Nippon Daisy (Montauk Daisy) Plant Profile

Cut them back for a great fall display

Montauk Daisy (Nipponanthemum nipponicum)

Michael/Flickr.com

Montauk daisy is a herbaceous perennial flower that forms a mounded clump. It can grow to be as tall as about 3 feet (with a similar spread), but the particular pruning regimen you adopt will impact eventual height. The shiny green leaves are leathery in texture, and the plant is prized for its toughness and resistance to salt and drought. This perennial is recommended for spacious rock gardens, as medium-sized plants for sunny flower beds, and in xeriscaping. It's showy enough in autumn to serve as a specimen plant for fall. Nippon daisy also makes for a good cut flower.

  • Botanical Name: Nipponanthemum¬†nipponicum¬†(formerly Chrysanthemum nipponicum)
  • Common Names: Nippon daisy, Montauk daisy
  • Plant Type: Herbaceous perennial flower
  • Mature Size: 18 to 36 inches tall, with a similar spread
  • Sun Exposure: Full sun
  • Soil Type: Average, dry, well-drained soil
  • Soil pH: 5.5 to 6.5; slightly acidic soil
  • Bloom Time: Mid-summer to early fall
  • Flower Color: White petals with green center disk
  • Hardiness Zones: 5 to 9 (USDA)
  • Native Area: Coastal regions of Japan; naturalized in Long Island

How to Grow Nippon Daisy (Montauk Daisy)

This perennial is easy to grow in any sunny location with relatively dry, well-drained 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 crown even with the soil line, then backfill the hole, tamp the soil lightly, and water well.

Cut back new growth slightly each spring to keep the plant compact and bushy in form. Divide the clumps every 2 to 3 years keep the plant vigorous or to propagate them.

Light

This plant prefers full sun but will tolerate light shade. Some shade is preferable in hot climates.

Soil

Nippon daisy thrives in dry, well-drained soil, and does not like soggy soil. It will tolerate almost any soil type provided it is well-drained.

Water

This plant prefers weekly watering, but will do well with infrequent watering; this plant is quite tolerant of drought. A watering every 7 to 10 days is enough to keep the plant healthy and blooming.

Temperature and Humidity

Nippon daisies prefer warm, but not excessively hot, conditions. The plant tolerates a wide range of humidity levels.

Fertilizer

Feeding is usually unnecessary, but a balanced 10-10-10 fertilizer applied in early spring can assist the plant in poor soils. Excessive feeding can create overly long stems that flop.

Propagating Nippon Daisy

Nippon daisies are very easy to propagate by lifting and dividing the root clumps.

  1. Water the daisies a few hours before you begin, to soften the clumps
  2. Use a pitchfork or shovel to loosen the ground, then gently tease the crowns of the plants out of the ground.
  3. Separate the root clump into sections with your hands. Discard clumps that look old or withered, then use the remaining clumps for replanting.

Pruning

This plant often becomes woody if it doesn't die back to the ground each winter. You should cut back the plants in later fall or early spring to prevent this. Sterilize the shears with isopropyl alcohol before pruning.

Pinch back the new stems back to the topmost bud several times in spring and early summer to create a bushier plant and better flowers, but stop pinching once the buds begin to appear. Deadhead spent flowers to stimulate additional blooming.

Comparison to Other Daisies

The daisy group includes a large number of species. Some of the most popular include:

  • Shasta daisy (Leucanthemum x superbum). This perennial is a classic daisy, with white petals opening to a golden center, rather than the greenish center seen on Nippon daisies. This plant is slightly shorter than the Nippon, and was created by extensive cross-breeding that included Nippon daisy as one of its ancestors.
  • Ox eye daisy (Leucanthemum vulgare) is another ancestor of the Shasta daisy. It is a traditional wildflower daisy. It has smaller blooms than either the Shasta or Nippon daisies and shares the same yellow-gold center found in the Shasta.
  • Gerbera daisy (Gerbera jamesonii). This group of daisies is known for having very colorful flowers in a variety of hues. It is a much shorter plant, hardy only in USDA hardiness zones 8 to 10; elsewhere, it is grown as an annual. It is a smaller plant that is somewhat harder to grow; it requires moister soil than the other daisies.

Common Problems

Serious pest problems are rare with Nippon daisy, but fungal diseases, including stem rot and leaf spot can occasionally damage the plants. These are usually caused by overwatering or excessively wet weather. Apply a 1- to 2-inch layer of much to prevent mold spores in the soil from splashing up onto the plant.