Shasta daisies fill garden with late-summer blooms

October 16, 2013
Shasta daisies will rebloom in early fall if you deadhead the flowers as they fade.

If clothes make the man, then maybe shorts make the woman. Actress Catherine Bach gave a winning performance as Daisy Duke, the brunette bombshell of the TV series “Dukes Of Hazzard”. While the TV show has faded from the airwaves, Daisy Duke’s signature tight, very short denim shorts have become immortalized forever after as “Daisy Dukes.”

No need to skimp in the garden, because autumn is time to plant your own daisies. Named after the snows on Mount Shasta, the Shasta Daisy is an easy-to-grow perennial that thrives in full sun or partial shade. Our word daisy comes from “day’s eye” because these flowers always seem to greet the day. These attractive plants are ideal in borders or in a separate cutting garden. Shasta daisies bloom at the height of summer, in June and July, and will rebloom into late summer and early fall if you deadhead them by cutting off flowers as they fade.

To plant Shasta daisies, dig the soil down to 12 to 18 inches and add lots of organic matter such as compost, peat moss, or well-rotted manure. Never add fresh manure to any planting bed as it can burn the roots. They do well in almost any soil whether acidic or alkaline but prefer a rich, well-drained soil with a pH between 6.0 and 8.0.

Plant your Shasta daisies 18 inches apart. If you are planting in rows, keep the rows at least three feet apart.

Daisy Duke was carefree and a natural beauty, and so are Shasta daisies. During hot, dry weather, you can water them, but never let the soil get soggy or they can rot. Tamp the soil down and water well to remove any air pockets.

Besides the traditional white Shasta daisy, you can find bright yellows such as Shasta Daisy Banana Cream. This brilliant lemon-yellow daisy has blooms up to four inches across.

Banana Cream flowers are especially full because they have an extra row of ray petals. With plenty of side shoots full of buds, this yellow wonder will bloom all summer.

The double flowered Shasta Daisy Ice holds its pure white, fluffy flowers on long, strong stems that are ideal for cutting. Ice will rebloom even if you forget to cut off the dead flowers.

For a crazy look, try the Crazy Daisy Shasta daisy with fully double two-and-a-half-inch blossoms of frilly white surrounding a small, yellow center. No two of these flowers are the same, which just adds to their charm. At just 24 to 28 inches tall, Crazy Daisy is ideal for pots and large containers.

Plant Shasta daisies now and come next year you will be treated to a garden filled with bright flowers. Go ahead and garden in Daisy Dukes at your own hazard.

  • Paul Barbano writes about gardening from his home in Rehoboth Beach. Contact him by writing to P. O. Box 213, Lewes, DE 19958.