Leucanthemum: flowers, care & propagation


I love to grow, particularly herbs and medicinal plants but also fruits, vegetables and plants for the home. I work as a horticulturist, specifically with plants for indoor spaces, and I study in my spare time. I live in the city but seek out green spaces and those which bring nature and growing into the community.

Favourite fruits: fresh peaches and blueberries
Favourite vegetables: leek, spinach, kale, mushrooms

Daisies’ cheerful, white-yellow blossoms are sure to enhance any garden through spring and summer. Find out all about Leucanthemum and learn how to care for and propagate these underrated flowers.

Leucanthemum daisy growing outdoors
Leucanthemum will flourish in full sun [Photo: okazaki hayato /Shutterstock.com]

Although Leucanthemum species are generally quite low maintenance, there are a few things you can do to get the most out of this quintessential summer flower.

Leucanthemum: origin and characteristics

Leucanthemum is a genus of flowering plant that comprises several species of daisy. These plants are perennials that belong to the aster or daisy family known as Asteraceae. In Greek, the name Leucanthemum means ‘white flower’, which gives you an accurate idea of what you might expect from these species. As with all members of the aster family, the flower head of a daisy – known as a capitulum – is in fact many flowers clustered together to resemble a single flower. Long, white ray florets encircle the central yellow, tubular florets. The flower stems, which can reach anywhere from 30 to 100cm high, grow up from basal rosettes. Leucanthemum leaves can vary slightly between species, but they are mostly undivided and have pinnately lobed margins. The upper leaves are sessile, meaning they grow directly on the stem, whilst the lower leaves often grow on small stem-like structures known as petioles. Daisies bloom at different times depending on the species, but generally the first blossoms appear in early spring. They will then bloom one last time just before it gets cold in September or October.

Leucanthemum flower attracts butterfly
Oxeye daisies and Shasta daisies are not only bee-friendly, but attract beetles and butterflies too [Photo: Dirk Daniel Mann/ Shutterstock.com]

There are numerous daisy species within the Leucanthemum genus, which differ slightly in hardiness and characteristics. One species is the oxeye daisy (Leucanthemum vulgare), which grows in small clusters in wildflower meadows, often alongside common poppies (Papaver rhoeas), cornflowers (Centaurea cyanus) and clovers (Trifolium).

Leucanthemum flowers in meadow
Oxeye daisies contribute to the biodiversity of wildflower meadows [Photo: Juergen Bauer Pictures/ Shutterstock.com]

However, the term daisy is also used to refer to many species outside of the Leucanthemum genus, but within the aster family. Marguerite daisies (Argyranthemum frutescens) and African daisies (Osteospermum spp.), for instance, do not belong to the Leucanthemum genus. Confusingly, oxeye daisies are sometimes called marguerite daisies. Whilst the two do have some similarities, marguerite daisies are in fact evergreen shrubs, whilst oxeye daisies are herbaceous perennials. Marguerite leaves are also coarsely dissected, which distinguishes them from Leucanthemum leaves.

You can read more about the different daisy species and varieties in our dedicated article.

Marguerite daisy plant growing in pots
Marguerite daisies are often mistaken for Leucanthemum species [Photo: PV Productions/ Shutterstock.com]

Are Leucanthemum perennials?

Leucanthemum daisies are short-lived perennials, meaning each year they flower a little less than the year before. After about four or five years, they hardly flower at all. It is important to note that some daisy species are perennial, but not winter hardy. To learn how to overwinter your daisies and find out which species are hardy, read our daisy winter care guide.

Leucanthemum flower outdoors
Leucanthemum flower less each year [Photo: AMV_80/ Shutterstock.com]

Daisy care guide

Established Leucanthemums are not particularly demanding. Follow these tips to keep your daisies looking their best throughout the growing season.

Pruning Leucanthemum

Pruning daisies during the spring and summer will promote vitality and prolong the flowering period. Once the flower has wilted, cut the stem using a sharp knife or garden shears.

If you want to prevent oxeye daisies (Leucanthemum vulgare) from self-seeding, regularly deadhead the wilted flowers throughout the growing season. This will prevent their seeds from spreading and new seedlings sprouting across your garden. It also gets the plant to direct its energy into producing more flowers rather than seeds.

Cut back your daisies at the end of the summer, or in early autumn, to prepare for winter. Prune to about 15 to 30cm above the root neck, leaving the foliage on. Read our dedicated guide for more in-depth information on overwintering daisies.

Leucanthemum flowers growing outdoors
Pruning Leucanthemum during the growing season will encourage further blooming [Photo: Joe Kuis/ Shutterstock.com]

Watering Leucanthemum

Whether grown in a pot or in the flower bed, daisies require regular watering throughout the summer. Keep the soil consistently moist, but not wet. Oxeye daisies (Leucanthemum vulgare) and max chrysanthemums (Leucanthemum maximum) will tolerate drying out more than other Leucanthemums such as the Shasta daisy (Leucanthemum x superbum). Daisies will show signs of underwatering by drooping their leaves and flowers.

In the winter, Leucanthemum require little to no watering. Daisy plants left to overwinter outdoors will get enough water from the rain. Leucanthemum overwintering in pots indoors can be left to almost completely dry out.

Leucanthemum flower rainwater
Watering is an important part of Leucanthemum care [Photo: Petr Bonek/ Shutterstock.com]

Fertilising Leucanthemum

Leucanthemum can be fertilised throughout the growing season between May and October. How much fertiliser and which type to use depends on the species. Oxeye daisies require few nutrients in order to flourish, so simply working a slow-release fertiliser into the soil before planting or during spring is enough. For more vigorous varieties, such as max chrysanthemums, fertilising around every two to three weeks is suitable. Whether your daisies are in a pot or in the bed will also influence which fertiliser to use.

Leucanthemum yellow and white flowers
Providing additional nutrients will support vitality and growth [Photo: Andri wahyudi/ Shutterstock.com]

For Leucanthemum growing in pots, a liquid fertiliser is best. Our Plantura Liquid Flower Food is a great choice and provides plants with nitrogen and potassium. It is also easy to apply – simply add to the water you use for watering.

Liquid Flower Food, 800ml
Liquid Flower Food, 800ml
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  • Perfect for all flowers & balcony plants
  • Liquid fertiliser for a lush blossom throughout the season
  • Quick & easy application - child & pet friendly

For Leucanthemum growing in the garden, it is best to use a granular fertiliser once a year in the spring or when planting. Our Plantura Flower Food is perfect for this. Simply sprinkle over the soil and lightly work it in. Subsequent watering will gradually release the nutrients over time.

Flower Food, 1.5kg
Flower Food, 1.5kg
  • Perfect for flowering plants in the garden & on the balcony
  • For healthier plants with beautiful & long-lasting blossoms
  • Long-lasting fertiliser that is free from animal products - child & pet friendly

Leucanthemum in pots

Regular watering and fertilising throughout the growing season are important to keep your potted Leucanthemum healthy. Yellow foliage and stunted growth are signs your plants are deficient in certain nutrients, usually nitrogen. This is common in potted plants that are given additional nutrients. Repot daisies which have outgrown their containers in the spring. This is also a good time to divide them, especially if they have begun to lose their vigour.

Leucanthemum pests and diseases

Although established Leucanthemum are relatively problem-free, they may fall victim to some pests and diseases which are important to be aware of:

  • Aphids (Aphidoidea) often appear in spring and are usually found on the petiole and underside of the leaf. Ladybirds and lacewing larvae are a great biological control method for controlling aphids in greenhouses. Outdoors, you can use neem oil to control pests like aphids.
  • Spider mites (Tetranychidae) may appear in sheltered environments, such as greenhouses, and mainly in dry conditions. Combat light infestations by simply washing the leaves several times with water. For more severe infestations, other home remedies and biological controls are effective in controlling spider mites.
  • The pea leaf miner (Liriomyza huidobrensis) can be biologically controlled with ichneumon wasps (Ichneumonidae).
  • Powdery mildew and downy mildew often occur when there is too much moisture, especially when there is morning dew. Control powdery mildew by spraying a baking powder and water solution. Add one part baking powder to 99 parts water.
Ladybird in Leucanthemum yellow centre
Ladybirds feed on aphids which can infest daisies [Photo: Kovalchuk Oleksandr/ Shutterstock.com]

Propagating Leucanthemum

Leucanthemums can be propagated by seed, cuttings or division. Daisies reproduce prolifically when left to do so. Keep reading to get tips on how to control how and where your daisies spread.

Propagating Leucanthemum by seed

Leucanthemum seeds are easy to collect and store for use the following season. To do this, allow the daisy blooms to wilt until they have formed a dried seed head with the petals fallen off. At this point, cut the seed heads off and store in a warm, dry place for around one week. Once they are completely dry and brittle, squeeze the seed head over a small bag or envelope to release the seeds inside. You may need to separate out some of the dead plant material – and as Leucanthemum seeds are extremely small, this can be fiddly work! Store the seeds until the following spring, when it is time to sow. Wait to sow your daisy seeds until temperatures are above 20 °C to ensure successful germination. See our article on how to grow Leucanthemum from seed for a step-by-step guide.

Leucanthemum daisy flower wilting
Leucanthemum seeds can be collected from wilted and dried flower heads [Photo: Joanna Dorota/ Shutterstock.com]

Propagating Leucanthemum by cuttings

In the early spring, daisies can be propagated by taking cuttings from non-blooming stems. Water your daisy plant the day before you plan on taking cuttings to ensure the shoots are hydrated. Choose a new, young shoot growing from the base of the plant. Cut the shoot to a length of around 10cm using a clean, sharp knife. Then remove all foliage from the stem except the top buds and place the cutting in moist soil. Choosing a low-nutrient substrate, such as our Plantura Organic Herb & Seedling Compost, will encourage healthy root growth. Keep the soil consistently moist to support rooting and cover the cutting with a clear plastic bag to increase humidity. Your cuttings should root within two to three weeks. Once the roots have grown, you can transplant your new plants to pots or plant them out directly into the garden.

Organic Herb & Seedling Compost, 20L
Organic Herb & Seedling Compost, 20L
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  • Perfect for herbs as well as sowing, propagating & transplanting
  • For aromatic herbs & healthy seedlings with strong roots
  • Peat-free & organic soil: CO2-saving composition

Propagating Leucanthemum by division

Leucanthemum species propagate best by division. In fact, these clump-forming perennials should be divided every two to four years in the spring in order to rejuvenate the plant. Daisies flower less in each growing season than the year before, and dividing will counteract this. To do so, simply dig up your daisy plant and divide the root ball either using your hands or a clean, sharp spade. For older, more established daisies, we recommend discarding the centre of the root ball as it can be worn-out. Replant the divided sections either in a new location in your garden or into a pot. See our tips on planting daisies to find out the best location for your Leucanthemum.

Leucanthemum leaves
Propagating Leucanthemum will produce new, young plants [Photo: Avril Burton/ Shutterstock.com]

Chrysanthemums (Chrysanthemum) are close relatives of Leucanthemum. They have a long flowering period and will ensure your garden is colourful late into the autumn.

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