How to Grow and Care for Crown Daisy

An Annual Grown for its Edible Leaves and Flowers

Crown daisy

Michal Boubin / Getty Images

Unlike other daisies, crown daisy is not primarily grown as an ornamental for its flowers but as an edible. Both the bittersweet, peppery leaves and the flowers are edible although the greens are what is mostly used. The leaves are either eaten fresh in a salad or as cooked greens. 

Crown daisy is a native of the Mediterranean that has widely naturalized in Asia, where it is a popular leaf vegetable. In seed catalogs, you might find it listed under Asian greens, its Japanese name, shingiku, or its Chinese name, tong hao. 

The plant has also naturalized in parts of North America to the point of becoming invasive in some areas such as southern California, where it chokes out native species such as native daisies. Crown daisy can invade disturbed areas, wasteland, and coastal dunes. 

If you are planning to grow crown daisy for its edible leaves, spring and fall is the best season, especially in warmer climates because summer heat intensifies the bitter taste of the leaves.

Tip

To make sure crown daisy does not spread beyond the garden bed, don’t let it go into seed after flowering and promptly remove the spent flowers or seed heads before the seeds can get dispersed by the wind.

 Common name  Crown daisy, garland daisy, edible chrysanthemum, shingiku, tong hao
 Botanical Name  Glebionis coronaria
Family   Asteraceae
 Plant Type  Annual
 Mature Size  2 to 4 ft. tall, 1 to 2 ft. wide
 Sun Exposure  Full sun, part shade
Soil Type  Sandy, clay, silt, loam, well-drained
 Soil pH   Acidic to alkaline (6.1 to 7.8)
 Bloom Time  Summer
 Flower Color  Yellow and white
 Hardiness Zones  5-9, USA
 Native Area  Mediterranean

Crown Daisy Plant Care 

Crown daisy is an easy annual to grow. There are only two things thing you need to keep in mind when growing crown daisy: don’t allow the dense plants from getting overcrowded—thin them out, and make sure that the plants do not escape cultivation and become invasive.

You should thin small plants to 4 to 6 inches apart, and taller plants to 10 to 12 inches apart. 

The leaves can be harvested when young and tender or fully mature. 

The leaves of the crown daisy are edible
The leaves of the crown daisy are edible

okugawa / Getty Images

Light

Crown daisy can be grown in full sun or part shade. If you grow it primarily for the leaves, shade is fine. To promote flowering, plant it in a sunny location. 

Soil

The plant adapts well to any type of soil, as long as it is well-drained, moist, damp but not wet, and rich in nutrients and organic matter. 

Water

Young seedlings need constantly moist soil. Water regularly in the absence of rain. Once the plants are well-established, crown daisy only needs watering during dry spells. 

Temperature and Humidity

As a native of southern Europe, crown daisy is not frost tender. The optimal growing temperature is between 68 and 84 degrees F. In hot summer weather, crown daisy might flower prematurely. 

Fertilizer

If the soil was fertile and rich in organic matter to start with, there is no need for fertilization.

Broadleaf crown daisy
Broadleaf crown daisy

by IAISI / Getty Images

Types of Crown Daisy

There are two types of crown daisy, broadleaf and narrowleaf. The leaves of the broadleaf types are also thicker which makes them more tolerant to hot summer weather. The narrow leaves are thinner and often frilly; the plants have a brighter green color than the broadleaf varieties. 

Propagating Crown Daisy

Crown daisy can be propagated from seed. Before collecting seeds, make sure what you have grown in your garden is an open-pollinated variety and not a hybrid, so that the plants will be true to their parents.

Collect the seeds from the spent flowers. The seeds are very small, similar to lettuce seeds.

How to Grow Crown Daisy From Seed

In the early spring, in a well-prepared garden bed, sow the seeds in a row, ¼ inch deep and 2 inches apart, leaving 18 inches between rows. Thin the seedlings as they grow, and keep them moist at all times.

If you are living in a warmer climate with a late first frost date, you can also plant a second crop in the fall. Check the days to maturity on the seed package. For baby leaves, it takes about 30 days to maturity, and for full-size greens, 45 days. Count back from your average first frost in the fall and time your planting so that you get to harvest the greens before the first fall frost.

Common Pests & Plant Diseases 

Crown daisy is not affected by any major pests and diseases.

FAQ
  • Is crown daisy the same as chrysanthemum?

    No, it’s not the same. Crown daisy is a plant in the daisy family. Its former botanical name was Chrysanthemum coronarium, which led to the confusion with chrysanthemum.

  • Is crown daisy perennial or annual?

    It is an edible annual plant grown for its greens and edible flowers.

  • What is Chinese crown daisy?

    Chinese crown daisy is the same as crown daisy, a leaf green in the daisy family. Its Chinese name is called tong ho, and in Chinese cuisine it is used in vegetable stir fries.

  • Are crown daisy flowers edible?

    They are edible flowers but make sure that they have not been sprayed with any pesticides or insecticides that are often applied to ornamentals because those make the flowers unsafe for consumption. Also, correctly identifying edible flowers before eating them is crucial.