Daisies are an old-fashioned favorite that grace many gardens and yards. The modern daisy was developed in 1884 by horticulturalist Luther Burbank who crossed the oxeye daisy that grew wild in New England with several other types of daisies until he got one that had the right size and shape. Shasta daisies, the result, are the most common type of daisy, and there are several varieties. The flower can be from 1 to 3 inches in diameter with a yellow disc center and white petals all around. It can grow 1 to 4 feet high depending on the variety.
Find a location to plant daisies that is well-drained and in full sun. Daisies will tolerate partial sun. They prefer rich light soil, but will tolerate clay or rocky soil as well. They will grow anywhere.
Plant seed directly into the soil by sprinkling lightly in a 4-inch diameter area. Cover with about 1/8 inch of soil and lightly press down. Do this in April in cold climates, even before the last light frost. Using a spray bottle, spray the area until saturated but not too soggy. Keep watered every other day or so by lightly spraying if the soil becomes dry. Germination will occur in 10 to 20 days. The new plants usually will not bloom the first year.
Water frequently in hot, dry summers. Daisies need a great deal of water because their roots are shallow. When they wilt, water them. In rich soil, the plants will do much better with normal rainfall and will rarely need extra watering except during dry periods. It is best to water daisies with a drip irrigation hose that is coiled around the base of the plants. Overhead sprinkling will cause water to gather on the leaves and flowers and can cause a fungal disease in hot humid climates and will also cause the flower heads to droop. Mulch around the base of the plants to retain water longer.
Apply fertilizer after new plants grow to optimum height and fertilize every year after in the spring. Use a fertilizer with a high phosphorous content. This will ensure an abundance of blooms during the summer.
Remove flowers that die back by using garden shears to snip them off. Discard the spent flowers. This will keep daisy plants looking fresh and pretty and will also encourage more blooms, so it will keep blooming all summer long.
Stake the plants up if the flowers continually droop and fall when it rains. Take three stakes and place them at equal distances around the perimeter of the plant. Tie string on one stake and bring it around, looping it around the next two and tying it again to the first one. Cut the string. The string should go around the perimeter of the plant and hold it up.
Cut the stems all the way to the ground once the plant has gone dormant after a frost. The whole plant will turn yellow and brown, and it is time to cut it back. Cover the whole plant with evergreen boughs to protect the shallow roots during the winter.