The term ‘daisy’ isn’t one specific flower – to a botanist it’s almost meaningless and to a florist it only means a general form of flower. To a gardener it usually means a flower with white petals in a single layer around a green or yellow center.
In this post I’ll introduce you to a few of the different “daisies” I know. I’ll list them by their scientific names (the genus) and also the common names you might see in the nursery. Notice that some of these aren’t white – I’m including plants with the “daisy” flower shape, meaning a flat disk of ray petals around an open center. They’re all loosely related because they fall into the larger plant family called Asteraceae.
Gerbera aka Gerbera Daisy
One of the most important flowers in commercial floral industry, this one comes in a rainbow of colors. It grows well in temperate zone gardens, but you see it more in supermarket bouquets than in the nursery.
Leucanthemum aka Shasta Daisy
A beautiful perennial that grows well where I live, in Northern California. Developed by Luther Burbank.
Erigeron aka Fleabane
A small plant that works well as a background or filler plant in the garden. I’m a big fan, as I mentioned in my post called “Small Stuff.”
Laya aka Tidy Tips
A charming California native. Available from Annie's Annuals and Perennials.
Osteospermum aka African Daisy
So useful in the garden! You’ll see it a lot in temperate gardens; it comes in a few colors including white. It spreads and re-seeds easily but it isn’t really invasive.
Tanacetum aka Feverfew
I use this plant a lot now that I grow cut flowers for floral work. It’s a tender perennial, lasting a couple of years before it needs to be replaced. I grow it from seed, starting in winter, then I plant the seedlings in the open garden in early February.
Chrysanthemum aka Mum
Only some of this huge group have the “daisy” flower form. I’ve posted about mums before (read that here) because they’re so beautiful, so varied, so useful … did I mention that I’m a big fan of this group??
Aster aka Aster
True asters are pretty, but untidy. They bloom in fall, which makes them valuable for floral work. The photo above is from Annie's Annuals and Perennials.
Bellis aka English Daisy
Not so common here in California because it doesn’t like summer heat, and because it’s often considered a pest and a lawn invader.
I could go on and add a few more to this list, like coneflower and Felicia, but I'll stop and let you all tell me about your favorite daisy.