'Becky' shasta daisy (Leucanthemum x superbum 'Becky'), a sturdy, hardy cultivar of the original shasta daisy, grows taller than most shasta daisy hybrids and features long-lasting, showy flowers. The blooms of this daisy measure three to four inches across and bear white petals surrounding a central bright yellow disk. 'Becky' shasta daisy sprouts from the garden on rigid stems that bear leathery, lance-shaped green leaves, and when fully mature, it grow up to three feet tall. It can be planted in the spring or early fall, and it is considered an aggressive spreader if you don't deadhead spent blooms and allow it to freely sow its seeds.
'Becky' shasta daisy is considered mildly toxic to people and pets.
|Common Name||Becky shasta daisy|
|Botanical Name||Leucanthemum x superbum 'Becky'|
|Plant Type||Herbaceous, perennial|
|Mature Size||3–4 ft. tall, 2–3 ft. wide|
|Hardiness Zones||5–9 (USDA)|
|Native Area||North America|
|Toxicity||Toxic to people and animals|
Becky Shasta Daisy Care
In proper growing conditions, 'Becky' shasta daisy requires little care. The plant grows tall but rarely requires staking due to its rigid stems. This flower is commonly used in a border, mixed into a perennial bed, or planted in a cutting garden. Deadheading (removing spent blooms) helps promote additional flowers during the growing season, and removing the flower heads before they go to seed prevents unwanted spread. You can divide this plant every two to three years to maintain its vigor by simply digging it up and separating the root system but keeping the plant clumps intact. Replant the smaller clumps wherever you wish.
Plant 'Becky' shasta daisy in a spot that receives full sun for at least six to eight hours a day for prolific flowering. In climates with especially hot summers, light shade in the afternoon can be beneficial. If your daisy grows leggy, lack of sun could be the reason.
'Becky' shasta daisy isn't picky about its soil type if the soil has good drainage. Soil that remains wet for too long can cause root rot, ultimately killing the plants. Make sure the soil is moderately fertile, but don't amend it with too much compost because overly fertile soil results in more foliage than flowers. Shasta daisy grows well in soil with a pH of 6.0 to 8.0.
'Becky' shasta daisy is drought-tolerant requiring only moderate amounts of water. During the first growing season, keep the soil lightly moist (but ensure that it doesn’t become soggy). Once mature, 'Becky' shasta daisy needs only one to two inches of water a week, either by rainfall or irrigation. Increase watering when your plants have noticeable signs of wilt.
Temperature and Humidity
Shasta daisy tolerates a fairly good range of temperatures, from hot conditions to cold nights. That said, extremely high temperatures can stress the plant, and a late-season frost can injure buds, preventing bloom. Providing a layer of mulch around the plant can help protect the roots from extreme temperature fluctuations.
This daisy prefers a humidity level of 60 percent or below and does not tolerate extremely humid climates. Humid conditions can contribute to waterlogged soil, causing the roots to rot.
'Becky' shasta daisy only requires fertilizer if the soil is very lean. In this instance, work a few shovels of organic compost into your existing garden bed before planting. Repeat this annually in the spring for best results.
Types of Shasta Daisy
The shasta daisy hybrid has been tweaked several times to achieve certain characteristics, like sturdy stems (exhibited by the 'Becky' variety) and compact height ('Snow Lady'). Choosing the best variety depends on your gardening goals and the planting location.
Here are a few favorites:
- ‘Esther Read’ variety has fluffy, pure white double flowers (flowers with extra petals) and pale yellow centers. This cultivar lacks the traditional center disk, and instead, features a petaled center.
- ‘Silberprinzesschen’ is a compact shasta daisy that grows 12 inches tall making it one of the shortest daisies available. This cultivar features abundant three-inch blooms and traditional yellow disks.
- ‘Snow Lady,’ is a compact variety that grows 12 inches tall and features the classic white daisy flowers that grow to two and a half inches in diameter. This cultivar has an exceptionally long bloom time.
- ‘Wirral Pride’ has a unique look with double flowers that seem to drop away from its petaled center, resembling an anemone. This variety grows one and a half to two feet tall.
'Becky' shasta daisy can be pruned at any time during its growing season to remove dead stems and spent flowers. Deadheading (removing shriveled flowers) encourages more blooms and lengthens the overall bloom time. Deadheading also helps control the spread of this aggressive perennial that easily propagates through self seeding.
Before the next growing season, prune the plant to three inches above ground. If you can tolerate a bit of winter untidiness, leaving perennials intact through the winter months provides shelter for insects and small animals.
Propagating Becky Shasta Daisy
Seasoned gardeners recommend dividing daisies each spring as soon as new growth appears. This helps foster the vitality of the plant while also discouraging its spread. Dividing your plants also allows you to plant divisions somewhere else on your landscape.
Here's how to propagate 'Becky' shasta daisy by division:
- Gather gloves, a spade shovel, a garden trowel, pruning shears, and compost.
- In the spring, carefully dig up your 'Becky' shasta daisy plant by breaking up the soil around the root zone (four to six inches around the plant).
- Shake off as much soil as possible and lay the plant and root ball on the ground on its side.
- Using the trowel, carefully separate segments of the root ball, making sure each division has healthy top growth.
- With shears, trim away any dead growth from the new divisions.
- Dig several holes, add a shovelful of compost to the planting hole, and plant the new divisions taking care to fully bury the roots. Do not plant any deeper than the parent plant had been growing.
- Thoroughly water in the parent plant and new plant divisions and keep them moist until the plants become established.
How to Grow 'Becky' Shasta Daisy From Seed
You can also grow 'Becky' shasta daisy from seed by sowing directly into your garden bed. However, don't expect this plant to flower in its first year. To do so, purchase seeds from a nursery and aerate your garden bed by adding peat to your soil. Sow the seeds directly into your garden once the soil temperatures reach 70 degrees Fahrenheit. Cover the seeds with 1/8 inch of soil and water them thoroughly. Seeds should germinate in 10 to 20 days. Once sprouted, thin healthy seedlings to achieve a two-foot margin around each plant. Keep the soil consistently moist during the first summer of growth.
Potting and Repotting 'Becky' Shasta Daisy
'Becky' shasta daisy can be grown in pots, however, this tall variety will need a large pot to accommodate its height and prevent it from toppling over. Choose a heavy, glazed ceramic pot with a drainage hole to keep the soil evenly moist and well-drained. Consider using pot feet to elevate the pot from sitting directly on garden soil or hard surface. Before adding soil, move the pot to its final, full-sun location. Fill the pot with an all-purpose potting soil that contains vermiculite. (It's not recommended to start daisies from seed if you're growing them in pots because they won't flower until the second year.) Water the plant until water drains from the drainage hole.
In the fall, prepare your daisy for winter by adding a few inches of mulch around the base of the plant to protect the root system. In warmer climates, your daisy might produce green growth throughout the winter. Simply continue pruning the dying foliage until spring.
Common Pests & Plant Diseases
'Becky' shasta daisy, like all daisies, occasionally becomes infected with a fungal disease called verticillium wilt. When infected, the plant quickly wilts and sometimes turns yellow. It’s recommended to remove and destroy plants with this disease because the fungus is hard to eradicate with a fungicide and can spread to other plants in your garden,
This plant is also susceptible to leaf spot, a fungal disease that presents as spots on the foliage. Spraying the plant with a mild solution of baking soda and water or an organic mix containing sulfur or copper octanate, can remedy this problem.
Common garden pests, like aphids and leaf miners can also affect 'Becky' shasta daisies. Control them by first reducing the population with hard blasts from the garden hose, and then spraying the plant with a neem oil-based organic insecticide.
How to Get Becky Shasta Daisy to Bloom
Proper growing conditions, like full sunlight and weekly waterings, will reward you with ample daisy blooms. Once the blooms become spent, cut the flower stem all the way back to the foliage to encourage new growth and more blooms. Dividing once a year also maintains a proper bloom cycle, as overgrown plants will produce fewer blooms and leggy stems.
Common Problems With 'Becky' Shasta Daisy
Over and underwatering are two of the most common issues with 'Becky' shasta daisy. Overwatering will provide conditions suitable for fungus and root rot and cuts off the roots from ample oxygen. This usually presents first on flowering stems. Underwatering can cause the center disks of the flowers to turn brown. If you see this happening, quickly revitalize your plant with a good watering. With consistent care, this issue should remedy itself quickly.
How do 'Becky' shasta daisies benefit a landscape?
'Becky' shasta daisies attract pollinators, like bees and butterflies, making them a great addition to a pollinator garden. You can also plant them close to a vegetable garden to promote pollination and increase the yield of vegetable plants like tomatoes and peppers.
How long do 'Becky' shasta daisies bloom?
Shasta daisies will bloom all summer long when cut frequently and deadheaded. It is also helpful to divide the plant every two to three years.
What other flowers grow well alongside 'Becky' shasta daisy?
'Becky' shasta daisy grows well alongside other summer bloomers with tall stems. Such flowers include coneflower, rudbeckia, bee balm, and Joe Pye weed.
Ucanr.edu, 2012, https://ucanr.edu/sites/poisonous_safe_plants/files/154528.pdf
“Daisy.” ASPCA, https://www.aspca.org/pet-care/animal-poison-control/toxic-and-non-toxic-plants/daisy