WATCH: Shasta Daisies Are the Most Cheerful Summer Flowers
With their sunny centers and starbursts of white petals, Shasta daisies have personality. When summertime rolls around and these blossoms break out of their buds, they prove, once again, that they're the most cheerful flowers of the season. The delight of daisies was immortalized in the Nora Ephron film You've Got Mail when Meg Ryan's character says, "Don't you think daisies are the friendliest flower?" Yes, we do! Let us count the ways.
Shasta daisies are also known as Chrysanthemum maximum, C. x superbum, Leucanthemum maximum, and L. superbum. In garden parlance, they're perennial plantings that are oh-so easy to grow from seed—classic flowers and cartoon-favorite forms that add an undeniable dose of delight to any garden, vase, flower crown, or arrangement.
Shasta daisies start blooming in spring and carry on through the summer months. Many bloom from May to October, and they produce those telltale white flowers surrounding bright yellow centers. Often, Shastas don't finish blooming until well into fall. They come in single, double, quilled, and shaggy-flowered forms, and their variety makes them popular additions to garden borders and cut arrangements.
The Southern Living Garden Book describes Shastas' connection to the Southern tradition of passalong plants, explaining, " ‘Becky,' a tall single selection with sturdy stems, is a popular Southern passalong plant known by several names, including ‘July daisy,' ‘Ryan's daisy,' and ‘Becky's daisy.' " As for selections to plant in your garden, popular types for gardens and arrangements include ‘Ester Read,' ‘Marconi,' ‘Aglaya,' and ‘Alaska.' ‘Horace Read' has a dahlia-like form, while ‘Cobham's Gold' and ‘Canarybird' has yellow-tinted flowers.
They're easy to plant, establish, and care for, which has made shasta daisies a longtime favorite for big plantings in Southern gardens for years and years. To grow your own, follow the instructions in The Southern Living Garden Book: "Set out divisions of Shasta daisies in fall or early spring; set out container-grown plants any time. These plants thrive in fairly rich, moist, well-drained soil. Prefer sun but do well in partial shade in Lower and Coastal South. Divide clumps every 2 or 3 years in early spring (or in fall, in Lower and Coastal)."
Do you have Shasta daisies in your garden? What are your favorite nostalgic flowers?