Perennial daisies, with their bright blooms and lush, green foliage, are long-flowering, sun-loving landscape workhorses. Shasta daisy cultivar Becky's immaculate, white yellow-centered flowers on multiple, 3-foot high stems earned it the Perennial Plant Association's recognition as the 2003 Perennial of the Year. Becky, however, is only one among hundreds of perennial daisy varieties that provide reliable garden performance and color year after year.
Dwarf Perennial Daisies
Dwarf daisy perennials make charming rock garden additions or perennial border edgings. Shasta daisy (Leucanthemum x superbum) Tinkerbelle stands just 6 to 9 inches high and up to 6 inches wide. In spite of it small stature, however, Tinkerbelle's white-rayed, yellow-centered blooms measure 2 inches across. They crown its narrow, medium-green foliage from June through August. Michelmas daisy (Symphyotrichum novi-belgii) Tiny Tot, a low, spreading cultivar, reaches 4 to 8 inches tall. Tiny Tot invigorates the late summer and early fall garden with mounds of purple-petaled, yellow-eyed flowers and deep-green foliage. Both tough, small daisies tolerate winter temperatures above minus 30 degrees Fahrenheit. They perform best in well-drained, averagely moist soils.
The term "African daisy" includes two groups of perennial daisy varieties. Arctotis hybrid daisies perform as perennials where winter temperatures remain above 20 degrees F. Their 12- to 18-inch stems rise above clumps of silver-green, downy leaves. Arctotis hybrids are available in white and shades of yellow, red, pink and purple. Their centers are typically black or yellow. The flowers appear in early summer and often continue until frost. Osteospermum-hybrid African daisies' white, pink or yellow flowers top 1- to 3-foot stems of bright green, lancelike leaves. The Asti White hybrid's white petals surround striking, deep purple centers. These daisies are perennial in frost-free climates. They like well-drained, moist soils and cool summers.
Transvaal, or Gerbera, daisies (Gerbera jamesonii) pair basal clumps of spoonlike, deep-green leaves with showy, 4-inch daisies. The South African native plants are typically yellow, orange or red; commercial cultivars are now available in a host of shades, including white and many pastel colors. The single or double petals encircle variously colored centers. These daisies are perennial above 10 degrees F. They perform as spring-to-fall-blooming annuals elsewhere. The Festival White Transvaal cultivar has white, single-petaled blooms with pale yellow centers. Revolution Terracotta has a deep orange-red center and lighter orange-red rays. All Transvaal daisies thrive in moist, well-drained soil.
Fragrant Perennial Daisies
Chocolate daisy (Berlandiera lyrata) stands 5 inches to 2 feet high. Its 2-inch, maroon-eyed, yellow-petaled flowers -- atop 1- to 2-foot stems -- perfume the air with chocolate fragrance. This perennial has similarly-scented mounds of greenish-gray, downy leaves. Chocolate daisy blooms from mid-spring to mid-summer. It flourishes in full sun to partial shade and dry, well-drained soils. Blackfoot daisy's (Melapodium leucanthum) has honey-scented flowers. Yellow-orange centers contrast with their white petals. The small blooms nearly cover the plant's 1- to 3-foot clumps of narrow, green leaves from late spring to early fall. Both drought-tolerant daisies attract butterflies and bees. They're perennial to minus 30 degrees F.
- Purdue Extension; Shasta Daisy Named Perennial of the Year; B. Rosie Lerner; February 2003
- Missouri Botanical Garden: Leucanthemum x Superbum 'Tinkerbelle'
- Missouri Botanical Garden: Symphyotrichum Novi-Belgii 'Tiny Tot'
- Missouri Botanical Garden: Arctotis x Hybrida
- Missouri Botanical Garden: Osteospermum (Group)
- Missouri Botanical Garden: Gerbera Jamesonii
- Photo Credit Hemera Technologies/Photos.com/Getty Images
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