The daisy, Bellis perennis, is a widespread European plant of the Asteraceae family that is frequently regarded as the quintessential species of that name. This species is also known as common daisy, lawn daisy, or English daisy to distinguish it from other “daisies.” Historically, it was also known as bruisewort and, in rare occasions, woundwort.
B. perennis is native to western, central, and northern Europe, as well as distant islands such as the Faroe Islands, but it has spread throughout most temperate areas, including the Americas and Australasia.
It’s a perennial herbaceous plant with short creeping rhizomes and rosettes of tiny rounded or spoon-shaped leaves that grow flat to the ground and are 3/4 to 2 inches (about 2″5 cm) long. The plant thrives in lawns and is difficult to eliminate with mowing – thus the name ‘lawn daisy.’ The flowers follow the position of the sun in the sky, a phenomenon known as heliotropism.
The flowerheads are composite pseudanthiums with numerous sessile blooms with white ray florets (sometimes tinged crimson) and yellow disc florets, about 3/4 to 1-1/4 in (around 2″3 cm) in diameter. Each flower is carried on a single leafless stem that is 3/4 to 4 inches tall (about 2″10 cm), occasionally 6 inches tall (approximately 15 cm). Two rows of green bracts called as “phyllaries” surround the capitulum, or disc of florets. The achenes are pappus-free.
Bellis perennis blooms from early to midsummer, although it has a lengthy flowering season when cultivated in perfect conditions and will even produce a few flowers in the middle of mild winters.
It may be grown in full sun to partial shade in USDA Zones 4″8 (i.e. when minimum temperatures are over 30 °F (34 °C)) and requires little to no maintenance. It is reported to have no severe insect or disease concerns and may be grown in most well-drained soils. After the last frost, the plant can be reproduced by seed or division after flowering.
Despite the fact that it is not native to the United States, the plant is nonetheless valued as a ground cover in some garden settings (e.g., as part of English or cottage inspired gardens, as well as spring meadows where low growth and some color is desired in parallel with minimal care and maintenance while helping to crowd out noxious weeds once established and naturalised).
There are several single- and double-flowered variants under cultivation, with flat or spherical blooms in a variety of sizes and colors (1 cm to 6 cm) (red, pink & white). They are commonly cultivated as biennial bedding plants from seed. In the spring, they are also available as plugs.
Although most plants are self-fertilizing, certain plants may be self-sterile.
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