Plant taxonomy classifies Becky shasta daisies as Leucanthemum x superbum (you will also see them referred to as Chrysanthemum x superbum and Chrysanthemum maximum). The cultivar name is 'Becky'. They are herbaceous perennials.
Becky shasta daisy can reach a height of 3 to 4 feet (with a spread of 2 to 3 feet), although yours may well remain shorter than that, depending on growing conditions, climate, etc. Clumps will expand over time, which is your cue to divide them. The plants flower profusely. Leaves are shiny to the eye and slick to the touch.
This clump-forming perennial flower blooms June-September. In fact, it is its long blooming period that makes this cultivar especially attractive, along with its drought-tolerance. The flowers exhibit the classic "daisy pattern" with white petals radiating from a central yellow disk. It can be grown in planting zones 5 through10.
One of this hybrid's parents is oxeye daisy (Leucanthemum vulgare), which while iconic in its native Europe, is considered invasive in parts of North America.
Sun and Soil Requirements, Wildlife and Pest Report
Plant in full sun (or partial sun in the South) and, preferably, a well-drained soil (although it is somewhat tolerant of clay soils). Becky shasta daisy is drought-tolerant once established.
Becky shasta daisy attracts bees, birds, and butterflies. Fortunately, it is not attractive to deer, making it an effective component in deer control; however, several kinds of bugs will attack it, including aphids, earwigs, leaf miners, and slugs. Here is the best way to control these tiny critters:
- Aphids and leaf miners: Spray with neem oil.
- Earwigs: These scary-looking pests are easily trapped. Lay down damp newspaper or cardboard in your garden; they will crawl under at night. In the morning, check your traps. Wearing sturdy garden gloves, remove the victims and dispose of them.
- Slugs: Use the same techniques as with hosta (another favorite target of slugs).
Leucanthemum is in the aster family. Many other genera use "daisy" as a common name, including:
In fact, the daisy is so common and/or popular that for some people, it is the epitome of the concept "flower," which is why it is used in such expressions as:
- Pushing up daisies (dead)
- Daisy chain (series of connected events)
- Fresh as a daisy (well-rested)
It is also one of those flowers that women have traditionally been named after.
Care, Other Cultivars, Uses in Landscape Design
Deadheading will promote further blooming on this perennial. Divide clumps of Becky shasta daisy every 2 to 3 years to maintain vigor and propagate. In addition to the problems listed above, the plants are occasionally plagued by leaf spot, nematodes, stem rot and more, but in the northern states of the U.S. and in Canada, these problems are rarely serious.
'Becky' is just one of many cultivars of Leucanthemum x superbum. Others include:
- 'Snow lady'
- 'Snow drift'
- 'White knight'
- ' ‘Sunnyside up'
Use Becky shasta daisy flowers in perennial flower borders. They also make a fine cut flower. Daisies are a drought-tolerant perennial, so they make good candidates for planting beds in hot regions, where many plants have difficulty holding up under the summer heat.
Origin of the Names
"Shasta" daisy is named after Mount Shasta in Northern California, not far from where this hybrid was developed by Luther Burbank. The word, "daisy" was originally "day's eye." An early metaphorical reference to the sun, "day's eye" was later applied to the sun-like appearance of this flower, with its central yellow disk surrounded by "rays."
As for the botanical name, the genus name is composed of two Greek words: leucos ("white") and anthos ("flower"). If you have studied plant names at all, you will be familiar with the latter, as it also appears in names such as Helianthemum and Chrysanthemum. The specific epithet refers, of course, to the plant's "superb" qualities. The cultivar name honors Becky Stewart, who along with her husband, Jimmy, was instrumental in promoting the plant in the nursery trade.