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Leucanthemum x superbum - Growing Guide

Growing Leucanthemum x superbum

Shasta daisy

Many gardeners get confused and, partly correctly, refer to their Shasta daisies as ‘Chrysanthemums’. Leucanthemum x superbum is, in fact, a vigorous hybrid between two species: L. lacustre and L. maximum. It is also known as Chrysanthemum maximum but the correct botanical name is now recognised as being Leucanthemum x superbum.

These plants are amongst the most popular, long flowering and hardy of our border perennials and deservedly so. L. x superbum itself, as opposed to its named hybrids, readily naturalises itself into hedgerows and wild or woodland gardens where its daisy like flowers stand proud. You often see it naturalising along railway lines backing onto gardens, or motorway verges, or around allotments. Shasta daisies are also very tolerant of salt spray and hot dry conditions so you can frequently also see it flourishing in seaside gardens.

L. x superbum, and all its named hybrids, are robust and clump forming with lance shaped, toothed, glossy or fleshy green leaves. The flower heads start to appear in early summer and continue to be produced (especially if you remove the old dead ones) right into autumn. The flower stalks are around 2ft all and the white flower heads (single or double depending on the variety) have yellow or yellowish centres. In most varieties the flower heads are some 4in across when fully open.

All Shasta daisies make excellent cut flowers for the house on their own or as part of a mixed arrangement. In more windy or coastal positions the plants may need metal supports to keep them upright and stop them flopping open. These are best put in place in the border in early June.

These plants are so easy to propagate by division when still dormant in early spring that it is hardly worth the effort of growing seeds in the cold frame. You may well want to manage you expanding daisy clumps anyway by digging them up periodically and starting again with the more vigorous side shoots. In time your clump may become hollow in the centre. Good clearing, tidying and trimming back of the dead stalks in autumn will improve the longevity and performance of your clumps.

We offer four or five named hybrids of L. x superbum. ‘Wirral Supreme’ remains the most popular but the compact growing ‘Freak’ with its fluffy multi layered flower heads is catching up quickly. You can see pictures below of the different hybrids which we offer.

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