A popular short-term flowering plant, the Florists’ Daisy requires production techniques beyond the capability of the amateur.
Deep green, aromatic, lobed leaves are set on short stems topped with double, semidouble, or single flowers in a wide range of colors: white, cream, red, orange, yellow, and pink. Anemone-centered flowers are also available, as are fine-petaled “spiders,” and “spoons” with rolled petals opening out at the ends. Most Florists’ Daisy consists of several cuttings inserted around the edge of a pot, and because the soil is filled with roots, plants tend to dry out quickly.
In nature, the flowering time is controlled by day length: they are “short-day” plants that flower naturally in late summer and fall. Commercial growers manipulate artificial fighting to bring plants into flower throughout the year, but they are probably most popular as fall and winter plants. (Buy only plants that are showing color in the buds; others may not open.) Plants are also treated with dwarfing chemicals to keep them compact; without these chemicals, most varieties would flower at 3-4ft/90cm-1.2m high. These are only temporary houseplants, and they can sometimes be successfully planted outdoors in mild climates, where they will revert to their full height and natural flowering season the following year.
FACT FILE of Florist’s Daisy
ORIGIN Northern temperate zones; hybrid.
HEIGHT To 12in/30cm.
POTTING MIX Not applicable.
PROPAGATION Take soft stem cuttings to produce garden plants; it is not possible for the home gardener to produce successful houseplants.
KEEPING PLANTS Discard after flowering, or plant outdoors.
Florist’s Daisy PLANT CARE
- Moderately bright light without direct sun.
- Flowers last best in reasonably cool conditions of 55°-60°F/13°-16°C.
- Keep the soil moist at all times.
TIPS AND GUIDE FOR Florist’s Daisy
- Chrysanthemum frutescens (syn. Argyranthemum frutescens), the white marguerite, has masses of daisylike flowers with a bright yellow central disc.
- It can grow to 3ft/90cm, but on pot plants—best bought from a grower in early spring—the growing shoots are usually pinched off, and the plants are about 18in/46cm high. C.f. ‘Etoile d’Or’ has lemon yellow petals and ‘Mary Wootton’ rose-pink petals.
- Chrysanthemum frutescens, the white marguerite, is one of the most floriferous and rewarding of summer-flowering plants.
- Water frequently to keep the soil thoroughly moist.
- A wide variety of flower types and shapes is available, though the doubles are probably the most popular.
- Compact, low-growing plants are produced by the use of dwarfing compounds. Surviving plants will eventually return to their natural height.
- The colorful flowers should last for several weeks in reasonably cool, bright conditions.