The phrase “fresh as a daisy” resonates with everyone, and conjures memories of flower picking or daisy chain making with our favorite garden flowers. Learn about six classes of daisies that will give you enough blooms in the landscape for formal arrangements or casual kid harvests.
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The common English daisy, bellis perennis, has a somewhat-deserved reputation for being a weed due to its vigor and self-sowing nature. However, the cultivated semi-double and button varieties, like the ‘Galaxy Red’ type in this photo, are both showier and better behaved than the species. English daisies are hardy in USDA growing zones 4-8, but they perennialize better in regions with cool summer weather. If that doesn’t describe your area, try growing the plants as biennials by sowing in the fall for spring blooms.
02 of 06
The National Garden Bureau selected 2013 to be the “Year of the Gerbera,” declaring the pleasing shape and luminous colors of the flower to be irresistible to gardeners. Unlike some daisies, this South African native is a tender perennial, and is only hardy in zones 9 through 11. However, the plants can thrive in the container garden, and make fabulous cut flowers, as many florists and brides can attest to. The plants prefer morning sun, although full sun is tolerated in cooler climates. Irrigate the plants at soil level to keep water off the foliage, which promotes fungal diseases. Look for the ‘Festival’ series in a rainbow of colors, or try one of the lush, semi-double types like the creamy peach hues of ‘Cartwheel Chardonnay.’
03 of 06
The marguerite daisy, Argyranthemum frutescens, thrills gardeners with its blazing yellow and pink color choices. Marguerite daisies are annuals, so they won't return in your garden after winter, but you will get a full season of repeating blooms from your marguerites. Marguerite daisies are at their best during spring and fall when nighttime temperatures are below 75 degrees F. However, if you shear them back in the summer, they will bounce back with a new flush of blooms when autumn rains arrive.
04 of 06
What is considered a vigorous plant in one garden is considered a weed in another, and that is true for the oxeye daisy, Leucanthemum vulgare. The oxeye is a native flower of Europe, where the spreading nature of the plants and drought tolerance make it a pasture pest. However, in tamer settings, the one to three foot plants are welcome for their three month long bloom time. Consider using them in a small, well-kept wildflower garden, or allow them to naturalize in your cottage garden. The short-lived perennials are hardy in zones 3 through 8, but they are prohibited in a dozen continental states, so check with your local county Extension office before planting.Continue to 5 of 6 below.
05 of 06
The easy care and vivid blooms of Tanacetum coccineum deserve a spot in every cutting garden. Growing up to two feet tall in the sunny to partially shady garden, the painted daisy starts blooming in early summer, and may even put on a second, smaller showing in the fall if you deadhead the faded blooms. After the fernlike leaves appear in spring, watch out for aphids and leafminers. Varieties like ‘James Kelway’ pictured here are easy to start from seed, or try the pale pink ‘Eileen May Robinson.’
06 of 06
A cross of the oxeye daisy and three other wild daisies yielded the beloved Shasta daisy, Leucanthemum x superbum, named for Mt. Shasta in California. The large number of cultivars offer gardeners many different looks for the flower border, ranging from the yellow ‘Banana Cream’ to the frilly, fringed ‘Phyllis Smith’ pictured here. ‘Becky’ and ‘Alaska’ varieties are widely sold, and look like the classic daisy plant of many cottage gardens. The plants flower across a long season, but are at their peak in June and July. Although the plants are low maintenance, they don’t like wet feet, and will sometimes fail to reappear in the garden after a soggy winter. Divide the plants every two years to keep them vigorous.