Stiff Coreopsis

Coreopsis palmata

Description & Overview

Stiff Coreopsis can handle many soil types and all the heat while gifting us with pretty, long-lasting yellow flowers in late summer followed by orange to purple foliage in the fall. This perennial is a hardy, reliable Wisconsin native that butterflies (and many others) absolutely love. Its leaf shape, palmately veined with long, thin lobes that resemble fingers or crow’s feet, distinguishes it from other species of Coreopsis.

May also be known as Stiff Tickseed, Finger Coreopsis, or Prairie Coreopsis.

Core Characteristics

Mature Height: 12-36 inches
Mature Spread: 15 inches
Growth Rate: Fast
Growth Form: Perennial
Light Requirements: Full Sun
Site Requirements: Tolerates many soil types plus heat, humidity, and drought
Flower: Bright Yellow
Bloom Period: Mid to Late Summer
Foliage: Dark Green
Fall Color: Orange/Purple
Fruit Notes: Achene

Suggested Uses:

Stiff Coreopsis spreads very easily in loamy, moist to dry, well-drained soil. This is a great plant for a spacious native garden or a naturalized prairie.

For borders, or in a site where control of spread is needed then it would be best if planted in poor soil to slow the spread, though it will likely eventually need to be thinned out.

Great for erosion control on a sunny slope. Does very well in rocky and sandy soils.

The flower grows singly on a rather stiff stem looks lovely in cut flower arrangements.

Wildlife Value:

Stiff Coreopsis produces copious amounts of nectar and spreads easily. As a result, a lot of insects are attracted to it. A whole lot. Digger, cuckoo, leaf-cutting, Halictid bees, wasps, butterflies, skippers, moths, flies and beetles, and many types of flies all visit Stiff Coreopsis.

Large groupings or plantings of Stiff Coreopsis will attract monarchs in droves, as they seek nectar. Learn more about how to attract monarch to your yard.

Some ecologically valuable predatory insects prey upon pest insect species.

The larvae of two moths, Wavy Line Emerald and the Common Tan Wave, feed on the flower heads. Several species, such as the Coreopsis Leaf Beetle, feed off plant juices.

Livestock, deer, and rabbits all sometimes feed on Coreopsis, and birds feast on the seeds during winter.

Maintenance Tips:

Easy to grow, spreads readily through rhizomes to form dense patches. Grows in many soil types. To prevent spread, plant in sandy, poor, or rocky soils and even try limiting to part shade. Deadheading prevents it from self-seeding.

If the foliage looks untidy can be cut back in the summer.


Overall there are not very many issues with Coreopsis. May attract aphids, and others that damage foliage but the plant is hardy and abundant. Some mammals have been known to snack on the foliage as well.

Leaf Lore:

Name: Stems are stiff, thus the name Stiff Coreopsis. The species name, palmata, is for the palmate lobing of its leaves.

Commonly called Tickseed because the seeds resemble ticks

Historical Uses: Petals have been used to make a yellow dye that was used to dye wool.

Companion Plants:

Plant with other native perennials! Leadplant, Pale Purple Coneflower, Sky Blue Aster, Prairie Smoke, White Prairie Clover, Blazing Stars, Prairie Dropseed Grass, and Butterflyweed would all would look beautiful paired with Stiff Coreopsis.

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