Plant of the Month – October, 2007

At a glance
Latin Name: Leucanthemum maximum ‘Broadway Lights’
Common Name: Yellow shasta daisy
Flowers: Pale yellow fading to white
Foliage: Dark green evergreen rosettes
Mature height: 24 inches in flower
Hardiness: Zones 5-9
Soil: Well-drained
Exposure: Full sun to light shade
Water usage: Medium
Sources: A Proven Winners introduction; see to find a retail location near you.

Daisies! Say that word and almost everyone, gardener or not, knows immediately what you’re talking about. Personally, I think you can tell how popular this particular flower shape is by how many different plants use the name – how many different plants do you know that are commonly called daisies? Hundreds! It’s right up there with lily.

So what’s special about this shasta daisy? Mainly, it’s yellow instead of the usual pure white. ‘Broadway Lights’ flowers open up a nice, creamy yellow and with time fade to almost white. I like this softer color because it blends well into mixed perennial borders with blues, lavenders and pinks. Pure white daisies are nice, but they do tend stick out like spotlights in the border.

‘Broadway Lights’ also has a longer flowering season than most shasta daisies. Unlike some of the older cultivars, this variety also is well-branched and doesn’t need staking, as it gets only 2 feet tall when in flower.

The evergreen clumps of foliage begin sending up flower spikes in mid-April and continue until mid-June. Occasionally during fall, you’ll get a second showing of flowers. ‘Broadway Lights,’ like all shasta daisies, needs well-drained soil and will not tolerate over-watering.

A trick to keep your shasta daisies growing and vigorous is to separate them every couple of years. I’ve noticed that clumps will tend to die out after three years or so, but if you dig the plants in late fall or early spring and separate them, the plants keep their vigor and will reward you with many more flowers. Plus, you will look like the gardening god to your neighbors when you show up with an arm load of shasta plants asking if they want some!

About the author: Jimmy Turner is the Director of Horticulture Research at the Dallas Arboretum. For more plant profiles by Jimmy, subscribe to Neil Sperry’s GARDENS Magazine.

Posted by Neil Sperry
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