlived perennial but self-sows readily, and the seeds are reliable germinators. They were some of the only seeds during our first year seed-growing project which produced bumper crops, and this was in spite of having sprouted before planting (we had delays getting our soil, during which time they held more than a month longer than they needed in the fridge – these are C30). Next year: a germination calendar!

Perfect for cottage gardens, wildlfower gardens, and short prairies. There is some of this growing at the back of the paved walking loop at the Jacksonville Cemetery on the hill up from downtown Floyd next to the Floyd Center for the Arts. It’s a fun place to photograph butterflies and bees on the cheery yellow flowers. Prefers full sun, well-drained soil, will flop over if overwatered, heavy clay soil can kill it during the winter by holding too much water. Mounded beds and compost can improve drainage. Deadheading the flowers will extend bloom time well into the summer.


A Keystone Species

The Flora speculates this popular cottage garden flower might be introduced to Virginia, but it is a Tallamy keystone species for native bees. Most other sources, including, U.S. Forest Service, Wikipedia call it native to Eastern and Central North America. While the Flora may be technically right, everything suggests that this is an easy, worthwhile flower to plant in the Floyd County garden. It is fecund without being persistent and so doesn’t behave as an invasive here. As long as its needs are met and it is regularly maintained to remove dead flower stalks, it can be grown in very decorative positions.

Global Status

Coreopsis lanceolata has been introduced to Japan and has unfortunately become invasive there, another reminder about why it is safest to plant natives! It has also been naturalized in Australia, and as you can see from the photo below, can grow in some pretty harsh and dry conditions.


Scientific Name

Coreopsis lanceolata

Other names: Long-stalk Coreopsis, lanceleaf tickseed, sand coreopsis, Coreopsis crassifolia, Coreopsis heterogyna, Coreopsis oblongifolia, Leachia crassifolia, Leachia lanceolata, Leachia trifoliata

Family: Asteraceae.

Native Status

Native Status Debated

Native Range Map (Virginia Counties) for Coreopsis lanceolata

Source: Digital Atlas of the Virginia Flora

Native to the eastern and central United States, according to Wikipedia (2023).

Other Floyd County native Coreopsis: C. major var. major, C. pubescens.

Culture Notes

Height: 2-3 ft, Spacing guide: 10"-16". Bloom Color: Yellow. Bloom Time: Late Spring (May-Jun). Light: Full sun to part shade. Moisture: Semi-dry to moist (submesic to subhydric) conditions. Soils: Well drained sand, loam, clay-loam.


USDA Zones: 3-9. National Wetland Status Indicator: FACU. C-Value: 0. Successional Role: Pioneer, post-disturbance.

Virginia Ecology

Virginia Habitat: "Roadsides, fields, and clearings. Frequent in the Piedmont and Coastal Plain, infrequent in the mountains." (The Flora, 2023). Virginia Natural Communities: None specified

Ecosystem Services

*Keystone for Lepidoptera, *Of Special Value to Native Bees, Supports Conservation Biological Control

Wildlife Supported: Hosts 7 species of Lepidoptera in the Floyd area, according to NWF's Native Plant Finder. Bees, wasps, butterflies, moths, flies, and beetles eat the pollen and nectar. Birds and small mammals eat the seeds.


Seed Germination:

Where to Buy

Local growers include Mother’s Child Farm, Spikenard Farms, and other Floyd Farmers Market vendors. By mail order, Prairie Moon Nursery, Prairie Nursery, New Moon Nursery, and many others.