This naturalizing perennial is drought tolerant and a good choice for restoration or conservation projects.
FIRST IMPRESSIONS: Coreopsis verticillata ‘Moonbeam’ is a rhizomatous perennial that grows in open bushy clumps. Plants have many slender upright stems that are clothed in pairs of deep green thread-like leaves. In summer stems are topped by pale creamy yellow daisies. Plants prefer a sunny or partly sunny site with dry or mesic soil. This fine textured perennial is more compact than the species and will mature into a 2’ mound.
HABITAT & HARDINESS: The parent species, Coreopsis verticillata, is native to the eastern U. S. from Massachusetts to Florida and west to Arkansas. Plants have been introduced into Ontario and Quebec.
Habitats include open rocky dry woods, open pineland, margins of woods, pine savannahs and post oak savannahs.
This cultivar was reported to have been selected by nurseryman Bill Archer in England and named for its unique flower color.
Plants are hardy from USDA Zones 3-9.
PLANT DESCRIPTION: Coreopsis verticillata ‘Moonbeam’ is a perennial wildflower with an open rounded form.
Leaves are opposite and very narrow. The blades are parted into 3 thread-like segments. Each blade has a pointed tip and no stalk or petiole. This fine textured foliage gives plants a quality of airiness.
From summer until early autumn plants bear a profusion of 1” pale lemon yellow flowers. Each of the daisy-like blossoms consists of slender yellow ray florets surrounding a golden cluster of disk florets.
Plants are generally 1.5-2’ tall with a 2’ spread.
CULTURAL & MAINTENANCE NEEDS: Coreopsis verticillata ‘Moonbeam’ is easy to grow in sunny dry or mesic sites. Plants thrive in infertile sandy and rocky soils and tolerate drought, low levels of salt, infertile soil, heat and humidity.
If soil is too rich or moist, stems become weak and plants tend to flop. In poorly drained sites this wildflower may be short lived.
Deadheading of spent flowers promotes a longer season of bloom. Most gardeners simply shear the entire plant in late summer to deadhead and neaten matted growth at the same time. Seedling volunteers are not a problem because this cultivar has sterile flowers.
Plants are relatively pest free and are also unpalatable to deer and other herbivores.
LANDSCAPE USES: This is a good Groundcover, Accent or Butterfly Nectar Plant for a Meadow or Wildlife Garden. Plants tolerate some salt and drought and can be used in seaside location if there is no direct salt spray. Coreopsis verticillata ‘Moonbeam’ has Showy Blooms and is appropriate for Cottage Gardens, Deer Resistant Plantings, Groupings or Mass Plantings, Rock Gardens, Water-wise Landscapes, Low Maintenance Plantings and Perennial Borders.
COMPANION & UNDERSTUDY PLANTS: Try pairing Coreopsis verticillata ‘Moonbeam’ with Asclepias tuberosa, Echinacea purpurea and Stokesia laevis.
The parent Coreopsis verticillata or the cultivar ‘Zagreb’ could be used as stand-ins.
TRIVIA: This popular cultivar was recognized in 1992 as Plant of the Year by the Perennial Plant Association.
Some speculate that ‘Moonbeam’ is actually a hybrid between Coreopsis verticillata and another unknown species. This cultivar is sterile as are many interspecific hybrids.
Compared to the ‘Zagreb’ cultivar, ‘Moonbeam’ has paler lemon yellow blooms, shorter blooming time and less tolerance to hot dry climates and heavy clay soils. Unlike the sterile ‘Moonbeam’, Coreopsis verticillata ‘Zagreb’ has viable seed and may produce unwanted seedlings.