Things can get intense by midsummer, with blazing sun, high humidity, and torrential downpours — sometimes all in the same afternoon! Fortunately, tough Shasta daisies stand up to extreme conditions while providing sunny good looks to any garden plot. Shasta daisies are easily recognizable as the “she loves me, she loves me not” flower: a bold, golden button surrounded by long white petals.
Though most people are familiar with traditional white, single-petal Shastas, breeders have come up with dozens of specialized varieties to add interest to your garden. Choose low-growing, neat mounds for the front of the border or tall hybrids for old-fashioned cottage gardens. Shasta daisies also come with pale yellow petals, and there are ruffled, double blooms available as well.
Shasta Daisy Basics
Growing Zones: 5-8
Bloom Time: Large, flat blooms in the traditional daisy shape emerge in midsummer and last for several weeks. Cutting back may encourage a second, smaller flush of blooms in autumn.
Exposure: Full sun
Mature Size: 1 to 3 feet tall with a spread of 2 feet, depending on variety
Notes: Shasta daisies are a drought tolerant plant with long, straight stems, making them ideal for borders as well as for cutting. Plant tall varieties in the back of the border to hide lanky stems after bloom, or choose a low-growing type to age a path with cheerful flower in early summer. Shastas are hardy plants and should survive a Kansas City winter with little effort.
Growing Shasta Daisies in the Landscape
Choose a sunny location for Shasta daisies. They need at least six hours of sunlight per day for best bloom, though afternoon shade can be beneficial in hot climates. Shastas aren’t fussy about soil type or fertility, as long as it’s fairly well drained. Bright white petals blend easily with many other flowers, making Shastas the perfect addition to any color scheme in your garden. It blooms at the same time as many daylilies and hydrangeas for a summery show.
Planting Shasta Daisies
Plant Shasta daisies in the spring after all danger of frost has passed. It’s best to put out transplants before bloom if possible; however, these tough plants will establish themselves throughout the summer as long as they receive adequate water for the first season.
To plant, dig a hole about twice as big around as the root ball of the transplant. Unless your soil is very poor or sandy, a handful of compost in the planting hole should be all the fertilizing it needs. Use a pocket knife to break apart any tightly wrapped roots and place plant in the hole, making sure to keep it at the same depth as it was in the pot. Backfill with soil and firm in place. Place multiple plants 12 to 24 inches apart to provide space to grow. Water well and mulch with compost or bark to hold in moisture.
For the first season, Shasta daisies will require an inch of rain per week — or sufficient irrigation to make up for any shortages. In the future, these plants tolerate drought extremely well and will only need watering in the most severe circumstances.
Ongoing Care for Shasta Daisies
Deadhead Shasta daisies after petals drop and the yellow centers turn brown. This will keep your garden looking neat and help the plant put energy into producing more blooms later. You can trim bead branches to the ground after a hard frost, but many Shastas will remain green at the surface of the ground well into the winter.
Shasta daisies may need dividing every few years to keep them strong. You’ll know it’s time when the center of the plant weakens and all the strong growth is forms a ring along the outside. To divide, gently dig up the whole root ball and use a sharp spade to cut the plant in half. Replant new, smaller plants one to two feet apart.