The Nippon daisy (Nipponanthemum nipponicum), also referred to as the Montauk daisy, is an herbaceous perennial flower that starts blooming in the late summer and persists until frost. It can grow as tall as 3 feet and will reach its full size within roughly two months. Nippon daisies should be planted in the early fall or spring.
The plant's shiny green leaves are leathery in texture, and its flowers grow on long stalks. The flower heads feature white petals with green center disks. They measure about 2 to 3 inches across. Many people enjoy these blooms as a long-lasting cut flower.
|Common Names||Nippon daisy, Montauk daisy|
|Botanical Name||Nipponanthemum nipponicum|
|Plant Type||Perennial, herbaceous|
|Mature Size||18-36 in. tall and wide|
|Bloom Time||Summer, fall|
|Hardiness Zones||5-9 (USDA)|
Nippon Daisy Care
This perennial is easy to grow in any sunny location with well-draining soil. To plant, dig a hole about three times the size of the plant's root ball. Position the plant in the center of the hole with the top of the root ball at ground level. Then, backfill the hole with soil, lightly press down the soil, and water the planting site well.
Maintenance is minimal for mature Nippon daisy plants. Expect to do some light pruning in the spring to keep the plant looking its best. And water only during long stretches without rainfall.
This plant likes to grow in full sun. However, in hot climates, some afternoon shade is preferable.
The Nippon daisy grows well in average, dry, slightly acidic soil (pH 5.5 to 6.5). It will tolerate most soil types as long as there is good drainage. Soggy soil can kill the plant.
Because this plant prefers dry soil and is quite tolerant of drought, it likely won’t need much supplemental watering beyond rainfall. Water if your area has an extended period of drought and the plant starts to wilt.
Temperature and Humidity
Nippon daisies prefer warm but not excessively hot conditions, and they tolerate a wide range of humidity levels. Any abnormal temperature extremes within its growing zones can damage or kill the plant, though this is rare. Frost will cause the plant to naturally die back to ground level for the winter.
Fertilizer is typically unnecessary for Nippon daisies, and excessive feeding can cause yellow or floppy stems. But if you have very poor soil, you can use a balanced 10-10-10 fertilizer in the early spring.
Other Varieties of Daisies
Other than the species, there are no other varieties of Nippon daisies. You might want to consider other popular daisy varieties such as
- Shasta daisy (Leucanthemum x superbum): This perennial is a classic daisy, with flowers featuring white petals and a golden center. It grows to roughly 3 feet tall and produces long-lasting summer blooms.
- Ox-eye daisy (Leucanthemum vulgare): This daisy also grows to about 3 feet tall and features smaller blooms than both the Shasta and Nippon daisies. Its flowers have white petals with yellow centers.
- Gerbera daisy (Gerbera jamesonii): This plant has a clump-forming growth habit and only reaches around 1 foot tall. Its flowers typically have red, orange, or yellow petals with bronze centers. There are many cultivars in a range of colors.
This plant doesn't need much in the way of pruning. For a bushy, upright growth habit, slightly cut back new growth in the spring. But avoid pruning once flower buds have appeared. Moreover, remove spent flowers throughout the summer to encourage the plant to continue blooming.
Propagating Nippon Daisies
Nippon daisies are very easy to propagate by lifting and dividing the root clumps, which also helps the plants maintain their vigor. Division is best done in the spring every two to three years just as new growth begins.
- Water the daisies deeply a few hours before you plan to divide them to soften the soil and roots.
- Use a pitchfork or shovel to loosen the soil, and carefully lift the plants out of the ground with their roots.
- Separate the root clump into sections by gently pulling it apart with your hands, keeping the roots as intact as possible. Discard any portions that look withered or otherwise unhealthy.
- Replant the divided clumps in a suitable location at the same depth as the original plant. Keep it well watered until you see new growth.
Growing Nippon Daisies from Seed
Nippon daisies are usually propagated vegetatively by division. Seeds are not readily available from commercial nurseries. But because they are vigorous growers, within two to three years, a plant purchased from a nursery should grow into a clump that you can divide to make more plants.
Potting and Repotting Nippon Daisies
Because Nippon daisies can get up to 3 feet tall and wide,, you need a large planter, at least 25 inches in diameter, with good drainage holes, and from a heavy material such as terra cotta or glazed ceramic that does not topple over easily. Fill the container with potting mix and remember that potted plants dry out much faster than in-ground plants so they need more frequent watering.
Repot them when the roots start filling the pot and growing out of the drain holes. Divide the clump into smaller sections like you would in-ground plants.
Nippon daisies are hardy to USDA zone 5 and as they die back during the winter, they require no winter protection. Container plants are more vulnerable, as their roots are exposed. If you live in a location with cold winters, wrap the container in burlap plus bubble wrap, or protect the container with an insulation silo.
Common Pests and Plant Diseases
Serious pest and disease problems are rare with the Nippon daisy. But fungal diseases, including stem rot and leaf spot, can occasionally occur. Overwatering or excessively wet weather usually are the cause of these diseases. Also, make sure the plants aren't crowded and have good air circulation. Be on the lookout for brown or black spots on the leaves and stems. If the disease is severe, an all-purpose fungicide can be applied.
How to Get Nippon Daisies to Bloom
If your daisies fail to bloom, the reason is often too little sunlight, or too much nitrogen, which produces lots of foliage but no flowers. Nippon daisies need full sun to bloom. When you realize that they are not blooming the way they should, it might already too late to add fertilizer for the season. Next spring, give them a bloom-boosting fertilizer that is high in phosphorous.
Common Problems with Nippon Daisies
Towards the end of the summer, the lower leaves on the stems of Nippon daisies often turn yellow then brown or black and drop. This is a natural process as the plant gets ready to enter dormancy in the fall. Do not fertilize the plant, as any new grow will make the plant more vulnerable to the impending cold. Instead, plant Nippon daisies in the back of a flower bed where the bare stems are less obvious.
Are Montauk daisies native?
The plant it native to the coastal regions of Japan but has naturalized on Long Island, New York, near Montauk, hence its other common name.
Are Nippon daisies invasive?
The daisies are very hardy and once established, they remain and spread but they are not listed as invasive.
What is the difference between Shasta daisy and Montauk daisy?
The two daisies look similar but a sure way to keep them apart is that Nippon daisies bloom in the late summer and early fall whereas shasta daisies bloom in the spring and summer.
Nipponanthemum nipponicum. Missouri Botanical Garden.