Two plants I can never grow-Coreopsis & Lavendar

dirtdigger_2006May 17, 2010

I am a pretty good gardiner but for the life of me can't seem to grow coreopsis or lavendar! I had a beautiful lavendar (a gift from a good friend) and killed it by cutting it down for the winter, and can't ever seem to overwinter coreopsis. Both are planted in full sun. What's my problem? I plant everything with native soil and leaf gro. Thanks

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I'm the same way with Petunias. Everyone can grow them but ME. lol.

What type of Coreopsis do you have? Mine from last year came back. I just stuck them in the ground, a mixture of sand and clay, mulched them and let them grow. I hardly ever fertilized them because I'm lazy. :)

I did the same with Lavender. I do know that Coreopsis MUST be deadheaded for continual bloom, which is a pain if the flowers are the teeny tiny ones.

    Bookmark   May 17, 2010 at 10:54AM
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arbo_retum(z5 ,WinchstrMA)

i think the answer is GREAT DRAINAGE. of course, someone may come along and say i'm completely wrong, but i would advise adding coarse builder's sand (turkey grit) to and slightly mounding- the spot where you want them. lavender in particular thrives with hot dry conditions; try planting it next to a paved area, or put a rock next to it to absorb and reflect heat.


    Bookmark   May 17, 2010 at 11:00AM
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I don't prune Lavenders untill Spring only the blooms! Old growths act as Winter protection.

Agree w/ Mindy - **GREAT DRAINAGE** - if your native soil is clay, dig up a much larger hole than recommended, back-fill w/ sandy mix & w/ a bit of compost. I've used sand, turkey grit, pea pebbles or etc. my 2 oldies (20+y/o) planted during my 'clueless' dirt-digging days survived, perhaps because of the sloping bed they were in & a nearby tree slurping much of the excesses!

    Bookmark   May 17, 2010 at 12:10PM
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cnm7(7a Albuquerque)

Yes they need fast drainage. If your soil can't accomodate, maybe grow them in a container. I cut my lavender back in the Spring, just above new growth.

    Bookmark   May 17, 2010 at 2:00PM
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mad_gallica(zone 5 - eastern New York)

Here, actually drainage isn't an issue. They grow just fine in fairly heavy clay, in an area with a fair amount of water running around most of the time. What we do have is lime.

    Bookmark   May 17, 2010 at 2:14PM
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I am very near you in Suffolk and have not had much luck with either plant if it is any consolation.

I had one coreopsis that came back the following year fairly well, but then died over the next winter. I am on year 2 with another one now and it has been blooming fairly well- although I have not kept up with the deadheads as I should. Hoping it will do well and persevere.

I am on year 3 now with some lavender, but honestly it is not thriving. I have left it alone and did not cut it back at all and for the first time it is flowering right now and growing just the tiniest bit larger, although not much. I have thought about moving it somewhere hotter. Odd though the planting tag had advised somewhere with partial sun and it really does not seem thrilled there.

    Bookmark   May 17, 2010 at 4:05PM
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albert_135(Sunset 2 or 3)

The spouse bought six lavender plants five years ago. Each winter one dies. There is one left now. Don't know why.

Someone once did a thread on plants experienced growers fail to grow. It was quite interesting.

    Bookmark   May 17, 2010 at 4:17PM
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Drainage, drainage, drainage, drainage ... did anyone mention drainage?

That, and coreopsis is fairly short-lived as perennials go even if it's happy ... and lavender likes a bit of lime.

    Bookmark   May 17, 2010 at 5:33PM
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terrene(5b MA)

Over 20 years ago, at my previous house, I started some Lavender plants from seed. I wasn't a very experienced gardener then, but those seeds eventually produced a large patch of gorgeous lavender plants that bloomed for years.

I dug some up and brought them here to this house. Planted them out, and they promptly died over the winter. Purchased and planted small lavender plants 2 more times in other spots in the yard, and both times they died over the winter. :(

The weird thing is, my lot is sandy loam, upland and generally well drained. Have no idea why lavender hasn't succeeded here. Maybe I should try again?

    Bookmark   May 17, 2010 at 6:59PM
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grinder12000(4 now 5 I guess)

I have Coreopsis in heavy heavy clay and the do wonderful! Coreopsis are clay lovers and grow BEST in heavy clay. They are the backbone of my clay garden. This is at the bottom of a hill and I had to make a coreopsis canal to funnel water through the garden or else it would have standing water.

Photo taken July 25 2009

I tried to grow them in rich soil and they never survived but at the bottom of my hill they thrive. Dead heading is easy - just give them a hair cut - like you would do with grasses.

WARNING - that is loosestrive in the back (white pine cone things) that stuff is unkillable - ONE year and the yare trying to take over the garden. this garden is 3 years old!

Here is a link that might be useful: Lasagna Gardening for beginners blog

    Bookmark   May 17, 2010 at 11:18PM
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As for the lavender, did anyone mention drainage ? :) Also, I killled a few
before learning about NOT cutting back into the lower woody stems. . .and pruning should be done in earliest Spring, not the Fall. Nowadays, my luck
with lavender is 100%.

The one coreopsis that ALWAYS seems to come back here, without fail, is
Coreopsis verticillata 'Zagreb'. . .on the other hand, C. vert. 'Moonbeam',
which I happen to like for it's soft yellow color and ability to blend, gets
treated as an annual - it refuses to come back for me. C'est la guerre. . .


    Bookmark   May 17, 2010 at 11:48PM
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laceyvail(6A, WV)

Lavender require not only soil that drains well, but soil that is on the lean side. Don't feed lavender.

As for Coreopsis, Darrel Probst, the famous Epimedium man, has begun hybridizing Coreopsis. Until this year, he has only wholesaled them, but they are now available from his nursery, Garden Vision (the website will tell you how to order a catalog. You can't order on line or by phone.) He suggests dividing his hybrids ever three years, and says no deadheading is necessary. They are all large, long blooming hybrids.

    Bookmark   May 18, 2010 at 6:04AM
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nancyd(5/Rochester, NY)

For me, it's trying different varieties. "Zagreb" is a one of the most foolproof varieties of coreopsis I've ever had. If you find it, buy a plant and try it. Whereas it's taken me a few years to get "Moonbeam" to stick. Lavendar is the same way. Some varieties do better than others. However, they all hate wet soil, esp. over the winter. Wet winter soil is the death knell for lavendar. Plant it in a dry, sunny location and I'll bet you'll be OK. I planted a new lavendar last year about 4 feet further from the gutter and I see it's come back strong this year. Sometimes that's all it takes. I never prune lavendar after August. Let it get woody and leave it alone until late spring. It's worth continued attempts - I LOVE that scent.

    Bookmark   May 18, 2010 at 4:26PM
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arbo_retum(z5 ,WinchstrMA)

albert, gencaf, grinder, please add your zone and location to your i.d. Otherwise, we really can't relate to your experience! see how the rest of us include that info so we don't have to ask each other?

terrene, isn't it so interesting that "Clay is Fine" and "great drainage" are both valid responses?!it sounds like, from madgal and mary, that lime is a good thing to try. i done give up on lavender many years ago, myself!!


    Bookmark   May 18, 2010 at 6:13PM
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There are many things I cannot grow, but coreopsis and lavendar are not among them. They are actually very easy, carefree perennials if they are in a sunny, dry spot. They seem to like to be left alone, don't pamper them, don't water too much (keep them on the dry side!), definitely deadhead the coreopsis. As for the lavendar, don't prune it back in the spring until the new growth is starting. At least, that is what works for me. Lavendar can sometimes be winter killed, although the for original poster, from zone 7, it should not be a problem. In zone 5, I grow Munstead lavendar, it seems to be the hardiest of the lavendars for me.

    Bookmark   May 18, 2010 at 7:49PM
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Maryl zone 7a

When I first began to garden 20+ years ago, one of the best pieces of advice that was given to me is to look around at what naturally grows wild in my local area. One of those things was the abundance of the annual Coreopsis. It surprised me because I had read about Coreopsis needing such good drainage, and our soil is heavy clay....Lavender dislikes our humid summers, but I've had the Munstead variety make it up to 4 years before finally dying out. Further on down the road from us they even have a Lavender farm. Their soil is not the heavy clay we have so I'm assuming their Lavender lasts longer. And just to put things in perspective. I tried growing a Peony for 3 years with no success. I gave it to my neighbor who stuck it in the ground and the next year it began blooming and has continued to do so ever since. Some times only mother nature knows why things do what they do.

    Bookmark   May 19, 2010 at 3:43PM
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I have new lavendar plants, have read many of the questions here about drainage, sun and Promix, but I'm beginning to wonder about my zone. Will these plants thrive here in north Florida, zone 8b, in a dry sunny spot, or am I going to be wasting my time? Quite humid here. . .

    Bookmark   May 18, 2011 at 7:57PM
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buyorsell888(Zone 8 Portland OR)

I grow lavender and have for years in clay soil that has been amended with compost but I can't get coreopsis to live.

I've killed three 'Autumn Blush' recently and at least six 'Moonbeam' a few years ago. I talked to Dan Heims from Terra Nova (they had an open house) who released 'Autumn Blush' and he said it needs great drainage.

    Bookmark   May 19, 2011 at 12:10PM
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buyorsell888: Thanks for your reply. I am going to try growing with Pro-mix and see if I can't make them live. A dry period right now is helping them grow in pots. My plan is to put three in a large whiskey barrel type pot, with lots of holes drilled in the bottom.

Isn't it remarkable that Portland, OR and Tallahassee, FL could have the same agricultural zone!

    Bookmark   May 20, 2011 at 5:23PM
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shpnquen(z5, IN)

I planted lavendar last year for the 1st time & it made it through the winter, but now it looks like it has died although, when I tug on it gently, it feels firm in the ground like the roots are still alive. It's in a dry, sandy & limestoned area. Not doing anything with it yet.

I cannot grow Moonbeam Coreopsis (killed 3 in 3 yrs), but I have been able to grow Redshift fabulously & I love the light yellow color with the maroon centers & sometimes they look paint splattered with less yellow once it starts cooling off. I have ALL sandy soil & these are in humid full sun (during peak season)

    Bookmark   May 21, 2011 at 9:40PM
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buyorsell888(Zone 8 Portland OR)

USDA climate zones only take cold temps into consideration not heat or humidity. Plants that thrive in zone 8 in the South often don't thrive out here where we only get a few days over 80* a year.

    Bookmark   May 22, 2011 at 12:07PM
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