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Terra Nova at 30! (And Some Hot Pollinators)

Terra Nova at 30! (And Some Hot Pollinators)

By Dan Heims, president, Terra Nova Nurseries, Inc.
Photographs courtesy of Terra Nova Nurseries, Inc.

Hiya, campers! Our featured plant choice this month is the genus Coreopsis. Very few plants have the flower-power, heat tolerance and gardener/pollinator votes as do these gems. Coreopsis comes in a number of annual and perennial forms. Some are giants, more than seven feet tall, others are in the “gardener range” of height, from sixteen to twenty-four inches tall. Tolerant of most soils, except for clay, they reward the grower with little need for extra water or fertilizer. 

Newer varieties with Coreopsis verticillata heritage are bushier than the species and can be used in the landscape in large numbers for season-long interest. These are also a fantastic way to add hot colors to containers. Heavy with nectar and pollen, these plants always seem to have pollinators hanging out. These have also been bred to not show the old blooms as new blooms constantly poke through the old, giving the plants a fresh appearance.

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Coreopsis 'Firefly'

Perfectly formed compact mounds of dense, thread-like foliage are blanketed with startling yellow and red bi-colored flowers. Underneath the sheer beauty of this plant is the rock hardiness of C. verticillata breeding. Super easy to grow with the added feature of powdery mildew resistance! This is definitely a plant for the front of the border or in a mixed container. Versatile, easy, and just fun! Full bloom starts in June and will continue until October. Hardy from zones 5-10. The foliage height is ten inches high by fifteen inches wide. Flowers reach twelve inches tall and are great as a cut. They prefer full sun.

Coreopsis 'Firefly'

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Coreopsis 'Lightning Bug'

This brightly colored coreopsis is covered with large, red-eyed, gold flowers. The self-cleaning blooms cover the top of the low, compact habit (like 'Firefly'). Loved by bees and butterflies. A one-year plant will spread to about fifteen inches and the flowering height will be twelve inches tall. Charming and useful in containers, edges and in mass. Hardy in zones 5-10. These cute little “bugs” will flower from June to October. Use where you might have used masses of French marigolds. When the season ends, they can be cut back and will resprout the next spring without the cost of replanting.

Coreopsis 'Lightning Bug'

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Coreopsis 'Ladybird'

This new verticillata hybrid ups the bar. Like a traditional verticillata it is very hardy, however 'Ladybird' is more compact and resistant to powdery mildew, which is a big problem for non-Terra Nova varieties. Red flowers over bright green leaves provide an excellent colorspot in the garden. The foliage height is ten inches high by fifteen inches wide. Flowers reach twelve inches tall and are great as a cut. Happiest in full sun, it will reward users from USDA Plant Hardiness Zones 5-10 with flowers from June to September. Beautiful en-masse or in the mixed border. When working up combos look to mix the coreopsis with low and tall grasses and tall, bold-leaved plants like salvia.

Coreopsis 'Ladybird'

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Coreopsis 'Bengal Tiger'

Fiery flowers glow red and gold, like tiger eyes, on this gorgeous garden star. Extra hardy C. verticillata breeding makes this a legend for every area of the U.S. 'Bengal Tiger' has a clean, manicured habit and feathery, mildew-resistant foliage that brings our breeding program up a notch against the competition. A constant performer for garden and containers. Each layer of flowers covers the previous bloom cycle. Multiple layers of blooms extend the season! Happiest in full sun, it will reward users from zones 5-10 with flowers from June to October. The foliage height is twenty inches high by twenty-four inches wide. Flowers on this compact variety reach twenty inches tall.

Coreopsis 'Bengal Tiger'

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Coreopsis 'Ruby Frost'

Large, deep ruby-red flowers are fringed with a collar of frosty white. Plant habit is choice, with its flowers held up elegantly. This plant has been prominently featured in Birds & Blooms Magazine. Truly a color breakthrough in the world of Coreopsis. Blooming from June to September, this contrasty gem is hardy in zones 6-10. Needs full sun for best appearance. The foliage height is sixteen inches high by thirty-two inches wide. Flowers are tight to the foliage at thirty-two inches tall. Full bloom starts in June and will continue until August.

Coreopsis 'Ruby Frost'

Dan Heims is an award-winning author who lectures throughout the world. He was recently honored by The American Horticultural Society with the Luther Burbank Breeding Award, as well as the Perennial Plant Association’s Award of Merit. He was honored by receiving the Royal Horticultural Society’s Reginald Cory Cup for advancements in breeding.

You may contact Dan at [email protected]


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