Chrysanthemums are a versatile and vigorous group of flowering plants that come from Asia. The many species of this popular perennial boast attractive blossoms of various sizes and colors that are dependable staples in residential yards and gardens year after year.
Shasta Daisy is particularly popular among homeowners, its classic daisy flower being one of the most loved flower forms. Ideal both for the garden and for cutting, flowers are long blooming, but plants are not necessarily long-lived.
Shasta daisy varieties vary in hardiness, the toughest ones being able to withstand winter cold as far north as the Great Lakes, New York and Southern New England (zone 4). Most are more comfortable from the Ohio Valley south where winter temperatures do not drop below -10°F.
Size: Shasta daisies types differ in height. They range from 36 inches (‘Alaska’) to 16 inches (‘Miss Muffet’) to 10 inches (‘Snowlady’). Standard shasta daisy plants are typically 3 feet tall, spreading to about 2 feet wide at maturity. Dwarf versions grow to about 1 foot tall and measure about 12 to 18 inches wide. Plants spread rapidly by means of shallow roots, forming large clumps that need dividing every few years.
Foliage: Foliage of shasta daisies is medium to dark green. Individual leaves are narrow, from 1 1/2 to 3 inches long, smooth and deeply toothed. They grow on alternating sides of the plant stem. In some regions shasta daisy foliage is evergreen.
Flowers: Shasta daisy flowers look like the classic daisy. They may be from 2 to 6 inches across, depending on the variety. They always feature a ring of white ray petals with yellow centers, growing singly at the end of individual plant stems. Nowadays some specialty types have double flowers with 2 rows of ray petals. Some even have frilled petals, or are so full that they are rounded like a ball. Long-blooming, they appear in June and continue until August.
Shasta Daisy Choices
Your local nursery or garden center probably offers shasta daisy varieties that are appropriate for your local climate. When ordering through a catalog, read the descriptions and zone numbers carefully to be sure your choice will handle winters in your area.
‘Alaska’ is extremely hardy with lots of flowers; 4 inch wide blooms.
‘Polar Sun’: 2 feet tall, has fringed petals, secondary flowers branch from the main stem.
‘Edgebrook Giant’ has 7 inch blooms.
‘Esther Read’, ‘Jennifer Read’, ‘Wirral Supreme’, ‘Summer Snowball’ all have double flowers.
‘Marconi’, ‘Chiffon’ and ‘Aglaya’ have frilly flowers.
‘Snow Lady’ is the earliest shasta to flower on a petite plant, was All-America Selections winner for 1988.