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English Daisy

A Few Words About The English Daisy

When we think of the English daisy, we usually think of it as a weed in the lawn, although not an unattractive one. Even though we don't like to see an occasional white flower in an expanse of lawn that is supposed to be solid green and nothing else, the English daisy does have its charms. Still, a flower that is growing where it should not be, falls into the category of a weed, attractive or not.

Still, one might well wonder why on earth we would want to collect or purchase the seeds of this lawn weed, and what purpose it would serve. In the first place, the English daisy makes a nice bedding plant as well as a container plant. It should be added that the seeds you would purchase for this purpose are almost always cultivars, which are larger and showier than the common little lawn plant. The English daisy, Bellis perennis, is a member of the Asteraceae family, and at times goes by the name of White Carpet Daisy, though the blooms are usually tinged with maroon and yellow. In its wild state, the English daisy features a single bloom at the end of the stem, but many of the cultivars have semi-double or double flowers that are not only white, but also pink, salmon or even ruby red.  It makes a nice addition to what many would consider to be an old-fashioned style of garden.

The English daisy is a perennial but is almost always grown as an annual in the garden, especially in cooler climates, and as a biennial in warmer climates. The plant blooms in early spring, often with the first disappearance of snow, and continues blooming until hot summer weather arrives. It will readily self-seed, which is fine in some locations, not so fine in or around a lawn. Self-seeding can be prevented by timely dead heading

Good For Slopes - The English daisy typically grows to around 6" in height, though occasionally a bit taller, and grows in clumps between 6" and 12" wide and has a habit of spreading, making it very suitable as a ground cover, particularly on slopes. It will do well in both sun or shade, though not necessarily deep shade. Although its stems are somewhat on the short side, the daisy makes a very fine cut flower and can also be used in dried flower arrangements.

Fertilizer And Water - Fertilizer can be either a quick release type or a slow release type, with fish emulsion being perhaps the best choice. A slow released fertilizer however does have the advantage of only needing to be applied once during the growing season. Soil that is kept moist is best, which is probably one reason the English daisy is so often found in lawns. The plant will not do well however, and in fact may not grow at all, in areas where the soil can become waterlogged, even for short periods. Compacted soil should be avoided for the same reason, as it may not allow good drainage.

Planting - Plants can be sown from seeds, but the cultivars are very often purchased in containers with the roots then being divided for planting. When planting, whether in containers, as bedding plants, or as a ground cover, the plants should be placed between 4" and 6" apart. Placing an inch or two thickness of mulch around each plant is recommended, though the mulch should not be allowed to cover the top of the plant. Organic compost makes the best mulch material for this plant.

If there is a danger involved, it might be that you will become so enamored with the daises blooming in your garden, that if some migrate to your lawn through self-seeding, you might be reluctant to use a lawn mower in those areas.


 

 


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