Leucanthemum

Leucanthemum flowers

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.

Planting and Growing Leucanthemum

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.

Taking Care of Leucanthemum

The lax stems of tall varieties often need support, especially after heavy rain.

Pruning Leucanthemum

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.

Pests and Diseases

Susceptible to attack by aphids and leaf and bud eelworms. Generally disease free .

Propagating Leucanthemum

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.

Popular Varieties of Leucanthemum

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:

  • 'Banana Cream' is a stout variety with soft yellow flowers. Height and spread to 18in (45cm). For sale at Gardening Express.
  • 'Broadway Lights' produces soft lemon daisy flowers on strong upright stems. Forms a rounded clump. Height and spread to 18in (45cm). For sale at Gardening Express.
  • 'Beauté Nivelloise' (Old Court) is a eye-catching variety with unique, ragged white petals.
  • 'Cobham Gold' is a double form with a flushed yellow centre.
  • 'Crazy Daisy' has frilly, double white flowers, with yellow centres. For sale at Van Meuwen.
  • 'Everest' one of the best single varieties.
  • 'Fair Lady' produces large frilly flowers with a buttery yellow centre surrounded by a close ruff of short white petals and a fringe of longer ones. Height 2ft (60cm), spread 18in (45cm). For sale at Thompson & Morgan.
  • 'Fiona Coghill' is a fully double pom-pom form. Vigorous grower and long- flowered. Height and spread to 28in (70cm).
  • Freak! is evenly covered with fluffy-looking white flowers in summer over compact, dark-green foliage. This variety re-blooms, so provides flowers over a long period. For sale at Gardening Express.
  • 'Phyllls Smith' is an old-fashioned single-flowered variety with tousled petals. Height to 3ft (90cm), spread to 2ft (60cm).
  • 'Real Galaxy' is compact and long-flowered form with a fringe of white petals. Height to 2ft (60cm), spread to 18in (45cm).
  • 'Silver Princess' produces large pure white single flowers on a compact foliage mound. One of the shortest shastas available. For sale at Gardening Express.
  • 'Snowcap' is a free-flowering single dwarf form that produces a large flush of white flowers in summer. For sale at Crocus.
  • 'Snow Lady' produces pure white single flowers on compact bushy mounds of foliage. For sale at Gardening Express.
  • 'Starburst' has large white daisy blooms carried above low clumps of dark green, serrated foliage. For sale at Thompson & Morgan.
  • T.E. Killin A popular, bright, white daisy. Very long flowering. For sale at Crocus.
  • 'Wirral Supreme' tall double variety with long rich green leaves. One of the best double shasta daisies. Height to 3ft (90cm), spread to 2ft (60cm). For sale at Crocus

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.