Leucanthemum x superbum
(Asteraceae [also known as Compositae] - Daisy Family)
- small- to medium-sized herbaceous perennial
- ranging from 8" to 4' tall by 1' to 2' wide, depending upon cultivar
- upright clump growth habit
- full sun to partial shade
- needs a moist, rich, well-drained soil in full sun for best performance; if sited in dry soils, then partial sun to partial shade is necessary; if sited in wet or poorly drained soils, crown rot and plant death will almost always occur
- propagated by clump division or by seeds (clumps perform best if they are divided every third year, to maintain overall plant compactness and vigor)
- Daisy Family, with few disease or pest problems
- abundantly available in container form
- shiny dark green, alternate, oblanceolate to lanceolate, and coarsely dentate
- leaves to 1' long if arising from the crown, but becoming much shorter as they progress upward along the flowering stems
- for some cultivars, miniature leaves that emerge from the crown in autumn are partially evergreen during mild winters (especially if covered with blown leaves)
- white petals (ray flowers) surround a yellow center (disc flowers), from 2" to 5" across, depending upon cultivar
- flowering prominently in July for about a four week period, and often sporadically thereafter, especially if regulary deadheaded (or liveheaded, as this is one of the best cutflowers available)
- ornamentally unattractive; regulary deadhead to remove spent blossoms and to promote rebloom
- flowering stems are 2' to 4' tall on the larger cultivars, and can be pinched back when they are about half of their mature height (that is, at 1' to 2') to promote compactness with a slightly later bloom time and to avoid future lodging (flopping over); cultivars that have stems that mature at 2' or less in height generally do not need this treatment
- borders, foundations, entranceways, beds, and mass plantings
- medium texture for shorter cultivars, but medium-bold texture for taller cultivars
- average density for shorter cultivars, but open density for taller cultivars
- spectacular white floral display in early summer
- one of the best herbaceous plants for cut flowers
- may bloom reasonably well the first year if sown very early from seed (unusual
for a perennial)
- looks best if periodically deadheaded to remove unsightly spent flowers and to promote further flowering (high maintenance)
- zones 5 to 9
- the original Shasta Daisies were of hybrid origin from Luther Burbank working with several species of Daisy near Mount Shasta, California; many modern cultivars also exist
- herbaceous plants that are good cut flowers, especially those that are white-flowering
- focal point perennials
- perennials for massing in wildflower areas
- many exist, selected for compactness or long-stemmed height, floral size, single or double flowering, and longevity or repetitiveness of bloom period; a sampling of cultivars includes:
- Leucanthemum x superbum 'Aglaya' - frilled double flowers to 3" across, 2' tall
- Leucanthemum x superbum 'Alaska' - single flowers to 3" across, 2.5' tall, hardy to zone 4
- Leucanthemum x superbum 'Little Miss Muffet' - semi-double flowers to 2" across, 1' tall
- Leucanthemum x superbum 'Marconi' - semi-double flowers to 5" across, 3' tall
- Leucanthemum x superbum 'Thomas Killen' - single flowers with a double row of white petals surrounding a raised yellow center, to 3" across, 2.5' tall with thick stems
- Leucanthemum translates as "white flower".
- x superbum translates as "superior" and denotes the hybrid vigor.
- Previously, this perennial was first classified as Chrysanthemum maximum, and most recently as Chrysanthemum x superbum.
- Shasta Daisy, good as a focal point in the garden or as a naturalized perennial, is perhaps the best cutflower for white flowers in Summer; proponents of White Coneflower (Echinacea purpurea 'Alba' or 'White Swan') might argue against this, but it has fewer stems and several flowers per stem that bloom sequentially, so taking cuttings from White Coneflower has a more negative impact on the remaining plant than does Shasta Daisy, which has many stems with typically one flower each.
- Leucanthemum x superbum is known for its prominent Summer white floral display above lush dark green foliage, with an overall upright to rounded habit, often used as a focal point or in naturalized mass plantings.
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