Shasta daisies (Leucanthemum x superbum) are the classic daisies with white petals and a prominent yellow center. Reliable, low-maintenance Shastas bloom in early summer. If deadheaded regularly and cut back before seeding, they continue blooming through August. Shasta daisies grow in U.S. Department of Agriculture Plant Hardiness Zones 4 through 8 and thrive in full to half sun and well-drained soil. Once established, dived Shasta daisies every 2 to 3 years in fall or spring. This ensures hardy stock and a constant supply of new plants.
Established Shasta daisies thrive if regularly divided and transplanted around the garden. To divide, dig out clumps by the roots, lift them from the soil and discard the central portion to control pests. Separate the remainder into sections, leaving at least 2 to 3 inches of root ball attached to the bottoms of the stems.
Plant divided daisies or nursery stock in spring or fall, spacing the plants 1 to 2 feet apart. Prepare the soil by loosening it with a tiller or rake. Dig a hole twice the diameter of the pot or rootball on divided stock. Pour 1 to 2 inches of water into the bottom of the hole for the roots to immediately absorb. Place the plant in the hole. The top of the root ball should be level with the surface. Cover the hole with loosened soil and firmly press down the surface soil around the plant, which anchors it in the soil. Water it well and cover with 2 inches of mulch to hold in moisture and control weeds.
Apply fertilizer or compost each spring. Water Shasta daisies during the summer, during dry periods or if total rainfall is less than an inch per week. Some varieties daisies need staking. At the season’s end, cut back Shastas to about 2 inches above the soil line after the first frost.
There are many varieties of Shasta daisies. ”All About Perennials” recommends Becky, which grows 2 feet tall; and Phyllis Smith, which reaches 3 feet. Both varieties bloom from June through August with regular deadheading. Other varieties bloom only in June.