Daisies that delight
Marguerite (Argyranthemum frutescens, formerly Chrysanthemum frutescens)
• Traditional favorites for container plantings, marguerites come in sizes to fit any pot and in a variety of colors from white to pink to yellow. They fill out fast, and their abundant blooms last all season long.
• All marguerites are tender perennials that shiver fatally in any climate colder than USDA Hardiness Zone 9. But Northerners can grow marguerites as annuals. They flower best in full sun and don’t shrink from heat.
• Marguerites can be a bit wimpy when it comes to warding off leaf miners and other pests. To keep things in control, I simply nip off affected branches.
Painted daisy (Tanacetum coccineum, formerly Chrysanthemum coccineum)
• Old-fashioned painted daisies come in shades of pink and red, ranging from baby-pale to zingy cerise, plus white.
• Painted daisy seed is often sold as a mix of colors (‘Robinson’s Hybrids’); single cultivars are also available. ‘James Kelway’ has bright scarlet flowers, while ‘Roseum’ is a soft rose-pink.
• In hot-summer regions, they look ratty after the second year, so I start new plants every year or two. Gardens in Zones 3 through 7 suit them best. If your summers are merciless, plant in afternoon shade. In all zones, be liberal with the watering can.
Shasta daisy (Leucanthemum × superbum, formerly Chrysanthemum × superbum)
• This hybrid is the result of a marriage arranged by Luther Burbank, who joined a Portuguese mum and a Pyrenees species. Shastas generously seed themselves, although small fry don’t always look like their venerable parents.
• These three cultivars are worth a try: ‘Alaska’ has pure-white 3-inch flowers on 2- to 3-foot-tall stems; ‘Snow-cap’, a compact plant of 18 to 24 inches; ‘Little Miss Muffet’ is only 8 to 12 inches tall, but her creamy white flowers are full-sized at 3 inches.
• The Shasta thrives in gardens from Zone 4 through Zone 9. It flowers best in full sun but also blooms in part shade. When flowers begin to look tattered, cut it back.
Marguerite (Argyranthemum frutescens)
Photo/Illustration: Michelle Gervais
Painted daisy (Tanacetum coccineum)
Photo/Illustration: Diane A. Pratt
Shasta daisy (Leucanthemum × superbum)
Photo/Illustration: John Glover