Daisies are part of the second largest flower family, Asteraceae, which includes over 23,000 species. Their name comes from the Old English term for the “day’s eye” and refers to the way that daisy petals open at dawn and close at dusk. These versatile blooms flourish in most soils and so can be found around the world.
Daisies have many applications, from lettuce and teas to oils, sweeteners, and medicines. For gardeners, their long-lasting blooms and hardiness are well-suited to wildflower, the blue butterfly, and cottage gardens. With so many varieties available, it is essential to recognize which kind of daisy will best suit your gardening needs.
The Gerbera jamesonii is a velvet-petalled beauty known as the Gerber or Barberton daisy. Both names come from the flower’s 19th century discovery by German botanist Traugott Gerber near Berberton, South Africa. This daisy grows large and vivid blooms in jewel tones of violet, pink, crimson, and deep orange, as well as cream and white.
Compared to other varieties, the Gerber boasts more ranks of petals around its golden center. Its bright 2.5 to 4-inch blooms rise on 12 to 24-inch stems and generally flower from summer through late fall. As a native to South America, Africa, and tropical Asia, though, this easy-growing beauty is very much susceptible to freezing.
Despite being less hardy than some other daisies, Gerbers remain very popular – especially as a decorative cut flower. You can see how to plant Gerber daisies in this short video.
Most importantly, you should ensure fertile, well-drained soil, and plant seeds in loam or sandy soil in spring or autumn. You can also consider harvesting seeds each year yourself to help save on costs.
Leucanthemum superbum is a perennial classic that is also known as the Shasta daisy. It produces 3-inch wide, yellow and gold blooms on dark green stalks, and the plants themselves grow in clumps of 2 to 3 feet. Shasta daisies closely resemble the familiar roadside Ox-eye daisy – but with more numerous and more robust blooms.
Like other daisies, Shastas prefer full sun and well-drained soil, and this cheerful bloom comes in an expansive range of dozens of varieties. It has an especially long growing season, too, returning each spring or early summer to bloom through early autumn. Such qualities make this kind of daisy an exceptional choice for gardeners.
Shasta daisies are also hardier than most similar flowers. They are native to arid and semi-arid areas and so have adapted to deal with such extremes in weather. At the same time, this classic flower is very easy to grow and maintain, often sowing itself with abandon after an initial planting. You can find additional tips and advice in this video on how to plant Shasta daisies.
While the Shasta daisy may be North America’s classic, the first flower to take the name was the English or European daisy. This attractive, low-spreading flower is often dubbed a lawn daisy and detested weed by gardeners in its native habitat. With its tiny white, pink, or red blooms, the Bellis perennis is much more than that, though.
This short, dense daisy consists of 3 to 6-inch stems with dark green leaves and 2-inch wide flowers around a central yellow disk. English daisies should be sown in early spring and are generally simple to grow, with this video giving specific steps for care.
Although they are perennials in regions with mild winters, these daisies are not cold or drought tolerant enough for others.
English daisies get a bad reputation because they are extremely adaptable and so easily reseed and can be difficult to remove due to their deep taproot. However, this versatility is an advantage for gardeners looking to fill in difficult areas of flowerbeds. At the same time, the British daisy has long been used for its medicinal properties, too.
The delicate foliage and showy blooms of the painted daisy offer a more traditional style. The Tanacetum coccineum grows from 1.5 to 2.5 feet in height in the form of a cushion, mound, or clump with fernlike leaves and hairless stems. White, pink, purple, or red flowers with yellow centers specifically blossom in early to midsummer.
Unlike the English daisy, this Asian variety is neither aggressive nor invasive. Plants can be cultivated from seed, division, or separation of existing plants. As it wilts in high heat, the painted daisy is more commonly farmed in colder climates. This video from SeedSavers details the fairly simple process of growing this variety, although it requires well-drained soil and regular watering.
The painted daisy is mainly used as a cut flower for decoration, although there are other applications. These flowers also contain pyrethrum, which can be used for its insecticidal properties. More importantly, certain cultivars have benefits for helping to organize and maintain flowerbeds, borders, and rock gardens. Accordingly, the best painted daisy really depends on the gardener’s use for it.
Marguerite daisies are all varieties of Argyranthemum frutescens, but they are commonly mistaken for Shasta daisies. However, these tender perennials grow in a mounded, shrubby form that is very different from the former flower. In addition, white, pink, and yellow blossoms are fragrant and more closely resemble coneflowers.
Furthermore, Marguerite daisies are very sensitive to temperature. As a result, they tend to be grown as annuals throughout much of North America. Yet, with proper care and mild and cool weather, these Chrysanthemum-like flowers can provide abundant blooms all season long. You should follow the steps outlined in this video for a detailed guide to growing your own.
These cold weather loving daisies rely upon shallow roots, but different varieties can be chosen for different size pots or gardening areas. In fact, although they are most often grown for flowers, marguerite daisies are relatively ideal for containers. In both cases, these cool blooms attract pollinators like butterflies, too.
The graphic look of African daisies is hard to imitate and rarely found in more common varieties. Osteospermum x hybrida is a cool-weather plant from South Africa that can bloom constantly in areas like the Pacific Northwest where summers are mild. Flowers stick around from May through autumn and are fairly large at up to 4 inches across.
What truly sets these vibrant flowers apart is their unique coloring and eye-like markings near the center. With hues ranging from lavender to pink, yellow, white, and combinations thereof, these half-hardy perennials are a striking addition to any garden. Their silver-green leaves also stick around when the plant is no longer blooming.
Like most daisies, African daisies are relatively simple to grow, as you can tell from this short video.
They work best in containers because these vibrant flowers only drought tolerant once established. These tender perennials are also best reproduced through cuttings, as the seeds of these hybrid plants are generally sterile.
Venidium fastuosum is known by many names, from Cape daisy to Monarch of the Veldt and, most commonly, Zulu Prince African daisy. This easy care heirloom plant has been passed down over generations for its ability to flourish in dry, warm conditions. As an African cultivar, it specifically comes from South Africa’s rocky regions.
Accordingly, the Zulu Prince daisy can handle heat, sun, and drought fairly well – growing up to 2 feet tall with 4-inch wide blossoms. As a result, this tough flower should be propagated for filling in an arid and sunny spot in your garden. Dave’s Subtropical Garden outlines several key tips in this video that will help you grown your own.
Once your plants establish their root structures, they will bloom from summer through autumn.
This daisy is remarkable for its intricate coloration. In particular, white petals with purple and orange or yellow markings surround a silky, silver, and purple-black center. The Zulu Prince also features velvety, silver-gray foliage along its long and bushy stems. This bold design makes for a show-stopping cut flower, even as bees, butterflies, and other pollinators are attracted to the flower’s bright colors.
Given their versatility and hardiness, daisies are one of the few plants that is truly for every gardener. These plants’ simplicity, adaptability, and ability to fill a space in a hurry specifically keep them at the top of the list of most popular flowers.
What do you think of these qualities? Did you enjoy reading about these 7 kinds of daisies? Let us know what you think – and how you might incorporate daisies into your home garden – in the comments below. If you found it especially helpful, please do share the article with others, as well!
Hello, I’m Laura Bennett. I love nature especially when it comes to flowers and different kinds of plants. I started a very small garden behind my house and I named it Humid Garden. So, I created this blog to provide aspiring and inspiring thoughts about gardening for gardeners and anyone who has the intention of keeping a garden.