Shasta Daisies 101! (NEW Guide for 2021)
Do you want to learn more about Shasta Daisies?
Well, you are not alone. Shasta Daisies (Leucanthemum x superbum) are incredibly common flowers and easy to find. And personally, they are one of my favorite plants because they are beautiful, easy to grow, AND attract lots of wildlife.
I’ve organized this post into the following sections:
Why should you grow Shasta Daisies? (4 reasons!)
- Three fun facts about Shasta Daisies
But because they are so common, you may think there isn’t all that much to know about this fantastic flower, or they’re not that interesting. However, you would be wrong!
So if you are ready to learn about the Shasta Daisy, then keep reading.
What is a Shasta Daisy?
The term “daisy” actually refers to any plant in the Asteraceae family, of which there are more than 23,000 species. The Shasta Daisy (Leucanthemum x superbum) is one of the most common varieties of daisy that you will find. Believe it or not, these beautiful flowers are a hybrid created in 1890 by an American horticulturist named Luther Burbank. He crossed several different daisies to develop what we now know as the Shasta Daisy.
These flowers have the characteristic daisy look of elongated white petals that surround a vibrant yellow cone. In fact, Mount Shasta in California is the inspiration for this daisy’s name because the petals are white like snow.
Scientific Name: Leucanthemum x superbum
Sun Requirements: Full
Soil PH: Neutral
Soil Type: Any
Bloom Time: Summer
Hardiness Zone: 4 – 10
Ever since their inception, Shasta Daisies have been popular to plant in backyards, and many gardeners adore them. I love the fact that these plants are perennials that come back year after year without much attention. On average, you can expect them to grow about three feet in height and 1-2 feet wide.
Why Should You Grow Shasta Daisies?
Here are the main reasons why I have this flower growing in my backyard!
1. Shasta Daisies Require Very Little Care.
Seriously, if you don’t have a “green thumb,” then planting these beautiful flowers is a great idea. Shasta Daisies don’t need much attention to expand and come back year after year!
Shasta Daisies do best in moist, well-drained soil. But they are drought-tolerant, so you won’t have to worry much about them if you don’t get rain for an extended period.
I have many deer and other animals in my backyard, so I often worry about the plants getting eaten. Luckily, Shasta Daisies are DEER RESISTANT, and I have never had a problem with deer or rabbits chewing on them. Both these mammals prefer many of the other plants in our yard.
It’s also rare for Shasta Daisies to develop any diseases! 🙂
2. They are Great in Bouquets.
If you enjoy fresh-cut flowers, you’ll want to have some Shasta Daisies around. These beautiful blooms make attractive bouquets on their own but are also gorgeous when paired with lilies, roses, sunflowers, carnations, or nearly any other flower. Once cut, these daisies will last about a week in a vase!
White daisies symbolize purity and innocence. So that’s one reason they are often used in wedding bouquets, but Shasta Daisies are ideal for any occasion.
3. Birds and Bugs Love Shasta Daisies!
I am always looking for plants that attract animals AND are pleasing to look at in my backyard. Shasta Daisies fit this description perfectly.
First, the bright blooms will draw in butterflies, bees, and other native pollinators to feed on the nectar.
Second, you can look for caterpillars on the leaves, since a few butterfly species regularly use Shasta Daisies as a host plant for their young. Mourning Cloak, Painted Lady, and Red Admiral butterflies are the most commonly found.
Finally, as the blooms fade, the daisy’s large center cone turns to seed. This mass of seeds will attract birds looking for a meal, such as goldfinches, finches, pine siskins, and sparrows.
4. Shasta Daisies Grow Almost Anywhere!
Shasta Daisies are well suited for hardiness zones 4 through 10, which covers an area from Montana and Maine down to Florida and Texas.
So basically, almost everywhere within the Continental U.S. (and parts of Canada) can grow this gorgeous flower!
Not only that, but this flower thrives in a variety of soil types. It can grow in soil with a pH balance as low as 6.0 or as high as 7.7. However, the ideal range is somewhere between 6.8 and 7.5.
To recap, these flowers grow in almost every U.S. climate zone, can be placed in various soils, and do well in full sun or partial shade. So when I tell you that you can grow Shasta Daisies anywhere, I am not kidding!
Where to Find (& How to Grow) Shasta Daisies?
I hope you’re excited after learning all the reasons why you should be growing these wonderful flowers in your yard! If so, you are probably wondering where to find them and how to go about planting them. Well, keep reading because that is what we will be discussing next!
In general, there are THREE ways to obtain Shasta Daisies:
1. Purchase them from a nursery.
Visit any nursery, and you are bound to encounter Shasta Daisies. These plants most often come in 3” or 4” pots, although you can sometimes find them in one gallon or larger containers.
It’s important to remember that these flowers spread. Shasta Daisies do so through underground rhizomes, which result in new clusters of daisies near the original plant.
The reason I’m telling you this is so that you will not place them too close together. Trust me; it’s easy to get carried away when it comes to daisies, so try to plan out your space ahead of time.
What else should you do when buying Shasta Daisies?
First, look for healthy, well-established plants that have thick stems and fresh, green leaves. Ensure the soil surrounding your plant is moist to the touch but not overly wet.
After selecting healthy specimens, follow these steps to plant them in the ground.
- Decide where to plant your Shasta Daisies. I like to place mine along the borders of my flowerbeds and garden walkways. Remember that these flowers have root systems that can allow them to spread. To prevent overcrowding, ensure your specimens have at least 18-24 inches between plants.
- After selecting your spot, dig a hole roughly twice as wide as the roots, and have the root ball about 1-2 inches above ground level.
- Gently remove the plant from its pot, ensuring you keep the root ball intact as much as possible. Squeeze the container, and the root will generally pop right out. Place the plant into your hole and fan the root system out to ensure even coverage.
- Add a bit of plant food to provide micro-nutrients and improve the pH balance of your soil if needed. I find it extremely beneficial to add a layer of mulch surrounding the daisy plant, which helps retain moisture and prevent weeds.
- Water your new plants, ensuring the root ball is thoroughly soaked but not overly saturated. As the Shasta Daisies are becoming established, make sure to provide plenty of water, especially if you are not receiving much rain at that time.
Now that all the hard work is done, the only thing left to do is sit back and wait for blooms to appear!
2. Start Shasta Daisies from Seed.
Place seeds directly into the ground once the danger of frost has passed. Follow these steps:
- Choose a location that gets at least five to six hours of direct sunlight each day. Loosen the soil and mix in a generous amount of organic compost. The ideal mixture should be around 2/3 soil and 1/3 compost.
- Plant the seeds about 1/8th of an inch deep. Just try to lightly cover the seeds with your compost and soil mixture.
- Continue planting seeds, spacing them around 18 to 24 inches apart.
- Water lightly and continue watering at least weekly until your plants are well established.
- To get a head start on the growing season, you may also start your seeds indoors in pots. Start seeds indoors around four to six weeks before the last frost, and you will have fully established plants that are ready to go come spring. Make sure to place the planted seeds near a window that gets lots of sunshine!
When starting daisies from seed, remember that you will not see blooms the first season. So you should not feel as though you have done something wrong if you do not notice any blossoms. Daisies are perennials, so your plants will flower for years to come.
3. Transplant and Divide Shasta Daisies.
Since daisies spread, it can be a good idea to divide them occasionally. You probably won’t have to do this more than once every three to five years, but it’s still important if you want to keep your flowers from getting too far out of hand.
When should you divide your Shastas? If your plants droop or develop woody stems, dividing them will provide a fresh start for the remaining flowers. However, you may also wish to divide healthy plants if your flowerbed becomes too crowded.
Choose a cool, overcast day for dividing these daisies. Hot, humid temperatures will put additional stress on your flowers, which in turn can affect the health of your new starts.
Use a garden shovel to gently cut around a clump of daisies. Ensure you go just deep enough to pick up most of the root ball. Lift your plant, roots and all, with the shovel and then set it aside.
Split the plants apart very gently, taking care to remove any damaged ones from the center. You should wind up with two or three different sections from each cluster that you can then transplant elsewhere.
Deadheading for Even More Blooms.
To keep your plants producing new blooms, try deadheading Shasta Daisies flowers as soon as they begin to wither. Use a set of garden shears to take off the flowers about halfway down the stem.
The purpose of a flower is to eventually turn into a seed. Once this process has completed, the plant has no need to create new blossoms. Deadheading means that once you start to see a flower wither and die, you cut off the flower so that it doesn’t produce any seeds! If your Shasta Daisies never creates any viable seeds, then it will continue to provide flowers to accomplish this goal.
I can usually get a second blooming this way and occasionally even a third!
Pests & Diseases That Affect Shasta Daisies
Although Shasta Daisies are reasonably hardy, they are not entirely disease resistant. Here are a few pests and diseases you will need to watch for.
Gray Mold (Botrytis)
Caused by a fungus, daisies affected by gray mold will develop gray, fuzzy leaves. Moist, humid conditions give gray mold the ideal environment in which to thrive. Furthermore, the fungus can overwinter in the soil, resulting in unsightly damage when your daisies appear in spring.
Root-knot nematodes are a type of parasitic microscopic worm that is virtually impossible to see with the naked eye.
Juveniles will chew through the root of a plant, creating swellings and “knots,” which are enlargements that form in response to the trauma caused by the nematode.
How do you know if your daisies have been affected by Root-knot Nematodes?
Look for symptoms such as wilting, yellowing, and stunted growth, which is the worst during the day. Your plants typically recover at night, only to start the process over again the next day.
Aster Yellows most often affect coneflowers. However, any plant in the Aster family, such as Shasta Daisies, can contract this illness.
A bacteria-like phytoplasma causes Aster Yellows. It’s spread by aster leafhoppers, who use their long sucking mouthpieces, or stylets, to remove water and nutrition from plants. While doing so, the insect will leave behind a bit of saliva. So if the leafhopper previously dined on an infected flower, the phytoplasma will then be deposited into the healthy one.
With Aster Yellows, your daisies may develop yellow or even white leaves due to a process known as chlorosis. In other words, the leaves cannot produce enough chlorophyll for them to turn green.
Unfortunately, there is no remedy for Aster Yellows.
Once you have dug up and removed the infected plants, BURN THEM, or place them in plastic bags. DO NOT add them to your compost pile, or even more of your plants will be affected.
THREE Fun Facts About Shasta Daisies
Fact #1: The Shasta Daisy is Named for Mount Shasta.
Botanist Luther Burbank, who lived in California, developed the Shasta Daisy as a hybrid back in 1890 by crossing multiple daisies.
In California, there is a beautiful mountain named Mount Shasta, which is almost always covered in white snow.
I hope you can see the connection?
The Shasta Daisy was named after Mount Shasta because the flower petals are bright white, just like snow.
Fact #2: They are Often Used to Predict Romance.
I can almost guarantee you have played the following game with a daisy!
Holding a daisy in your hand, you pluck one petal off and say, “He (she) loves me.”
Then you pick off another one and say, “He (she) loves me not.”
You continue in this fashion until all of the petals are gone. Whatever phrase you end up with when you get to the last petal will allegedly predict the outcome.
This game is actually an old French custom that dates back to the early 1800s. When you’re finished pulling petals, throw the center into the air, and the number of pieces that fall back onto your hand will allegedly determine how many children you will have, as well.
Fact #3: The Daisy Chain has Set a World Record.
Villagers in Good Easter, Chelmsford, Essex, made history on May 27, 1985. That’s when a team of workers created the world’s longest daisy chain. As stated in the Guinness Book of World Records, the daisy chain measured 6,980 feet, 7 inches, or a total of 1.31 miles (2.1 km)!
We can only imagine how many daisies it took to create a chain that long. As you will see in the following video, a chain stretching approximately 11 meters (or just over 36 feet) required 179 daisies.
I love Shasta Daisies. They’re a classic favorite that grows well in flowerbeds, hanging baskets, or window boxes. Not only do they add a source of food for bees, butterflies, and birds to my garden, but my family continues to enjoy them year after year.
I hope this information will encourage you to plant some Shasta Daisies of your own.
Please leave a comment and let me how you enjoy Shasta Daisies?
Make sure to include where you live. 🙂
Talk to you soon.