Celebrate April With A Daisy

Which daisy should you use to celebrate April?    Any daisy you wish!    The common English daisy, which may have been the original idea for the birth month flower, is a member of the Sunflower Family.    The English daisy prefers a higher humidity than we generally have – so you would have to keep it as a pampered pet.

Time to think outside the box and look at some dry-air tolerant plants with “daisy” in their common name.   Luckily – number of “daisies” flourish here.    Indeed, some are native and perfect for the low-water landscape. Remember – gardening in the Southwest is not hard – it just takes a little bit new knowledge. I am here to help you find the solutions you need!

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Blackfoot daisy. Photo courtesy W. Anderson

 Some Pretty Perennials

In general, “daisy” plants are perennial plants, meaning they will live for a number of years.    Perennials by definition also do not become tall and shrubby.    Not being shrubby means little to no pruning is necessary. (yipee)

So – in addition to being low-water, these are low-care plants.    If you want shrubs in your yard, there are a number of daisy family shrubs, like the brittlebush (on this site) and brittlebush (on my YouTube channel).  You could consider planting this in your landscape, but the daisy shrubs are a topic for another time.  Here are some pretty daisy perennials to consider.

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Angelita. Photo courtesy S. Matson.

Angelita

The Angelita daisy (Tetraneuris acaulis), has golden yellow blooms and bright green leaves is low growing, and looks great beside a walk way.    My plants bloom throughout the warm months, especially if I water them in the dryer months.

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Blackfoot daisy. Photo courtesy R Spellenberg.

Blackfoot Daisy

Named for the tribe, the Blackfoot daisy (Melampodium leucanthum) originally comes from the prairies and can be found in the rocky alkaline soils of Big Bend.    Blackfoot daisy will not do well in an excessively hot location, like near a pool, but otherwise this plant is a real charmer in the landscape.  Also – it comes in white – which can provide an alternative color to most of the rest of these – which are yellow or golden.

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Daimianita. Photo courtesy W. Anderson.

Damianita

Damianita (Chrysactinia mexicana) has a number of common names, including , hierba de San Nicolas, false damiana, mariola, romerillo (little rosemary), garanona, San Nicolas, calanca, and yeyepaxtle.    From April to September damianita is covered with bright, golden-yellow flowers. The dark green, needle-like leaves are highly aromatic.    I love the fragrance, my spouse hates the stink.    Damianita thrives in full sun and poor soils – as long as it gets good drainage.    In fact – this is one for plain desert soil – un-amended with organic matter. It can take cold to about 10F.

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The Copper Canyon marigold can tolerate more sun than its sister.

Copper Canyon Daisy

Not really a daisy – this marigold is from Chihuahua, Mexico.  It got handed the more marketable name of “Copper Canyon daisy” (Tagetes palmeri) some time ago.    Its’ sister species, the  Lemmon marigold (Tagetes lemmoni) is named for the noted botanist Sara Lemmon.  (She also has a mountain named after her.)

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The Lemmon marigold prefers a more shady site. Photo taken on Kitt Peak, courtesy J. Doyden.

Both of these marigolds come from mountain regions of the Southwest. The Copper Canyon marigold has smaller leaflets and can take more sun. It also tolerates alkaline, even limestone soils. The Lemmon marigold has larger leaves and needs more shade, and really prefers a sandy well-draining soil. Both begin to bloom with golden yellow flowers in autumn – about the time most plants are going into hibernation, thus they are a nice plant for your snowbird garden.

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The San Pedro seems more like a sunflower than the rest in this post. Photo courtesy W. Anderson.

San Pedro Daisy

Another one for folks in the cooler areas of the Southwest (above 3000 feet) is the San Pedro Daisy (Heliopsis parvifolia) Its one of the tallest on this list – growing sometimes to 4 feet.    Generally found along roadsides or in open woods and on the edges of fields. This daisy likes full sun of upper elevation, but if you grow it in desert locations be sure to give it afternoon shade.    Tolerates our alkaline soils, but doesn’t mind richer garden soils either.

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The “golden crownbeard” thrives on neglect, like this one growing in a vacant lot in Los Angeles. Yes with tumbleweeds. Photo courtesy of R. Hamilton.

Cowpen Daisy

Lastly for today, I am fond of the plant with the unfortunate name of cowpen daisy (Verbesina encelioides).    These bloom in the spring and summer. They have seeded in around the Soule Garden and neither rabbits nor javelina will eat them.    (Other wildlife resistant plants – here). As I was compiling this list I found another common name – golden crownbeard.    That sounds a prettier!

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Close-up of the golden crownbeard. They also make great cut flowers. Photo courtesy Z. Akulova

But Wait – There’s More

Yes, there are more! So many other pretty perennial members of this preposterously prodigious plant family with daisy-like flowers. For lovely landscape plants – consider ones like the native zinnia, chocolate flower, goldenbush, and so very many more.  Stay tuned!

My Father Kino book mentions some of these plants

soule-kino-southwestThe last few copies of this out-of-print award winning Southwestern book are now for sale. Father Kino’s Herbs: Growing and Using Them Today   The review says:

“Award-winning garden writer Dr. Jacqueline A. Soule has pulled together a fascinating book on the life of Father Eusebio Francisco Kino and some of the plants that he brought to Southern Arizona and northwestern Sonora, and area called the Pimeria Alta.”

A steal at only $20!  This link is to our sales site. The profits from the sale go to the local Horticulture Therapy non-profit Tierra del Sol Institute.  We hope you will help support this great Southwest non-profit!

Post cover image.  Damianita, photo courtesy W. Anderson.

Legal Notes

© Article copyright Jacqueline A. Soule // Gardening With Soule. All rights reserved. You must ask permission to republish an entire blog post or article. Okay to use a short excerpt but you must give proper credit. You must include a link back to the original post on our site. No stealing photos.

Disclaimer

The authors of this website have researched the edibility of the materials we discuss, however, humans vary in their ability to tolerate different foods, drinks, and herbs. Individuals consuming flowers, plants, animals or derivatives mentioned in this blog do so entirely at their own risk. The authors on this site cannot be held responsible for any adverse reaction. In case of doubt please consult your medical practitioner.

 

 

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