Tricks with Coreopsis


You can do tricks with Coreopsis. That was one of many revelations during my 2014 season at the City of Coquitlam. Working under city gardener Tracey Mallinson was a rewarding experience, even though I had to face my fears many times.

Equisetum problem

Horsetail (Equisetum) is a living fossil. It’s the only living genus in Equisetaceae, a family of vascular plants that reproduced by spores rather than seeds.

Its leaves are reduced and usually non-photosynthetic; and formed into whorls fused into nodal sheaths.

Stems are green and photosynthetic, hollow, jointed and ridged. You will know this well if you ever had the pleasure of weeding this plant.  It’s a nasty chore. Success is elusive. Years ago, before municipalities banned chemicals, the prominent landscape company I worked for would use unbelievable cocktails to fight this plant.

Enter Coreopsis

Enter Coreopsis. Tickseed can be an annual or perennial. Its sunny, summer blooming daisy-like flowers are popular with gardeners. They also attract butterflies. If you deadhead the flowers you will get more blooms.


Bright yellow happy flowers



Here is the brilliant trick. Look closely at both plants and note how similar their green foliage is. So instead of fighting a nasty battle with weedy horsetails, why not mix in Coreopsis? People will be distracted from weedy horsetails. They will notice the bright yellow flowers. Because horsetail leaves are reduced they blend in nicely.

I thought this was a brilliant trick. Growing nice yellow flowers, attracting butterflies and hiding horsetails. No need to weed almost weekly.


Are you ready to see an example? The bed below is located next to a playground on a high-profile corner. You have to get up close to see the horsetail.



Next time you find a corner full of horsetails, don’t fight them. Plant Coreopsis and save yourself hours of weeding. You might even attract butterflies. Share this trick.


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