The swan river daisy (Brachyscome iberidifolia) is from the land down under but grows all over North America as a colorful daisy. This plant with herbaceous foliage is hardy in USDA zones 9 to 11 but will grow as a cheery annual in zones 2 to 8. Its easy-going nature and long-lived blooming season from summer into fall make it a popular choice for gardens, as a border plant, or in pots and containers.
The swan river daisy comes in a variety of colors, which has boosted its popularity. Lavender, blue, yellow, pink, and white petals are all possible, while the flower disk in the center of the blossom might appear yellow or even dark. These plants grow in a mound, with fine, leafy foliage and flower stalks that reach 12 to 18 inches in height. Each blossom is about an inch in diameter. What these flowers lack in large bloom size, they make up for in an abundance of flowers.
|Botanical Name||Brachyscome iberidifolia|
|Common Name||Swan river daisy|
|Plant Type||Annual or perennial|
|Mature Size||12 to 18 inches tall and 1 to 3 feet wide|
|Sun Exposure||Full sun|
|Soil Type||Rich, well-drained|
|Soil pH||Slightly acid to alkaline|
|Bloom Time||Summer, fall|
|Flower Color||Blue, Lavender, Pink, White|
|Hardiness Zones||9 to 11|
How to Grow Swan River Daisies
To grow swan river daisies, you don’t need a green thumb—but you will need a sunny spot with well-draining soil. You can start them from seeds or with nursery stock. If you plant from seeds, you can make the most of the plant’s bloom cycle by sowing your seeds in phases 2 to 4 weeks apart. As the blooms from one plant begin to fade, a fresh flush will appear.
Like most flowering plants, the swan river daisy is best planted in a sunny location. These plants prefer full sun and will grow best in a location with more than 6 hours of direct sunlight on average. However, these plants can survive in partly shady conditions, just with less prolific blooming.
For healthy, vibrant growth and the colorful blossoms that the swan river daisy is known for requires rich, moist soil. These plants can tolerate average or even poor soil conditions, but it’s less than ideal and bloom production may suffer.
Regardless of whether you’re planting the swan river daisy in average or very fertile soil, you should ensure that the location is well-draining. That’s an important component for these plants to succeed.
There's typically no need to water the swan river daisy regularly. These plants exhibit drought tolerance, but will appreciate supplemental watering a few times a week if a dry stretch of weather persists.
Ensure that the soil dries in between watering sessions to avoid root rot and fungal infections.
Temperature and Humidity
An annual plant in USDA zones 2 to 8, the swan river daisy does well in a wide range of temperature and humidity conditions. It is hardy enough to withstand bouts of heat and drought, but it doesn’t prefer intensely hot and humid conditions and the plant may show signs of protest by wilting or drooping.
In USDA hardiness zones 9 to 11, the swan river daisy may be a perennial, assuming that winter temperatures are mild enough for this plant to retain its viability. While the blooms will taper off at the first frost, the finely textured gray-green foliage will continue to give your garden or border landscape a nice visual all winter long.
Determining whether or not you need to fertilize the swan river daisy begins with understanding your current soil situation. If you overfertilize these plants, you may burn the roots or provide too much nitrogen that contributes to leggy, floppy growth.
However, if you have poor soil nutrients or plant swan river daisy flowers in a container or pot, then choosing a phosphorous-rich fertilizer formula may give your plants a welcome boost.
Propagating Swan River Daisies
Multiply swan river daisy plants by seed or cutting propagation. These plants are relatively easy to propagate with either method.
If you choose to propagate by seed, you’ll need to collect the seeds from the flower disk center. Once the bloom has started to fade in color, snip the flower head from its stalk. You can place it inside of a paper bag or on a paper towel and wait for it dry out completely before harvesting the fine, small seeds.
Spring is generally considered the best time to start the seeds, anywhere from 4 to 6 weeks before you expect the last frost. Plant the seeds indoors in a loose layer of starter soil and plan on 10 to 18 days to germinate.
You can also opt to propagate these plants with a cutting. For this method, trim a shoot from the plant that includes at least one node and two healthy leaves. While you might be tempted to do this while your plant is in full bloom and full of flowers, a better time is before the active flowering stage. The plant will have more stored energy in its root system and will better recover from having a shoot removed.
The node is where you’re hoping to generate new roots, so use a sharp blade (like a razor blade) to make a single cut through the center of the node. Then you can place the shoot in water or a soil-less potting mix. Swan river daisy cuttings will germinate in about 15 days.
Varieties of Swan River Daisies
- Brachycome 'Blue Zephyr': This variety of swan river daisy is one of the most popular cultivars and features purple petals that have a significantly blue color tone. They don’t grow as tall as typical swan river daisy plants, topping out at about 12 inches in height. The shorter height makes them a good choice for planter boxes or garden borders where they won’t overshadow their surroundings.
Growing in Containers
While the swan river daisy is most commonly spotted in gardens and landscape arrangements, it is a suitable candidate for becoming a potted plant. The important thing is to ensure that the pot has adequate drainage and the soil doesn’t become waterlogged.
With bushy foliage and plenty of blossoms through the summer and into fall, planting swan river daisies in containers is a great option for sprucing up your patio, deck, or porch.