Dictionary of Flowers: Leucanthemum (Shasta Daisy)

Leucanthemum, also known as Shasta Daisy. Image used under a Creative Commons licence with the kind permission of Doug McAbee and Flickr

Leucanthemum, also known as Shasta Daisy. Image used under a Creative Commons licence with the kind permission of Doug McAbee and Flickr

  • Leucanthemum, Short Varieties
  • Common name: shasta daisy
  • Family:  Asteraceae
  • Category: perennial in USDA zones 5 to 9
  • Height: 12" to 36"
  • Width: 24"
  • Sun/part shade
  • Blooms: summer
  • Attracts: butterflies, hummingbirds, birds
  • Growth habit: clumping, upright. Used as a thriller or filler in container combinations
  • Maintenance: easy
  • Soil: fertile, well drained. Water regularly if grown in containers
  • Garden uses: containers, mixed border, cottage garden, cutting garden
  • Diseases: mold and mildew
  • Pests: aphids, mealybugs, slugs and snails, nematodes

Shasta daisy is a garden staple. It is easy to care for, dependable and it mixes well with a lot of other flowers.

Hybrid varieties of daisy that are bred for garden uses are shorter, better suited for containers and less likely to require stalking.

Shasta daisy blooms can be single, double, frilled or ruffled. Most of them are white with yellow centers, though some can be pale yellow. Flowers are born on the tips of the stems. Leaves are green, narrow and dented.

Shasta daisy grows well in average to fertile soil that is kept moist, but well drained. Once established, they are somewhat drought tolerant, though supplemental water is necessary during hot, dry summers.

Shasta daisy is not picky about soil pH. Plant shasta in early spring or fall, working a good amount of compost, manure or peat into the soil and add a low nitrogen fertilizer at planting time.

Fertilize daisies during the growing season by applying liquid fertilizer rich in phosphorus to improve bloom. Deadhead for longer bloom period.

They might bloom a second time in fall, but the flush of bloom will be smaller and poorer than the summer one.

Shasta requires full sun, though it can grow in part shade. Plants growing in part shade can lean to reach for sunlight. 

Cover plants with mulch in winter if growing shasta in cold zones. Remove mulch in early spring, after danger of heavy frost passes. Shasta is a short-lived perennial. Replace plants every three to five years.

IWILLWRITECAPTION. Image used under a Creative Commons licence with the kind permission of NAMEOFFLICKRUSER and Flickr

Shasta daisies are easily available in nurseries during spring and summer. They can be propagated by division of the clump in early spring or fall, by rooting basal cuttings or by seed.

If growing from seed, shasta daisy hybrid varieties can produce plants that won't look like the parent plant. Shasta grown from seed will take a season to bloom.

Seeds can be winter sown, direct sown in garden beds in spring or fall (rake seed in and water well. Thin when plants are about an inch tall), or indoors. If sowing indoors, sprinkle seed on moist starting mix and do not cover. Seed needs light to germinate.

At about 70F, it takes three weeks for seed to germinate. Once the seedlings appear, provide good light. Harden off and plant in their permanent position once danger of frost has passed.




IWILLWRITECAPTION. Image used under a Creative Commons licence with the kind permission of NAMEOFFLICKRUSER and Flickr

Shasta daisy can suffer from mold, mildew and other fungal diseases. Treat with fungicide as needed. Make sure to improve drainage, air circulation and remove affected parts. Nematodes attack the roots and kill the plant.

Don't plant shastas in the same spot the next year and treat soil by covering it with plastic to heat kill the pest. Discard soil if nematodes appear in potting mix. Pest problems can be treated with insecticide or insecticidal soap. Shasta daisy is deer resistant.

Popular varieties:

  • Leucanthemum x superbum 'Snowcap' - dwarf variety, up to fifteen inches. Fast grower, handles humidity and heat
  • Leucanthemum x superbum 'Broadway Lights' - up to two feet tall. Pale yellow flowers
  • Leucanthemum x superbum 'Paladin' - one and a half feet tall, ruffled petals, double blooms
  • Leucanthemum x superbum 'Esther Reed' - one foot to one and a half feet tall. Double blooms with a crested center
  • Leucanthemum x superbum 'Banana Cream' - one and a half feet tall. Lemon yellow single flowers, up to four inches diameter
  • Leucanthemum x superbum 'Snow Lady' - up to two feet tall, white single blooms
  • Leucanthemum x superbum 'Little Princess' - one foot tall. White flowers with yellow centers
  • Leucanthemum x superbum 'Angel' - one foot tall, white flowers with crested yellow centers

IWILLWRITECAPTION. Image used under a Creative Commons licence with the kind permission of NAMEOFFLICKRUSER and Flickr

Click to view Lamium Maculatum (Dead Nettle)
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Annuals For Containers

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