An old fashioned perennial border plant, shasta daisies were once listed under Chrysanthemum, but more recently are listed under Leucanthemum. This wonderful plant bears large white flowers that can be single, double or semi-double along with a prominent yellow eye. The single-flowered varieties tend to be a bit hardier than the double-flowered ones.
These easy to grow hardy flowers will grow in any well drained, moderately fertile soil and enjoy a full day of sunshine or even partial shade. They bloom throughout June to August, forming large clumps which can be easily divided in spring every 3-4 years. The blooms are carried on tall green stems with star shaped dark green leaves.
Shasta daisies perform best with adequate water, and should be deadheaded after blooming to encourage a second bloom. An added bonus is they are rarely bothered by pests and even the deer do not like them. Traditional Shasta daisies grow from 12 to 36 inches tall, but there are now even dwarf varieties growing only to 12 to 18 inches. If you plan to grow from seed, do so indoors in February or March covering the seeds lightly. They will germinate in about 7-14 days and should bloom in the first year. When transplanting, space your plants 12-24 inches apart.
The Leucanthemum x superbum is the species and for me has alway been the “He loves me, He loves me not flower”. As young girls we all plucked this bloom petal by petal hoping to find our true love. Nothing says country or cottage garden like a stand of bright, cheery Shasta daisies. Shasta daisies also make great cutting flowers. Cut when the flowers are fully open, they will stay fresh in a vase for about one week.
Many new cultivars have been introduced over the years with improved flowers. Here are a few that I’m growing in my garden:
Leucanthemum ‘Becky’ is hardy to zone 4 and grows 2-3 feet tall. Strong stemmed they do not require staking and are great for butterfly gardens.
Leucanthemum ‘Sante’ is hardy to zone 5, grows 18-22 inches tall. To promote re-bloom cut the faded flower stems down to the next visible bud. This is a beautiful double flowered cultivar.
Leucanthemum ‘Alaska’ has classic, large single blooms and grows 2 feet tall.
Leucanthemum ‘Daisy May’ is a shorter variety growing from 12-18 inches and hardy to zone 5. With more branching and side buds this daisy blooms for a long time. Attracts butterflies too.
Leucanthemum ‘Crazy Daisy’ is zone 4 and grows about 2 feet tall. With large flower heads it is really a fun daisy to grow, something a little different.
(some photos from pixabay)
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