In nature, the English daisy, immortalized by poets, bears single flowers. However, breeding and selection have added semi-doubles and doubles to the array of varieties available to gardeners. Particularly in the Northeast, the English daisy has become naturalized. In order to enjoy the improved forms, the gardener must start with named-variety seeds.
Description of English daisy: Flowers of white, pink, or red rise on 6-inch stems from a rosette of basal leaves. Single and semi-double flowers are centered in yellow, but in fully double varieties this distinguishing feature is covered. Normally, flowers are 1 to 2 inches in diameter; in newer varieties they are larger. Most flowers appear in spring and early summer repeating again in the fall, but in cool and coastal climates they may bloom all year.
Growing English daisy: Grow in full sun or light shade in moist soil, well-enriched with organic matter. When used as an annual, set out as early as the ground can be worked or plant in the fall for earliest bloom when weather warms (except in Zones 3 to 5 where they are not hardy except in well-protected cold frames). Plant 6 to 9 inches apart. Frequently, they are replaced with warm season annuals in late June.
Propagating English daisy: By seed or by division. Seeds germinate in 10 to 15 days at 70 degrees Fahrenheit.
Uses for English daisy: English daisies will liven up small beds and are good for edgings and small containers during the cool spring period.
English daisy related species: B. rotundifolia has white flowers; B. r. caerulescens bears blue flowers.
English daisy related varieties: The largest-flowered variety is the fully double Goliath Mixed, with flowers up to 3 inches in diameter in shades of white, red, pink, and salmon. Others are Pompanette Mixed, with 1-inch flowers, and the petite Bright Carpet Mixed, with 1-inch flowers.
Scientific name of English daisy: Bellis perennis
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