Tickseed (Coreopsis Rosea ‘Alba’)

Plant: Table of Contents

The Wonderful World of Tickseed (Coreopsis rosea ‘Alba’)

Welcome to the fascinating world of tickseed! In this comprehensive guide, we will delve into the captivating characteristics, growth habits, care requirements, and various uses of the tickseed plant, particularly the Coreopsis rosea ‘Alba’ variety. Whether you are a seasoned gardener, a landscape enthusiast, or simply someone who admires the beauty of nature, this article is designed to provide you with a wealth of knowledge about this delightful plant.

What is Tickseed (Coreopsis rosea ‘Alba’)?

Tickseed, scientifically known as Coreopsis, is a genus of flowering plants in the Asteraceae family, commonly referred to as the aster, daisy, or sunflower family. The Coreopsis rosea, with the ‘Alba’ cultivar specifically, is a charming perennial plant that is cherished for its delicate white flowers and graceful, feathery foliage. It is a native of North America and is renowned for its resilience, adaptability, and its ability to attract pollinators to the garden.

Key Takeaways – Tickseed (Coreopsis rosea ‘Alba’)

Before we dive into the details of tickseed care and cultivation, let’s take a moment to highlight some of the key takeaways associated with this captivating plant:

  • Scientific Name: Coreopsis rosea ‘Alba’
  • Common Name: Tickseed
  • Plant Type: Perennial
  • Flower Color: White
  • Foliage: Feathery and green
  • Sunlight: Full sun to partial shade
  • Watering: Low to moderate water needs
  • Soil Type: Well-draining, loamy soil
  • Height: 12-18 inches (30-45 cm)
  • Spread: 12-24 inches (30-60 cm)
  • Hardiness Zones: 4-9
  • Attracts: Butterflies, bees, and other pollinators
  • Special Features: Suitable for cut flowers and wildlife gardens

Now that we have a brief overview of what tickseed entails, let’s explore the various aspects of its cultivation, maintenance, and its myriad uses.


Understanding the cultural requirements of the tickseed plant is paramount for ensuring its optimal growth and development. From watering and fertilization to sunlight exposure and soil preferences, let’s explore the key cultural aspects of cultivating Coreopsis rosea ‘Alba’.


Tickseed, particularly the Coreopsis rosea ‘Alba’ variety, is renowned for its adaptability to various moisture levels. While it is relatively drought-tolerant once established, it thrives best when provided with moderate and consistent moisture, particularly during periods of prolonged drought or high temperatures.

  • Watering Tips:
  • For newly planted tickseed, ensure regular watering to help establish a healthy root system.
  • Once established, water deeply but infrequently, allowing the soil to partially dry out between watering sessions.
  • During periods of extreme heat or dryness, provide supplemental watering to prevent the soil from becoming excessively dry.


Tickseed is a sun-loving plant that flourishes in bright and sunny locations. When grown in optimal sunlight, the Coreopsis rosea ‘Alba’ variety produces an abundance of flowers and maintains its compact, bushy growth habit.

  • Sunlight Requirements:
  • Full Sun: At least 6-8 hours of direct sunlight per day is ideal for robust flowering and overall plant vigor.
  • Partial Shade: While tickseed can tolerate some shade, it may result in reduced flowering and a slightly leggy growth habit. Aim to provide it with as much sunlight as possible for best results.


While tickseed is relatively low-maintenance in terms of fertilization, providing it with a balanced, all-purpose fertilizer can contribute to healthier foliage and increased flower production.

  • Fertilizing Guidelines:
  • Apply a slow-release, balanced fertilizer in early spring as new growth begins to emerge.
  • Avoid excessive fertilization, as this may lead to lush foliage at the expense of flowering.


Tickseed thrives in well-draining, loamy soil that is rich in organic matter. It is adaptable to various soil types, provided that they do not become waterlogged.

  • Soil Preferences:
  • Loamy Soil: Tickseed performs best in soil that is well-draining and rich in organic content.
  • pH Range: Ideally, the soil pH for tickseed should be slightly acidic to neutral (pH 6.0-7.0).
  • Soil Amendments: Incorporating organic compost or well-aged manure can enhance soil structure and fertility.


Pruning is an important aspect of tickseed maintenance, as it promotes a tidy appearance, encourages bushier growth, and prolongs the plant’s flowering period.

  • Pruning Tips:
  • Deadheading: Regularly remove spent flowers to encourage continuous blooming and prevent self-seeding.
  • Shearing: Light shearing of the foliage after the first wave of flowering can promote a compact and bushy growth habit.


Coreopsis rosea ‘Alba’ can be propagated through several methods, including seed sowing, division, and stem cuttings.

  • Propagation Techniques:
  • Seed Sowing: Collect seeds from mature tickseed plants and sow them in well-prepared seed-starting mix in early spring.
  • Division: Divide mature plants in early spring or late summer to create new and vigorous specimens.
  • Stem Cuttings: Take 3-4 inch (7-10 cm) stem cuttings from healthy plants and root them in a well-draining rooting medium.

Container Popularity

The compact size and attractive appearance of tickseed make it a popular choice for container gardening. Whether grown in individual pots or combined with other complementary plants, Coreopsis rosea ‘Alba’ adds a touch of elegance to container gardens, balconies, and patios.

  • Container Gardening Tips:
  • Use well-draining potting mix and ensure adequate drainage holes in the container.
  • Water container-grown tickseed carefully, allowing excess water to escape freely to prevent waterlogging.
  • Position containers in areas that receive ample sunlight to promote healthy growth and flowering.

Common Diseases

While tickseed is generally resistant to many common plant diseases, certain environmental factors and cultural practices may predispose it to specific issues.

Disease Diagnosis

Being proactive in identifying and addressing potential diseases is crucial for preserving the health and beauty of tickseed plants.

  • Common Diseases:
  • Powdery Mildew: A fungal disease that manifests as a powdery white coating on the foliage.
  • Cercospora Leaf Spot: Characterized by small, dark spots on the leaves, often surrounded by a yellow halo.
  • Root Rot: Caused by overly wet or poorly draining soil, leading to wilting, yellowing foliage, and overall decline.
  • Botrytis Blight: Results in gray mold on the flowers and stems, particularly in humid conditions.

Common Pests

Tickseed is relatively resistant to pest infestations, but it may occasionally encounter certain pests that can impact its growth and vitality.

  • Pest Prevention:
  • Aphids: These small, sap-sucking insects can cluster on the buds and new growth, causing distortion and stunted growth.
  • Spider Mites: These arachnids feed on the undersides of leaves, leading to stippling, yellowing, and weakened plant vigor.
  • Leaf Miners: The larvae of certain insects can tunnel within the leaves, resulting in unsightly patterns and reduced photosynthetic capacity.

Botanist’s Tips

As a plant scientist who appreciates the intricacies of tickseed cultivation, I would like to share some additional insights and recommendations for cultivating and enjoying this beautiful plant:

  • Attracting Pollinators: Integrate tickseed into pollinator-friendly gardens to attract bees, butterflies, and other beneficial insects.
  • Companion Plants: Pair tickseed with other sun-loving perennials such as coneflowers (Echinacea), black-eyed Susans (Rudbeckia), and ornamental grasses for a vibrant and diverse landscape.
  • Drought Tolerance: While tickseed prefers moderate moisture, it exhibits excellent drought tolerance once established, making it well-suited for water-wise landscapes.
  • Wildlife Gardens: Embrace the ecological importance of tickseed by incorporating it into wildlife-friendly gardens, providing habitat and sustenance for various creatures.

Fun Facts

To enrich your appreciation for tickseed and its remarkable qualities, here are some intriguing and delightful fun facts about this enchanting plant:

  1. The genus name “Coreopsis” is derived from the Greek words “koris,” meaning “bedbug,” and “opsis,” meaning “resembling,” alluding to the appearance of the seeds.
  2. Tickseed flowers are known for their prominent central disc, which is often rich in nectar and pollen, attracting a myriad of pollinators.
  3. In traditional herbal medicine, certain Native American tribes used various species of Coreopsis for its medicinal properties, including as a treatment for respiratory ailments and skin conditions.

Links to External Resources

For further exploration of tickseed (Coreopsis rosea ‘Alba’) and related topics, I recommend the following external resources:

In conclusion, the tickseed, particularly the Coreopsis rosea ‘Alba’ variety, stands as a testament to the enduring charm and versatility of garden perennials. Its ethereal white blooms, coupled with its ease of care and diverse horticultural applications, make it a cherished and valuable addition to any garden or landscape. By understanding and embracing the cultural requirements, propagation techniques, and ecological benefits of tickseed, we can perpetuate its timeless allure and contribute to the rich tapestry of botanical diversity in our surroundings.

I hope this comprehensive guide has provided you with a deeper understanding and appreciation of the captivating tickseed and its many wondrous attributes. Happy gardening, and may your outdoor spaces be graced with the enchanting presence of tickseed’s delicate beauty.

Picture of Peter Taylors

Peter Taylors

Expert botanist who loves plants. His expertise spans taxonomy, plant ecology, and ethnobotany. An advocate for plant conservation, he mentors and educates future botanists, leaving a lasting impact on the field.