When they hear the word daisy, most people think of a flower with white elegant petals, a bright yellow center, and contrasting dark green leaves. And the second thought is probably a childhood memory when, after ripping the head from the stem, they would play “loves me/loves me not” by removing the petals one by one.
Today, many species bear the name daisy and feature the traditional shape of the daisy flower but belong to different genera. And lots of them do not even have the classic white petals and yellow ring combo, which has led some people to start talking about the “real” daisies and plants that just “look” like daisies. So what is all the fuss about?
What is Daisy?
As we have already said, the daisy plant is characterized by a flower head consisting of a central disc floret around which symmetrically arranged ray florets radiate. The flower heads, which are called capitula, appear on long stems.
Although members of different genera, all daisy species have one thing in common: they are a part of the Asteraceae family. This family is sometimes called the daisy family.
It is also called the sunflower family since their most famous representative is the sunflower. Considering the shape of its flower head, that should not come as a big surprise. And the fact that daisies are enormous fans of the full sun also should not shock you.
Daisy flowers are native to Europe, Australia, Africa, and North America, meaning different types of daisies will have different care requirements. For this reason, daisies, which are perennial plants, can not be grown as such just about everywhere.
Therefore, before you decide to up the vibrancy of your garden with any particular daisy flower, check its origin and what it will ask of you in terms of care.
Are there “real” daisies?
Although there are no such things as “real” and “fake” daisies, the common daisy (Bellis perennis) is considered to be the true daisy.
However, even that claim can be contested since there are people who grew up around Oxeye daisies (Leucanthemum vulgare), which is another wildflower sporting the usual yellow centers and white petals.
Either way, today, we have tons of different types of daisies in a myriad of flamboyant colors, making them one of the most popular flowers in the world. They also can differ in size, shape, and type of petal.
Apart from growing in cottage gardens and container beds, many daises are often used in cut flower arrangements because of their beautiful flowers and the fact that they stay fresh for a long time.
Most Popular Daisy Flowers
Besides the aforementioned common daisy and Oxeye daisy, some of the most popular types of daisies are the Gerbera daisy, Shasta daisy, Marguerite daisy, and Gloriosa daisy.
The name daisy comes from the old English word daegeseage, meaning “the day’s eye”. It was given in reference to the behavior of the plant’s petals, which are opened during the day but closed at night.
Common Daisy (Bellis Perennis)
The common daisy is a herbaceous plant from the Asteraceae family. Its botanical name is Bellis perennis, but this plant is also known as Lawn daisy, English daisy, and Bellis daisy.
The common daisy is native to Western, Central, and Northern Europe, but nowadays, it is widespread all over the world. It usually grows on meadows, pastures, and along roads up to 6 thousand feet above sea level.
Bellis daisies are usually grown in clusters as biennial plants. They bloom from early spring until the first frosts, so if you are looking for daisies that’ll brighten your garden for a long time, you can’t go wrong with them.
However, Bellis daisies are considered invasive in certain regions, so they are probably best suited for container gardens.
Depending on the variety, this classic daisy plant can grow up to 12 inches in height and width. The flower heads are composed of yellow tubular flowers and white petals, although there are also varieties with red and pink ray florets.
Plant common daisies in well-drained soil exposed to a lot of sunlight. They are not drought tolerant but do not like their soil to be excessively wet. You will need to water them in the morning and evening during hot summer days to ensure they continue to bloom at full strength. Although they do not need much nourishment, you will need to pay attention to the quality of the soil in order to have large and delightful blooms.
Healing Properties of Common Daisies
The English daisy is not just a gorgeous flower decoration for your garden! Its healing properties have been known since ancient times and have been confirmed by modern research.
The young leaves, which are most often collected in the spring, contain 20 to 40 percent vitamin C, about 4 percent vitamin A, potassium, calcium, and magnesium.
Daisy juice is used to cleanse the body of toxins, while the tea helps with relieving pain and cramps, rheumatism, gout, and arthritis. Tea is also used in treating bronchitis, chest pain, inflammation of the intestines and stomach, and liver and kidney diseases.
Oil from English daisies is a good remedy for wounds and inflamed joints.
English daisy extract is increasingly used in the cosmetics industry since it is quite effective in treating the freckles on the skin.
Apart from having medicinal applications, this plant is also edible. The open flowers can be eaten raw and usually serve as a decoration for various dishes, while hard green buds can be used as a spice after being marinated.
Bellis perennis might not be the most amazingly looking plant in the daisy family, but there is definitely more than meets the eye.
Gloriosa Daisy (Rudbeckia Hirta)
Native to North America, Gloriosa daisy is the most famous representative of the genus Rudbeckia. This plant can attribute its fame to the many lavish blossoms that at times look unreal.
Although technically perennials, Gloriosa daisies are more annual plants. But this should not discourage you from deciding to grow these beauties as they are adorned with a black center and arched golden and bright yellow petals that point downwards. The black disc earned them the popular name Black-eyed Susan.
The ray flowers also appear in a combination of colors such as yellow, orange, red, and rusty brown. In bi-colored varieties, the long-lasting flowers often turn completely red towards the end of the blooming season.
Black-eyed Susan is a shrubby plant with hairy stems and oval leaves. The stems reach two to three feet in height in mature plants, while the glamorous heads can stretch up to four inches in diameter.
Gloriosa daisies are easy to grow and have no special maintenance requirements. They like sunny positions but can tolerate light shade. Like many other daisy species, Gloriosas prefer permeable soil.
Originally prairie weeds, these bicolored sunflower lookalikes do not need a lot of nutrients and will do good even in soils with low fertility. However, in that case, the plant will not produce as many beautiful flowers, and those that do appear will be smaller.
It is good to cut the wilted flowers so that the plant does not waste its energy on producing seeds but rather on generating new flowers.
Gloriosa daisies attract butterflies and bees with their vibrant and attractive flowers. Birds are especially attracted to the flowers in winter because they contain the seeds they feed on.
It is not uncommon to see Gloriosa daisies as cut flowers since they have a vase life of a week to two weeks.
Gerbera Daisy (Gerbera Jamesonii)
A tender perennial (in colder climates, it is usually grown as an annual plant), native to South Africa, Gerbera daisy is a species that belongs to the genus of Gerbera plants. It is also known under the names Barberton daisy and Transvaal daisy.
Gerbera daisy is a plant that grows from 10 to 18 inches in height and 9 to 12 inches in width. Flowers appear on leafless stems, but the Transvaal daisy also has lush, textured green or dark-green foliage with wavy edges on its non-flowering stems.
Gerbera daisies are easily recognizable thanks to their almost luminous bright orange, white, pink, bright red, and yellow flowers. Vibrant petals can be single, semi-double, or double.
A large number of elegant Gerbera daisy hybrids available is explained by their popularity which surpasses the daisy genus: Gerbera daisies are one of the most sought-after plants in the world used in cut flower arrangements.
Gerbera daisies are most often grown for commercial purposes in greenhouses but are increasingly finding their way into the “regular” gardens due to their moderate care requirements.
Gerbera daisies thrive in warm places with plenty of light, nutrient-rich soil and on regular watering. However, care should be taken when watering them because the plant may rot and die if the soil gets too moist.
If for some reason, you are unsure whether you should grow these magnificent daisies, you should know that there is a better thing than “regular” Gerbera daisies – bicolored varieties!
Marguerite Daisy (Argyranthemum Frutescens)
Marguerite daisy is a perennial shrub from the Asteraceae family that naturally grows in the Canary Islands (a part of Spain located in Northwest Africa). Considering its native habitat, it is not difficult to understand why the Marguerite daisy is one of the more sensitive types of daisies that do not do well in shady and especially not in cold places.
Marguerite daisies are grown as annual ornamental plants in public gardens and parks. However, those people who want to enjoy the presence of these spectacularly flowering charmers year in, year out plant and grow them in pots that are brought inside a sheltered place with a minimum temperature of 50 F with the arrival of cold winter days.
Marguerite daisy is easily propagated by top cuttings or seeds, which should be sown in March or April.
The main pruning for this plant should be done in the spring. During the growth phase, the tops of young shoots should be trimmed to give the Marguerite daisy a more compact shape. Remove all wilted flowers regularly, and shorten wilted shoots by half the length of the shoot.
Stems that can grow up to three feet are highly branched, while the foliage is green or greenish-gray leaves pinnately divided. Oval or lanceolate foliage is between half an inch to three inches long and one and a half inches to two and a half inches wide.
Marguerite daisies’ fragrant flowers are single and about two and a half inches in diameter. Yellow centers are surrounded by white, pink, red, and yellow petals.
Oxeye Daisy (Leucanthemum Vulgare)
Originating from Europe and Asia but widespread and naturalized around the world, Oxeye daisy flowers are perennial herbaceous plants. They grow along forest roads and on dry and wet meadows and lawns. Because they have a rapid spreading habit in some areas, the wild daisies are considered a weed that is difficult to eradicate.
A favorite of pollinators, the Oxeye daisy is a plant characterized by single flower heads at the top of the three-foot erect leaf stalks. The base is cylindrical and laid obliquely; the leaves are alternate, oblong, glabrous, or sparsely hairy and irregularly serrated. Circling the tubular, golden-yellow flowers in the center are white flowers. Oxeye daisies bloom from early summer to autumn.
Oxeye daisies are often grown in a cottage garden or flower bed setting and are propagated by seeds in spring or by cuttings in autumn and spring.
These wildflowers are pretty resilient species, resistant to low temperatures and tolerant of lack of water.
They can also grow in various soil types but will thrive in moist but well-drained soil. They also do not mind if you grow them in partial shade, but as is the case with all daisies, they will exhibit showy blooms when grown in full sun.
Like common daisies, wild daisy flowers have many applications in medicine and cuisine. Cough, asthma, night sweats, and skin diseases are just a few cases in whose treatment this plant helps.
Young ground leaves, harvested before flowering, are edible and contain about 40 mg of vitamin C per 100 mg. They can be added raw to salads but have a very aromatic taste and are sometimes consumed in a mixture of other cooked foods. The root is also edible, while the flower buds can be pickled.
Shasta Daisy (Leucanthemum × Superbum)
Famous for its combination of bright yellow center and snow-white petals, Shasta daisies have that traditional daisy flower look.
The name Shasta comes from Mount Shasta, a majestic ice-topped volcano located close to the hometown of horticulturist Luther Burbank who bred this hybrid by combining four different types of daisies: Oxeye daisy, Japanese field daisy, English field daisy, and Portuguese field daisy.
Shasta daisies are often mistaken for the previously mentioned Oxeye daisies since they share genes and have the same-looking flower head.
The difference, however, is in the flower size – those of the Oxeye daisy do not exceed 3 inches in diameter.
In comparison, the Shasta daisy has large flowers which are at least 3 inches long in diameter. Another way of distinguishing between these two species is the type of ray flowers – the Oxeye daisy’s petals radiate around the floral disc almost one by one, while the Shasta daisy has a large number of overlapping petals.
Shasta daisies grow in one to two feet wide clumps. The height of the clump, however, depends on the exact variety: a single plant can be anywhere between eight inches and three feet. Petals also vary since they can be single or double.
Quasi-perennials, Shasta daisies are a species that blooms early through late summer. They are hardy in zones 4 through 9, and their foliage is evergreen in warmer climates.
As with any species from the sunflower family, Shasta daisies thrive in sunny locations. However, the varieties that feature double petals are not too fond of the hot sun in the afternoon.
Swan River Daisy (Brachyscome Iberidifolia)
Swan River daisy is a shrubby plant from the Asteraceae family. This herb is a semi-hanging flower with beautiful long shoots, making it suitable for planting in hanging flowering pots. However, it is equally decorative in a typical flower garden with fragrant blue, white, pink, and purple flowers.
Swan River daisy blossoms lavishly and profusely during summer and autumn, so much so that it will make the foliage almost unnoticeable under the compact erection.
The stem is highly branched and reaches 18 inches in height and 3 feet in width. Up-to-two-inches long leaves are finely divided, lanceolate, and softly textured. Single, tiny flowers are usually 1 inch in diameter.
Depending on the hardiness zone, the Swan River daisy can be a perennial (zones 9 to 11) or an annual plant (zones 2 to 8).
You should place it in a location with at least six hours of full sun, but know that it will not have much trouble acclimating to partial shade.
A native of Australia and sometimes called the Australian daisy, Swan River daisy is a drought-tolerant species that tolerates even poor soils. But if you have ever seen it in full bloom, you will surely do your best to provide optimal conditions for the best results in terms of eye-catching flower production.
Another thing that is worth pointing out is that these plants underperform in areas where the temperatures are too hot and humidity is too high. Cool(er) summers will bring out the best in them.
Pale Purple Coneflower (Echinacea Purpurea)
All the types of daisies we have mentioned so far sport the traditional daisy-like flower head structure and shape: flat or spoon-like ray flowers located at the base of a disc-shaped center. Although the Pale purple coneflower has the same attributes, the form of these attributes differs significantly from the “norm”. The down-pointing petals are highly curved and almost parallel to the stem, thanks to which the already large cone-shaped center comes to the fore even more.
Disc florets are coppery-orange, while the long and slender ray flowers are usually pale pink or purple (sometimes even white). Today, however, hybrids with more prominently looking flowers whose ray florets boast striking shades of purple and pink are available.
Pale purple coneflower is a shrubby-like perennial from the Echinacea genus. This plant can reach up to four feet in height in its natural environment. The up to nine-inch long, lance-shaped, and hairy foliage grows at the base of the plant, adding even more to the stand-out factor of the head.
A rich nectar source, Drooping coneflower is frequented by many pollinating insects. This prairie plant has medicinal properties and used to be a part of the traditional medicine of the Native Americans. Today it is used in herbal medicine due to its anti-inflammatory and antiseptic properties.
If you are considering whether to get Drooping coneflower to your garden or not, its low maintenanceness might tip the scale in favor of adding it. This wild and beautiful flower does not need much in terms of nutrients or water, and it is also not too picky when it comes to temperature or humidity. However, when presented with the choice, it would rather live in regions closer to the hot and dry end of the spectrum. Provided you give it lots of sunlight, you will not have much trouble growing Echinacea Purpurea.
African Daisy (Osteospermum)
Osteospermum is a genus of evergreen flowering plants adorned with dazzling bloom. The genus comprises over 70 species and is part of the daisy family.
Its natural habitat is veldts and grasslands of South Africa, which is why this species is better known as Cape or African daisy. Some of the most famous representatives of the African daisy genus are Osteospermum ecklonis, Osteospermum jucundum, and Osteospermum fruticosum.
African daisy is one of the plants with the longest blooming season, blooming profusely and repetitively from late spring to autumn.
This low-maintenance plant is resistant to milder frosts but not extreme cold and snow. Consequently, it is only hardy in zones 9 and above. Most African daisy cultivars, of which there are almost a thousand, are annuals.
African daisies can have pink, purple, yellow, blue, and white flowers, but there are also varieties with bicolored flowers. The flower is made up of a row of radial petals and the tufted center of a contrasting color.
Petals that close at night and when there is not enough light vary in shape since they can be flat, fringed, and slightly arched. Lanceolate leaves are gray-green and serrated at the edges.
African daisies can be propagated by seeds at the beginning of the spring or cuttings in mid-summer.
Whichever way you choose, be sure to plant them in a place that receives lot of direct sunlight. Loose and light soil rich in organic matter is the way to go when it comes to soil type.
Hanging leaves and flower heads on an African daisy indicate a lack of moisture. Regular watering is especially important during the summer drought when the plant must be watered abundantly.
Withered leaves and flowers past their bloom should be cut to stimulate the growth of new flowers. Then, in the middle of summer, proper and strong pruning, followed by feeding and thorough watering, is required. The plant will be rejuvenated and ready to grow new shoots and restore its bushy appearance.
African daisies are yet another highly durable daisy species used as cut flowers.
Desert Star Daisy (Monoptilon Bellidiforme)
The Desert star daisy is one of the most interesting and petite daisy-like flowers coming from the Mojave desert, which is located in the Southwestern United States.
Its daisy-likeness is even reflected in its botanical name – bellidiforme, which translates to “like the genus Bellis”.
Daisy desert star is an annual plant from the Monoptilon genus. This genus has only two species, the other one being Monoptilon bellioides. Monoptilon bellioides, better known as Mojave desert star, looks very similar to Desert star daisy but is bigger and has reddish stems, whereas Monoptilon bellidiforme has yellow-green ones.
Daisy desert star is a tiny plant growing in clumps that form mounds above the ground. The mound is usually just two inches tall and six to eight inches wide.
The flowering season is from early spring to summer. Similar to the original daisy, its flowerhead consists of white petals and a bright yellow center.
However, unlike most daisies, which have somewhat bland-looking foliage and stems, the Desert daisy has fleshy leaves with lots of bristle hairs.
Having some kind of a cactus-like feature is a must for all residents of the desert. The leaves are lanceolate and spread towards the top. Its short stems are hairy as well.
When it comes to maintenance, this plant does not really require much. Since its natural habitat is desert, it is quite a drought-tolerant species and can be a cute addition to xeriscaping gardens. It thrives under full sun and is best suited for growing in hardiness zones 9 and 10.
Painted Daisy (Tanacetum Coccineum)
You don’t get to be called Painted daisy for nothing. The combination of extravagantly colored overlapping petals and the bright yellow eye makes this species’ showy flowers one of the most fascinating on our list of plants from the daisy family.
Painted daisies are herbaceous perennials belonging to the Aster family. On thin stems that can reach up to three feet grow intensified, ferny bright green leaves, and on the top of the stem, there is daisy-like inflorescence.
Painted daisies are a great addition to cut flower bouquets since they can retain their freshness for a long time, which is why they are grown en masse. Due to their commercial popularity, a number of cultivars have been developed, and nowadays, Painted daisies can be found in numerous shades of red, magenta, marigold, yellow, white, etc.
Combining a couple of plants from each variety and planting them in a container garden or a flower bed is another widespread usage of these plants and a great way to paint a corner of your garden.
Although blooming time can differ from variety to variety, Painted daisies usually start showing their true colors from late spring through early summer.
If somehow you are not impressed with Painted daisies’ looks, you might consider planting them for their practical purposes. Painted daisies are insect repellers since they produce pyrethrum, a natural insecticide. They are also sometimes referred to as Pyrethrum daisies.
Painted daisies naturally grow in bright places, so they are best suited in full sun setting, although they tolerate partial shade, especially in areas with scorching summers. Places with moderate climates are the perfect environment for them. As long as the soil is moist and has good drainage, the exact soil type is not very important.
If you want to see a video about all the daisy flowers from this article and some other colorful daisies we did not mention, click below!
Frequently Asked Questions
What is the longest blooming daisy?
A: Shasta daisies have the longest blooming period, sometimes spanning spring, summer, and fall. Other daisy flowers with long-lasting flowers are African daisies and Gloriosa daisies.
What is the difference between a shasta daisy and a gerbera daisy?
A: There are two basic ways you can differentiate between these varieties. The first one is the flowerhead color. Shasta daisy represents the classic daisy flower with the yellow center and white petals, while the Gerbera daisy blooms in orange, pink, red, yellow, and white and has a dark center. The other difference is the size: Shastas are much larger, reaching 3 feet in height, while Gerberas do not grow past 18 inches.
Are blue daisies real?
A: Yes. While all daisy plants we have listed in this article have graciously and exquisitely looking flowers, only one species can claim that it has something unique. Felicia amelloides, better known as the Blue daisy, is the only daisy flower whose ray florets are genuinely blue.
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