Daisies are up with the best of the bunch
Some flowers bring cheer to even the dullest of days, and daisies are up there with the best of them. It's almost impossible to resist these happy bushes, absolutely smothered in masses of blooms for such a long period from early winter into spring.
They flower again in autumn, and sporadically throughout the year. All this with no pests or diseases to speak of, and no real maintenance requirements apart from an encouraging word and a bit of a feed now and then.
Their botanical name (argyanthemum frutescens) is a bit of a mouthful, but that's the only thing that's even remotely difficult about these generous plants.
A classic daisy bush will produce hundreds of flowers in a season, usually white or pink or yellow with a yellow centre. They will grow to form an almost perfect mound about a metre high and round, though in the flowering season most of the lovely green lacy foliage will be hidden by the blooms.
The much-loved old-fashioned varieties have been joined in recent years by many hybrid forms.
The very popular Federation Daisies have been developed in Australia to suit Australian conditions, and have been so successful they have been exported throughout the world. Federation Daisies have been bred to produce even more flowers on hardy, easy-care bushes. Their compact growth habit makes them particularly well-suited for containers in sunny positions, and for smaller gardens and rockeries.
Federation Daisies grow to about 60cm tall, and anywhere from 50-100cm wide, depending on the variety. Like all daisies, they are happiest in a position with plenty of sun.
Although they are not particularly needy, they will give a better show if they are well looked after, receiving moderate watering and regular feeding with a well-balanced plant food. An occasional liquid feed is a good idea too. Prune them to shape and tidy after flowering.
Daisies also make lovely cut flowers, and they are so prolific that you can pick a vase full and not even notice that you've taken some. These plants may not be very fancy or exotic, but they will bring joy for several years.
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