Scientific Name: Leucanthemum × superbum
Common Names: Shasta Daisy, Leucanthemum
Family: Asteraceae (Daisy)
Shasta daisy is an old cross made by American horticulturist Luther Burbank in 1890 of various daisy species native to Europe or Asia. First Leucanthemum vulgare was crossed with Leucanthemum maximum, the offspring of this cross was then crossed with Leucanthemum lacustre, finally the offspring of that cross was further crossed with Nipponanthemum nipponicum. Shasta daisy is named after Mount Shasta in California, with the colour of the petals being reminiscent of this snow topped mountain.
The blooms of shasta daisy have thick stalks and stay fresh for a long time after harvesting, they will keep looking great for up in a week in cut flower arrangements. Shasta daisy can be grown in larger pots and containers. Shasta daisy helps to attract bees, butterflies and other beneficial insect pollinators to the garden.
Shasta daisy grows and flowers best when planted in a full sun location. Shasta daisy prefers growing in fertile soil that is well-drained and rich with organic matter, add compost or well-rotted animal manures if your soil is sandy, lacking in nutrients or heavy with clay. Don't overfertilise or plants will have excess leafy growth at the expense of flower production. Apply gypsum prior to planting to help break up clay soils and improve drainage. Shasta daisy prefers a pH range of 6.1 to 7.8, many native Australian soils are more acidic than ideal so applying garden lime before planting can be beneficial. Shasta daisy is drought tolerant once established and frost hardy. Deadhead spent flowers regularly to encourage additional flower bud production. Shasta daisy may self-sow in the garden, if this becomes a problem remove any flower heads before they set seed and keep on top of weeding out any unwanted seedlings. Mulch well around plants to retain soil moisture and reduce competition from weeds. Shasta daisies are perennial but should be dug up and divided every few years, this can be done at anytime provided they are not flowering. If they are not divided their roots may become congested inhibiting their ability to uptake water and nutrients from the surrounding soil resulting in unhealthy plants.
When To Sow
In cool and mountainous areas of Australia sow shasta daisy seeds during Spring. In temperate areas of Australia sow shasta daisy seeds from August to October or during March. In subtropical areas of Australia sow shasta daisy seeds from July to September or from March to April. Shasta daisy is unlikely to grow well in the humid tropics.
How To Sow
Shasta daisy seeds are small and require light to germinate, so scatter them over the surface of your growing medium and cover them with just a light sprinkling of extra mix. Press down gently to ensure good contact between the germinating seeds and the damp growing medium. Because they are so close to the surface the seeds will be extra susceptible to drying out so water them every day during the hotter months or every other day during the cooler months and don't leave them out in full sun. Thin or divide the seedlings into individual small pots once they are large enough to safely handle. When planting out space shasta daisy plants 40cm apart to allow sufficient room for growth.
Shasta daisy seeds take between 11 and 20 days to germinate.
Time To Flowering
Shasta daisies can be slow to reach maturity and flower, depending on the time of year when sown it can take from 25 up to 50 weeks for the first flower buds to appear.