Dependable cottage garden favourites that can be relied upon to provide a good show of large daisy-like blooms in summer.
The original hybrid was introduced in the 18th century by American plant breeder and horticulturalist Luther Burbank. He crossed several species from around the world to create Leucanthemum x superbum, and named it after the snow-capped Mount Shasta in California.
Family: Asteraceae (daisy)
Botanical Name: Leucanthemum
Common Names: Shasta daisy, max daisy
Foliage: Deciduous, narrow toothed, dark-green leaves.
Flowers: Large daisy-like flower heads with a yellow central disc and white rays, on tall stems. Can be single, double or semi-double. Pastel yellow shades are also available.
Flowering Period: June-August or later (depending on variety).
Soil: Moist but well-drained, fertile soil (chalk, clay, sand or loam). Any pH.
Conditions: Full sun or partial shade. Plant in an east, west or south facing aspect, in a sheltered position.
Habit: Clump forming.
Type: Herbaceous perennial.
Hardiness: Most varieties are fully hardy in the UK.
Easy to grow and one of the best large white flowers of summer. Shasta Daisies are vigorous, clump forming, long-flowered and suitable for a wide range of soils and conditions. They do best in a moderately fertile, moist loam, in full sun. Tolerant of clay, chalky soils and coastal exposure.
Available in a range of heights, they are ideal for flower beds or the front, middle and back of the border (depending on variety). Smaller varieties can also be grown in pots.
Although double flowering forms provided the most impact the single-flowered varieties are attractive to butterflies and other pollinators.
All tall forms are excellent as cut flowers.
The lax stems of tall varieties often need support, especially after heavy rain.
Deadhead regularly to extent the flowering season. Tall varieties often benefit from a 'Chelsea Chop' in late May.
Cut the stems down to the ground in late autumn, once flowering has finished.
Divide plants every three years or so to refresh them.
Susceptible to attack by aphids and leaf and bud eelworms. Generally disease free .
Divide established clumps in March or September. Only replant the fresh outer growth and discard the old worn-out centre.
Seed sown in early spring will often flower the same year.
A number of good garden varieties are available based mainly on L. x superbum:
Leucanthemum x superbum is a hardy, clump-forming perennial with compact dark green leaves and large white (or yellow) daisy-like flowers with a yellow centre. Good cultivars include:
Leucanthemum paludosum (creeping daisy) is an annual that bears an abundance of small white flowers with yellow centres. Height to 1ft (30cm).
Leucanthemum maximum uliginosum (now classified as 'Leucanthemella serotina') (moon daisy, autumn ox-eye) a clump-forming hardy perennial with narrow, lobed leaves and white daisy flowers in October-November. Useful as late-flowering perennial, thrives in wet soils. Height and spread to 2ft (60cm).
Leucanthemum vulgare (ox-eye daisy) is the common form that produces plentiful big cheery flowers in the wild. It is often found growing wild in vast swathes along the road-side and across new meadows. For sale at Crocus.