By: Nikki Tilley, Author of The Bulb-o-licious Garden
The world of daisy plants is diverse, all with different needs. However, one thing common to nearly all daisy varieties is deadheading, or removal of their spent blooms.
One of the most commonly asked questions in the gardening realm refers to daisies, specifically Shasta daisies, which seem to be one of the more popular varieties grown. For example, we hear a lot of “when do Shasta daisies bloom?” and “should Shasta daisy be deadheaded to keep blooming all summer long?”
First of all, Shastas normally bloom in summer and will continue throughout fall if regular deadheading is performed. So yes, deadheading Shasta daisies (and other varieties) is a good idea. Deadheading daisies not only improves their overall appearance but will also inhibit seed production and stimulate new growth, which encourages additional blooms. By deadheading regularly, you can extend the flowering season. In fact, this simple pruning technique can produce heavier, longer-lasting blooms in daisy plants.
So how do you deadhead a daisy plant? Learning how to deadhead Shasta daisies and other similar types is easy. The beat time for deadheading your plants is just before the blooms die back completely. In other words, as soon as the flowers begin to fade, wither, or turn brown, it’s time to deadhead. You can either cut the spent blooms with a sharp knife or use pruning shears. Pinching or pulling off flowers does not always provide the best results.
Once you find blooms that are beginning to wilt and turn brown, or even seedheads that may have already formed, you should remove them back to the first set of leaves. For instance, if there are other healthy blooms or buds near the dying ones, cut them off to the point where it meets the other stems.
For daisy varieties that produce single stems per flower, like Gerbera and Shasta, it’s better to cut the individual stem back to the base of the plant where it meets the foliage. If all the blooms are spent, then simply cut the entire plant back to the base of the plant. This will oftentimes stimulate new growth and thus result in additional flowering.
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Read more about Shasta Daisies
A butterfly magnet that blooms from late spring to early autumn, "Banana Cream" (Leucanthemum superbum "Banana Cream") is a Shasta daisy cultivar, which produces masses of blooms that emerge bright yellow and mature into a shade of creamy white with contrasting yellow centers. Deadheading "Banana Cream" prolongs bloom time and keeps the plant tidy, but some gardeners may have good reasons to skip this simple task. This heat- and pest-resistant plant reaches heights of 15 to 36 inches at maturity and grows in U.S.Department of Agriculture plant hardiness zones 5b through 9a.
How to Grow
Gerbera daisies sport large, colorful blooms with bright centers. Bright pink, purple and yellow are just some of the color varieties available. Grown as a perennial outdoors in the southern United States or as a potted or bedding annual in the north, prolonging the blooms of the Gerbera daisy adds color indoors or out for much longer than just letting them go to seed. Once a plant produces seeds, it stops flowering. Arresting seed development encourages further blooming.
Inspect the flower during blooming for spent flower heads. Look for browning and withering of the petals.
Cut off the stem supporting the spent bloom near the base of the plant, using sharp and clean scissors. Avoid cutting into the leaves emerging in the area.
Check the plant for seed heads forming where blooms have already withered away. These form on the top of the stem once the petals fall off. Snip the stems with seed heads off at the base.
Remove all petals that have fallen into the pot or onto the garden bed to clean up the appearance and prevent fungal diseases from breeding in them.
Continue checking and removing spent flower heads until all blooming has stopped. Cut off the last of the stems but allow the foliage to die back naturally if you are growing Gerbera as perennials. Dig up and dispose of the plant if growing as an annual.
Remove dead and damaged leaves by cutting them off at soil level or where they emerge from the crown of the plant. This improves appearance and stops disease.
Pinch off the flower heads with your fingers at a point ¼ inch beneath them instead of cutting if desired. The stems will wilt on their own.
Do not try and pull up the entire stem, as this will uproot the daisy or damage the crown.
There are many varieties of Shasta Daisy available. Here are a few to try:
Silver Princess Shasta Daisy is prized for its smaller and more compact growth with large showy flowers.
Shasta Daisy Becky offers more tolerance to southern and northern climates.
Silver Princess Dwarf has large snow white daisies and grows to only 12″ tall with a 12″ spread. Nice compact size that is perfect for smaller garden spots and containers.
Shasta Daisy ‘White Breeze’ has wide-open white daisies that appear the very first year from seed.
Shasta Daisy Alaska grows to about 2 1/2 feet tall with very large flowers.
If you would like to be reminded of the care tips in this post, pin the image below to one of your gardening boards.
What is your favorite type of daisies? What is it that bothers you most about trying to grow them? I’d love to hear your comments below.
Admin note: This post for how to care for Shasta daisies first appeared on the blog in June of 2018. I have updated the post to add new images, a printable project card, and a video for you to enjoy.
Plants like Livingston, Gerbera or Shasta daisies differ much in their nature, but in nearly all cases, deadheading daisies must be done routinely.
Deadheading encourages a more productive flowering and helps to maintain a nice appeal for your garden. It’s good to remove dead flowers from your plant to promote more growth.
Nevertheless, the time allocated for deadheading is indeed rewarding, by removing dead or dying flowers, you reduce the chances of pest problems and plant diseases.
For most gardeners, deadheading daisies ensure a rich blossom of new flowers in the subsequent year.
Deadheading daisies is a simple method.
That’s all there is to it! Your daisies will thank you by growing thicker and fuller, and catching less pests or diseases throughout the season.