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Leucanthemum vulgare – Oxeye daisy

Oxeye daisy’s golden disc surrounded by white rays is a flower form familiar to us all.

It is a safe bet the oxeye daisy or similar flowers such as Ryan Gainey’s daisy have been the models for millions of childhood drawings.

oxeye daisy
Oxeye Daisy
Inspired by daisies.
Inspired by daisies (and perhaps clematis), a drawing by Flynne.

Oxeye daisy begins flowering in late spring to early summer.

Many daisies, and oxeye daisies are no exception, can get floppy after a hard rain. Thus, their informal habit makes them poor candidates for staking…such a look would be incongruous in the garden. Planting it in as much sun as you can find will help. It will bloom fine in partial shade, but what will disappoint is its habit of flopping in shadier parts of the garden.

It is a perennial hardy all the way to USDA zone 3, and it is not frost tender.

This perennial is not as sensitive to poorly drained soil as shasta daisies, but I wouldn’t push it. The daisies may not return to the garden in spring if subjected to wet winter feet, a combination deadly to many herbaceous perennials.

Oxeye daisy is considered invasive in some parts of North America and can displace native plants. I have not seen this reputedly aggressive nature in the American south, but I recommend you conduct research in your area before planting oxeye daisy in your garden. Oxeye daisy is specifically prohibited in a number of midwestern and western states. The following article provides information specific to oxeye daisy invasiveness.

oxeye daisy
Oxeye daisy is a fine meadow or naturalized garden perennial…check for invasiveness in your area.

Growing oxeye daisy

Provide as much sun as possible. Other than this piece of advice, just stick it in the ground. It is a tough plant that has wide environmental tolerances. Many invasive plants share this quality of being able to thrive seemingly anywhere.

It is not a tidy plant. It is visually stunning in naturalized or meadow gardens. I love wildflowers mixed into formal gardens, the contrast of more formal forms such as boxwoods with the wayward shapes of our wilder perennials is a beautiful design aesthetic. Be careful because the juxtaposition must be definite and strong or else you risk a garden that looks sloppy, unkempt, and weedy.

Oxeye daisy has the scientific name(s) Chrysanthemum leucanthemum and Leucanthemum vulgare. Leucanthemum is the genus in one name and the species designation in the other. Leucanthemum is from ancient Greek and means ‘white flower’.

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