Argyranthemum frutescens

Argyranthemum frutescens cultivar

The marguerite daisy (previously known as Chrysanthemum frutescens) hails from the Canary Islands and Madeira, and to me is the archetypal daisy flower. It offers a wealth of blooms of various colours - pinks, white, cream, yellow and burgundy - from late winter all through spring. In cooler climates than ours, they also flower in summer; in general, our Sydney summer temperatures are too warm for bud initiation.

Argyranthemum frutescens cultivars growing at the Botanic Garden Wollongong, NSW

The foliage is attractively dissected or ferny looking. These daisies like dryish, sunny conditions with good drainage, and can cope with quite exposed spots. They will survive mild frosts. There are many named hybrids and cultivars available these days, some of them very compact, though the old-fashioned single and double white and pink ones which grow about 1m tall are probably the most resilient. They are a quintessential cottage plant and make a wonderful contribution in the garden for months on end with other flowers in bloom at this time: perennials, including lavender, Pelargonium, Limonium; bulbs such as Freesia; and shrubs such as may bush (Spiraea cantoniensis). They are sometimes shaped into a standard form, or used to create an informal low hedge. They can be grown in containers.

The plants are bothered by no insect pests or diseases. They can be grown in seaside gardens. Regular dead-heading of spent blooms prolongs their flowering period, and they should be pruned fairly hard after flowering ceases. Perhaps because of the sheer abundance of the flowers they produce, I find they seem to exhaust themselves after a couple of years and become woody. This is when they should probably be replaced by cuttings, which are very easily propagated and will quickly grow into a shrubby form.

Flowers in June, July, August, September, October, November.

 Out now in my Sydney Garden.