“She loves me; she loves me not.” Plucking the slim petals off a fat daisy head while reciting that ancient children’s rhyme is one of youth’s universal memories. Everybody’s favorite summer flower, daisies add bright patches of cheerful color to summer gardens. With their big heads of brightly-hued, finger-thin petals and their large, velvety centers, daisies are the sweethearts of summer. This versatile summer favorite can take center stage in a well-designed garden bed or provide a wash of soft color behind showcase plants. Cheerful daisies provide beautiful, long-lived garden displays that last throughout the summer.Commonly referred to as “Daisies,” these long-stemmed floral beauties encompass a wide variety of colorful floral species. Perhaps the most popular daisy variety is the large, white-headed Leucanthemum (Leucanthemum), popularly known as the Shasta Daisy. Shasta Daisies have large, white-petalled heads with cheerful yellow centers, the quintessential daisy. Among the more colorful daisy varieties are Gazania (Gazania), also known as the African Daisy or Treasure Flower, and the Gerbera Daisy (Gerbera). Soft-petalled Gazanias, which are available in yellow, white, orange and red, add bold, bright color to summer gardens. Gerbera Daisies exhibit slightly more subdued colors, often in delightful multi-shaded hues. Their frilly, double-rowed petals provide a lovely contrast to other daisy varieties and make eye-catching displays.
An undemanding resident of the summer garden, daisies require only minimal care. These are sun-loving plants, but many varieties will tolerate some partial shade. All varieties of daisies grow best in fertile, humus-rich soil. Regular watering is recommended to keep the soil evenly moist, particularly in hot weather. Encourage showy displays by removing spent blooms and applying a balanced liquid fertilizer monthly. Daisies make wonderful cut flowers and add a spot of cheerful sunshine to any room.