How to Grow and Care for English Daisies

English daisy (Bellis perennis) plants

Mandy Disher Photography / Getty Images

The English daisy is a dainty flower with a widely varying reputation. In some areas, it is considered a lovely garden flower, while in other areas it is viewed as a pesky weed. This type of daisy is undeniably cheery and pleasing to look at, even if you don’t particularly want them in the spot they decide to grow.

English daisies are perennial plants that grow up to 6 inches tall and produce flat rosettes of spoon-shaped leaves. The flower stems have no leaves and produce flowers with a ring of white, pink, or red rays encircling a yellow center.

Daisies with a single ring of rays are the most common type, but these cheery flowers also come in double flower varieties. This means they have double (or more) the amount of rays, giving the daisy a frilly appearance. 

Though perennials, these flowers are often grown as biennials or annuals. They are perfect for attracting bees and butterflies and make great additions to rock gardens, pollinator gardens, or wildflower meadows. They can also be used as a garden border or grown in containers. And if you are looking for something to brighten up your summer salad, the leaves and flowers are edible.

Botanical Name Bellis perennis
Common Name Common daisy, lawn daisy, English daisy
Plant Type Perennial
Mature Size 6 - 12 in. tall, 6 - 12 in. wide
Sun Exposure Full sun to partial shade
Soil Type Moist, well-draining
Soil pH Acidic, neutral, alkaline
Bloom Time Spring to summer
Flower Color White, pink, red
Hardiness Zones 4 to 8, USA
Native Area Europe
Toxicity Toxic to pets

English Daisy Care

They may appear small and unassuming, but English daisies have the potential to spread outside of your garden and become invasive. This may be undesirable for manicured landscaping, but wildflower gardens are a perfect place to let this spreading plant run wild. If you would like to keep your daisies from hopping any garden borders, these plants make wonderful additions to potted flower displays. 

General care for the English daisy is very minimal, making these flowers a great choice for a more hands-off gardening experience. Regular watering and the occasional deadheading are all that are required to keep these plants healthy and blooming.

Invasive Species

Some states and counties in the US have designated the English daisy an invasive species. Check with your local extension office before deciding to add one to your garden.

Light

The English daisy thrives in full sun to partial shade. However, they do not fare well in intense heat. If you live in an area with intense midday heat, it is best to provide afternoon shade to protect your daisies.

Soil

Considering that this flower is a prolific spreader, it comes as no surprise that English daisies can grow in a wide variety of soil conditions. However they do require soil that is moist and well-draining. By meeting these requirements, you can grow English daisies almost anywhere, including in containers. Just be sure that your pot has drainage holes.   

Water

English daisies prefer moist soil. Keeping a regular watering schedule will help these plants stay hydrated and healthy, particularly when the hotter summer months approach. Adding a layer of mulch around your daisies will help maintain needed moisture levels as well as moderate the temperature of the soil.

For potted daisies, you may need to water more often since they do not have access to deeper, underground water. 

Temperature and Humidity

English daisies like cool temperatures and do not tolerate excessive heat. In hot summers, it is not uncommon for English daisies to die off and require removal. However, they can withstand light frosts. Because they love moist soil, medium to higher humidity levels are ideal.   

Fertilizer

English daisies do not heavily soak up nutrients, but they still benefit from the occasional fertilizing. Use a  well-balanced, slow-release fertilizer in the spring. Depending on your soil, you may want to feed them once a month during their growing season.  

Is English Daisy Toxic?

Though non-toxic to humans, English daisies can be toxic for dogs, cats, or horses. Symptoms of toxicity include nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, allergic reactions, or muscle spasms.

Although consuming a small amount may not induce symptoms, be sure to keep your pet away from English daisy plants to minimize the opportunity for them to ingest larger amount that may prove fatal.

Varieties of English Daisy 

  • 'Galaxy Red': This deep red flower is a low-growing variety, making it perfect for borders. It sports a thick double frill of ruby red rays. 
  • 'Pomponette': This double variety has quilled rays which give these flowers a striking frilly appearance. They can be found in red, pink, or white. 
Bellis perennis 'Pomponette' variety
Bellis perennis 'Pomponette' variety A-Shropshire-Lad / Getty Images
  • 'Tasso Strawberries and Cream': As suggested by its name, this double variety boasts creamy pink and white blooms. Their creamy color makes them perfect companions for other soft-colored flowers.  
  • 'Habanera Mix': These daisies create stunning flowers with so many rays you may not even see the yellow centers. Being a mixed variety, this plant also produces a variety of colors including red, pink, white, and white with red or pink tips.    
English daisy 'Habanera' variety
English daisy 'Habanera' variety

Musat / Getty Images

Propagating English Daisy

English daisies can be propagated by division. It is best to divide English daisies either in the early spring or after they are done flowering.

  1. Using a garden shovel, gently dig around the entire daisy plant until the root system can be lifted from the ground. 
  2. Using the shovel or sharp garden snips, divide the plant into multiple sections. Ensure that each section has a healthy root system and foliage. 
  3. Replace the daisy into its original spot and transfer newly divided plants into new locations. 

How to Grow English Daisy from Seed

To start daisies from seed, simply collect and sow the seeds from the plant as soon as they are ripe. Seeds can be sown in the fall, but this timing is best in areas with mild winters. For areas with harsh winters, direct sow your seeds in the early spring. 

  1. Prepare the soil by mixing in compost or other organic material.
  2. Scatter the daisy seeds directly on top of the soil. 
  3. Do not cover them with soil. These seeds need light to germinate. 
  4. Keep your soil well-watered and moist. Seedlings should appear in 10 to 25 days.