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Coreopsis is a member of the Aster family, also known as tickseed.

It is a very pretty flower. It also yields a beautiful strong yellow/orange dye. It is considered to be one of the best natives’ of wild flowers. It is a bright and attractive flower, related to the daisy and black eyed Susan.

Blooms are small and daisy like with wiry stems. They grow to a height of about 18 inches, though this varies according to the variety – of which there are several.

It prefers a light sandy soil with good drainage and a sunny location, but cannot grow in the shade. It will thrive even in poor soil.

The blooms should be dead headed regularly to ensure they stay in bloom for a long period. As I mainly use the flower heads for dyeing I ensure this is done religiously! I then dry them and store in cardboard boxes.

Coreopsis is easy to grow from seed. Sow seeds early in the season covering lightly with coarse or sandy soil. Keep the soil moist until they germinate which will take about two weeks. Final spacing for each plant is about 10 inches apart.

Coreopsis is native to prairies and plains and so can tolerate dry weather conditions, although I do water mine from time to time and about twice a year I give them a weak solution of my comfrey fertiliser. Coreopsis does not require a rich soil and I take care not to over-do the feed, otherwise this would result in tall spindly stalks, which would not stand erect.

The flowers are hermaphrodite (have both male and female organs) and are pollinated by bees.

Butterflies are very attracted to coreopsis, so if you like to see butterflies flitting from flower to flower in the summer time coreopsis should be included in your gardening plan!

We sell coreopsis dyes and seeds at The Beehive Shop or online at www.dyeing-crafts.co.uk

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