Stop and think for a second, when you hear the word "daisy," what picture do you make in your mind? A white flower? Does it have a bright, yellow center with multiple, long petals radiating out from it? If we could make a guess, the image of the iconic Shasta Daisy probably just popped into your mind. And no, we are not psychic. It is because this type of daisy is one of the most popular flowers on the planet!
And, it has a very interesting history.
Did you know that daisies are in the plant family Asteraceae (Compositae)? Also known as the Daisy Family, this family group has more than 20, 000 species of flowering plants throughout the world! Family members include sunflowers, zinnias, lettuce, and chrysanthemums to name a few.
Without getting into all the taxonomy within the family group (which could take days to explain), it is worth noting that some daisies are used medicinally while others are considered invasive. That's a large amount of variation within the species.
So, with all that variety, how could you possibly pick a favorite?
Purple Coneflower. Gerber daisies. English daisies. African daisies. The list goes on and on.
For us, our favorite has to be the tried and true Shasta daisy. Hands down. And we have three reasons to back up our answer.
Did you know that daisies are actually made up of two types of flowers, not just one? This is because each flower you see in this family is actually composed of one or more rows of "Ray" flowers on the perimeter/edge and the "Disk" flowers in the center. Pretty cool, Huh?
Why We're Featuring a Shasta Daisy Plant Profile for July
First, what's not to love about these gorgeous, white flowers? They are so cheerful and fun! While evoking a sense of happiness just from their presence alone, they also enhance the garden and provide a beautiful accent to borders. Plus, they make great cut flowers.
In addition to their beauty, these hardy perennials are really easy to maintain. With just a bit of deadheading for spent flowers, the Shasta daisy can be enjoyed throughout most of the summer months. For that reason, they are perfect for a beginner gardener. However, these versatile plants can also challenge a novice gardener if the need arises to divide them, perform pest control methods, or otherwise engage in more taxonomy of the family group. Also, Shasta daisies are ideal for busy "weekend warrior" gardeners, like we are, who are super busy during the regular work week but also want to enjoy a beautiful, healthy garden.
Finally, the Shasta daisy is a pollinators' paradise. All kinds of bees, butterflies, and other insects (ever heard of a pollen beetle?) will flock to the large, robust flowers to feast. Enough said.
Are you convinced yet that they should be your favorite too?
So, who exactly hybridized the Shasta Daisy and why? How should you maintain and care for these daisies in your garden? Read on to learn more about the history, common characteristics and more fun facts about this iconic plant.
By the way, our plant profile guide below is meant for beginner gardeners but can be used by anyone who wants to learn more about this plant. We hope it's helpful for you!
But first, let's catch up on some history.
Shasta Daisy Plant Profile: Brief History
Like we stated earlier, we won't be getting into the full taxonomic history within this ginormous family group known as Asteraceae. There is just way too much to cover.
First and foremost, daisies symbolize innocence and purity throughout history. Is anyone thinking about their childhood right about now? Maybe picking daisies in a field, making daisy bracelets, or picking the petals off? The pure, innocent childhood days.
The name “daisy” comes from the term “day’s eye.” It refers to the fact that the daisy flowers close up at night and then re-open in the morning.
The Shasta daisy was created in 1901 by an American botanist named Luther Burbank at his experimental farm in California. A famous plant cross-breeder, Burbank desired to create a snow-white daisy. He bred multiple daisies together to create this masterpiece, including the oxeye daisy and three other varieties. Finally, after 17 years he succeeded in creating the famous, iconic daisy we know today.
Fun fact! "Shasta daisy" was named for the "snow white" peaks of Mount Shasta in California.
Luther Burbank also bred and created some other plants you might be familiar with, the most famous being the Russet-Burbank Potato. Today this hybrid is more commonly known as the Russet Potato! One of the most popular potatoes in the world!
Luther Burbank was a distant cousin of W. Atlee Burpee of the Burpee Seed Company. Upon Burbank's death, rights to several of his creations were eventually acquired and sold to Burpee, including these daisies.
Of course, Burpee seed company is still thriving today and they have great flowers, seeds, and other products to choose from! In fact, if you want to place an order for your own Shasta daisies, try these varieties below. Just click on the pictures you like and buy them now. Who knows, you could be purchasing a daisy cultivar that was originally created by Luther Burbank!
Here are three cultivars currently offered by Burpee:
Lastly, you might already have seen this or know about this, but the Shasta Daisy has gone through some botanical name changes in the recent past. It was categorized in the Chrysanthemum genus but was then recategorized into the Leucanthemum genus. Today you might see either one refer to the Shasta Daisy in books or even online, where there can also be references of "Also see....." between the too. It can get a little confusing especially since not everyone agrees with the genus name change.
Ok, now that you’ve caught up on a brief history, let's move on to the common characteristics of the Shasta Daisy!
Hey, have you listened to our podcast yet? Check it out!
"Your Essential Guide to the Shasta Daisy" Plant Profile
(By the way, this post contains affiliate links. That means that if you click on any of the links we are promoting, we might get a small commission at no cost to you which helps us run our website and podcast).
Dazzling Shasta Daisy
|Common/Trade Name||Shasta Daisy|
|Botanical/Scientific Name||Chrysanthemum maximum, syn. Chrysanthemum superbum, Leucanthemum superbum|
|Cultivars||From Burpee: Snow Lady, Alaska, Banana Cream, Crazy Daisy, Silver Princess, Real Glory;|
From Park Seed Co: White Breeze, Luna, Becky, Belgium Lace, Whoops-A-Daisy, Real Neat.
|Zones||USDA 4a – 10b Sunset A1 – A3; 1 – 24; and H1.|
|General Information||In the Asteraceae family, related to the seasonal Chrysanthemums or Mums sold in the fall. Perennial plant propagated by either division or seed.|
|Native Environment||Native to China, Japan, and Europe.|
|Mature Height/Width||2 – 4 feet tall and 2 feet wide.|
|Bloom Time||Beginning to late-Summer.|
|Flower Colors||White with yellow center.|
|Sun Exposure||Full sun, with some partial shade in hotter climates .|
|Growth Habit||Mounding, upright.|
|Soil Needs||Well-drained, enriched soil.|
|Fertilize?||Sure. Every 2-weeks or so with a balanced fertilizer, but not required. If really fast draining soil and/or poor soil nutrition, then definitely use a balanced fertilizer.|
|Plant Spacing||0.5-1 foot between each Daisy and other plants. |
Transplant in the fall along with dividing larger clumps (every 2-3 years).
|Suggested Companion Plant/s||Goes well with low to medium height perennials (Campanula, Primrose, Hydrangea, Rhody's) and bulbs (Crocosmia, Tulips). Others are Hydrangea's, Vinca, Rhody's, Boxwoods, Viburnums, and other foundation plants.|
|Maintenance Level||Low to Moderate; cut away spent flowers as they mature to prolong flowering during summer and into fall. Then in the late fall, early winter need to have their stems cut back down to the leaf-level, but not all the way to the ground.|
|Pest Susceptibility||Aphids, Thrips, Root-Crown Gall.|
|Poisonous to Pets?||Yes, this plant is poisonous to dogs and cats. Can cause vomiting, diarrhea, hyper-salivation, uncoordination, dermatitis. (according the ASPCA)|
|Edible for Humans?||Can be toxic to children and cause skin rashes similar to Poison Oak and blistering. (according to the FDA Poisonous Plants Database)|
|Fun (or historical) Facts||A true Chrysanthemum, according to the Sunset Western Garden Book. |
Flower's come in Single, Double, Quilled, and Shaggy forms.
AMAZING for fresh cut flowers!
Shasta Daisy Plant Profile: Product Recommendations
Want to buy your own Shasta Daisy plants after learning all about their characteristics? Check out Burpee's great website for amazing variety!
Or, do you need to stock up on other types of plants? Here's a great summer deal from Burpee! Get $10 off when you purchase $50 or more!
Shasta Daisy Plant Profile: Conclusion
Even with its interesting history and complicated, diverse family group, the Shasta daisy remains simple and pure. Perfect for either the beginner or busy gardener, Shasta daisies are uncomplicated. While not asking for much, they are a low-maintenance, beautiful addition to any garden.
For more information on different species, check out go to the website and geek out on different species for your garden! You could find the perfect Daisy to compliment your garden.
Well, that's all for now. Thanks for reading and we hope we inspired you or educated you in some way with our review about the Shasta Daisy. For information about updating your yard for the summer season, check out our podcast page. Also, if you're interested in learning about more plants, check out some of our other monthly plant profiles below:
- The Captivating Crocosmia
- The Fantastic Fuchsia
- The Curious Calla Lily: April Plant Profile
- A Rose By Any Other Name: February Plant Profile
- The Divine Daffodil: March Plant Profile
Make sure to watch for our next post where we discuss the art of garden entertaining with our 5 best suggestions. Let us know if you have any questions or comments anytime, we would love to help.
See you in the garden!
~ Sean and Allison