Daisies are a commonly found garden flower for a reason: their sunny centers, playful appearance, and bright white petals are eye-catching and enchanting. Springtime sees many a gardener catching daisy chain envy, and it’s no wonder so many people enjoy having them in their garden. But getting started, especially if this is your first time growing daisies, can be an intimidating task!
No need to fear! I’ve put together a list of everything you need to know for growing daisies in your garden, whether you’re a veteran gardener or a first-time flower-growing hopeful. Let’s get started!
Choosing the Best Daisy for You
There are so many daisy varieties to pick from that it’s almost impossible to pick just one, especially if you’re new to growing daisies. Picking the best daisy for your garden relies on many factors, including but not limited to:
- Your hardiness zone
- Whether you live near the ocean or not
- Your desired garden aesthetic
- How much time and effort you can devote to growing daisies
- And more!
For a comprehensive list of the best daisies to grow in your garden and which will be best for your climate, your desired aesthetic, and your schedule, take a look at my list of the best daisies to grow in your backyard! There are plenty of options on the list, such sea-salt-friendly daisies for the beach-dweller, colorful daisies for those looking for a vibrant garden, and low-maintenance daisies for the busy bee who doesn’t have time to fuss over their plants!
For the sake of brevity, I’m going to focus on one of the most common garden daisies for this guide, the Shasta Daisy. This variety of daisies is great for beginners, shares its best growing practices with many other kinds of daisies, and has the classic daisy look so many people look for!
When to Plant
Shasta Daisy seeds should be started indoors to get a jump on growing while the weather is still cold. Most seed packets suggest seeding indoors roughly six to eight weeks prior to the final frost in your area; the timing of this will depend on your hardiness zone. You should see little sprouts popping up about two to three weeks after planting.
If you’re sowing your seeds directly into the ground, you’ll want to plant a bit closer to the final frost of the season, around two to four weeks prior rather than six to eight. This is a good method if you’re not too eager to have seedlings cluttering up the inside of your home, but if you’re wanting to ensure neat rows in your garden, you’ll want to stick with starting your seeds indoors!
Seeding the daisies directly can be more of a gamble, as external factors such as weather or animal activity can cause the seeds to shift from their planting place. Starting the seedlings indoors and transferring them yourself ensures that you can place them intentionally.
What Soil to Use
Shastas aren’t too picky about their soil; they’re hardy flowers that can thrive whether their soil is top-notch or poor quality. However, they (as well as most daisies!) do require well-draining soil to prevent root rot and overwatering. To improve the drainage of whichever soil you choose, you can add some sand or sphagnum peat moss to it before adding it to your garden. If you want to really ensure your daisies have the best soil for their needs, you can measure the soil’s pH levels. Shastas can grow just fine regardless of pH, but they do best with a pH level of 5.5-6.
Watering Your Daisies
If you’re looking for a low-maintenance daisy that doesn’t require much time and care on your part, Shastas really are your best bet to begin growing daisies. They don’t need much in terms of a watering schedule; they’re considered drought-resistant flowers, and the biggest risk to their health is overwatering.
If you live in an area with consistent rainfall, you shouldn’t need to worry about watering them much at all; if you live in a drier area, thoroughly water them once, then wait for the soil to dry. Do not water while the soil is still damp; even if it’s dry on the top layer, be sure to test by sticking your finger into the soil to see if it’s dry all the way down.
Best Fertilizer for Daisies
If you choose to add sand and peat moss to your soil while growing daisies, you already have a leg up on creating healthy soil for your daisies. But what about making sure they get the proper amount of nutrients? While Shastas can grow without fertilizer, if you truly want to see your blooms thrive while growing daisies, you’re going to want to invest in something to feed them.
You can either go a more natural route (such as adding bone meal, blood meal, manure, or other kinds of compost), or you can purchase pre-made fertilizer. Either way, try to ensure that you find one with a higher phosphorus content.
Deadheading’s name more or less explains what it is: it’s the process of cutting away dead or dying flower heads from plants. While pulling a Queen of Hearts (“Off with their heads!”) on your daisies might seem counterintuitive, it actually helps encourage new blooms and new growth in the remaining plants. When you’re growing daisies, leaving dead blooms attached to the plants forces the plant to waste its energy on them rather than growing new ones, and this can stunt your garden’s growth. By deadheading, you can help your plants preserve their energy and encourage them to flourish.
One extremely common harmful daisy pest is the aphid, a tiny insect that can damage your plants with abandon if not taken care of. One way to effectively get rid of aphids, as well as other garden pests, is to use insecticidal soap on your plants; however, this isn’t a long-term solution and will likely require repeated use throughout the season.
If you’re willing to invest in a more permanent solution while growing daisies—and you aren’t too afraid of bugs to keep a few around in your garden—you can purchase a heap of ladybugs to introduce into your garden. While it may seem strange to put more bugs in the garden when you’re trying to get rid of other bugs, ladybugs are a natural predator of pests like aphids. These spotted insects will happily clear out your pest problem without damaging your plants themselves; just consider them your little helpers in the garden!
How to Keep Them Coming Back
Many daisies, including Shastas, are perennials, which means they’ll come back year after year if cared for properly. Deadheading is an important part of this process, but if you really want to keep your garden consistent, you’ll want to keep planting! Most recommend sowing more seeds every year in order to keep the cycle of daisy growth going.
Wrapping Up The Guide to Growing Daisies
Now that you’re armed with everything you need to know to get started on your daisy garden, what are you waiting for? Get ahold of some seeds and get planting!
Want to learn more about different kinds of daisies and how to grow them? Take a look at our daisy section!