How to Plant, Grow and Care For Montauk Daisies
Are you considering adding Montauk daisies to your garden this season? It is easy to love the look of the crisp white and yellow daisies and the whimsy they add to your garden. In this article, gardening expert Jill Drago will share all you need to know to grow and maintain these stunning perennials.
Montauk daisies are herbaceous flowering perennials that produce lush green leaves and perfect white flowers with yellow centers. These perennials have earned their fame by traveling to the U.S. from Japan and naturalizing themselves on Long Island, especially in the town of Montauk.
The Montauk daisy, or botanically Nipponanthemum nipponicum, also goes by the nickname of Nippon daisy. These excellent late-blooming perennials help round out a full season of blooms in your garden.
Though they are tough, they still require some care and maintenance. Here is everything you need to know about planting, growing, and caring for Montauk daisies in your garden.
Montauk Daisy Plant Overview
Plant Type Herbaceous Perennial
Species Nipponanthemum nipponicum
Sun Requirements Full Sun
Soil Type Well-draining, Acidic
Water Requirements Low
Hardiness Zone USDA 5-9
Native Area Japan
Height 18-36 inches
The Montauk daisy is native to Japan, thriving in its coastal regions. The perennial made its way to North America in the mid-19th century, particularly to Long Island, New York, where the indigenous Montaukett nation embraced it.
As with most other daisies, this perennial used to belong to the genus Chrysanthemum. However, botanists have since changed the name of this plant to reflect its native land. Nipponanthemum nipponicum gives a particular homage to Japan, meaning “the Japanese plant that came from Japan.”
As Americans began to fall in love with the summers on Long Island, so did the Montauk daisy. Friends shared this perennial until it eventually decided it was happy on Long Island and naturalized itself there. From there, this plant gained popularity for its toughness and its beauty.
While this perennial grows wild on the coasts of Japan, it has since been cultivated as an ornamental perennial. Montauk daisies have gained popularity because they are tolerant of many different conditions. Many gardeners will use this daisy instead of mums in the fall to round out their gardens with fresh fall colors.
These perennials will grow to 3 feet tall and wide. In the spring, Montauk daisies will begin producing lush dark green foliage on upright and sturdy stems.
When the fall approaches, you should begin to see flower buds appearing. These will open to the classic white and yellow daisy we are all here for.
Propagating Montauk daisies is simple to do at home once you know how. You will have bonus Montauk daises before you know it!
Propagate by Cutting
When your plants have begun to pump out healthy growth in the spring or early summer, you can go right ahead and propagate your daisies by cuttings. This is an easy process, do not be intimidated!
Cut a stem that is about 6 inches long using sharp garden snips. Make sure this stem has not yet produced a flower and has a few sets of leaves growing from it.
Remove the bottom set of leaves, and dip the cutting into a glass of water, then into a rooting hormone powder. The rooting hormone is optional, but it does produce excellent results. Stick your cutting into a sterile planting medium and keep the soil moist.
Place your cutting in bright but indirect light. If you wish, you can place a plastic bag over the cutting to create a greenhouse effect. Do your best to make sure that bag does not come into contact with the plant. Using a plant stake can help with this.
Roots should begin to form in about a month. At this point, you can harden your plant off by letting it spend some time outside in the natural elements to get used to its new home. When your cutting is ready, plant it as you would plant a mature, full-grown Montauk daisy.
Propagate by Division
The best time to divide Montauk daisies is in the spring or late fall. Carefully dig up your daisy; try to get as much rootball as possible. Next, divide the plant using a sharp garden spade or a garden knife such as a hori hori. The size of your divisions is up to you, but you will want to ensure you have a good amount of roots and stems on each clump.
Replant your parent plant, and then transplant your new clumps. Follow the same instructions for planting as you would with a larger Montauk daisy. Keep the soil moist and water deeply until the plant becomes established in your garden.
This is also a great time to get a close-up look at your parent plant. Remove any unhealthy roots and break off as many clumps as you need to provide excellent airflow for the rest of the plant.
Once you have found the perfect sunny space in your garden for your Montauk daisy, prepare the area by removing any debris and weeds.
Dig a hole just a bit bigger than the rootball of your Montauk daisy, and plop your plant gently in the ground. Ensure that the crown of your plant (where the roots meet the main stem) is still just at the soil level. Fill your hole with garden soil, and pat down firmly to ensure that there are no air bubbles around the roots of the plants that could cause odd settling.
Once your Montauk daisy is in place, you can begin watering. Deeply water a few times a week until your plant is established in your garden. This is also a great time to add a layer of compost and mulch.
How to Grow
Montauk, or Nippon, daisies are very easy to grow! Let’s take a look at a few steps you can take to ensure your Montauk daisies stay happy and lush.
For optimal results, Montauk daisies should be planted in full sun, where they receive 6-8 hours of sunlight per day. Some afternoon shade would be appreciated if you live in a warmer climate. Sunlight is essential to producing strong stems as well as prolific blooms.
These high-performing perennials are nearly drought-tolerant. If you have just planted them, you will want to water them regularly until they are established. Aside from long periods of drought, the only water your plants will need will come from precipitation.
When picking a planting site, finding a spot with well-draining soil is important. The type of soil does not matter as these perennials are tolerant of many soil types, including sand or loamy soils. Soil that retains too much moisture can cause the roots to rot, leading to plant death.
Montauk daisy plants are hardy in USDA zones 5-9. While these perennials tolerate many different humidity levels, they do not do well in excessive heat.
When the fall and winter frosts begin, they will die back naturally. However, you will notice that they will maintain some of their shape and provide winter interest for your garden if you wish.
Be careful when adding fertilizer. Too much fertilizer can cause floppy stems, which no one wants! If you have poor soil, add some compost around your plants to boost the structure of your soil and give your plants all the nutrients they need.
Pruning and Deadheading
These big beautiful plants do not need very much maintenance. However, there are a few tricks that you can keep in your back pocket to enhance the beauty of your daisies.
When you notice plenty of growth appearing on your Montauk daisy in the spring, you will want to cut your plants back to about 6 inches tall. This will help encourage loads of flowers while preventing the stems from getting too leggy and inevitably flopping over.
Once the Montauk daisy flowers begin to fade, you can go ahead and deadhead the blossoms. This encourages new flowers, as well as tidies up the overall look of the plant.
Unfortunately, there is only one main variety of Montauk daisies. Luckily, it is beautiful just the way it is. However, you can plant several other daisy varieties in your garden to get the same cheerful daisy vibe.
If you are seeking other perennial daisy options, here are a few for you:
- Common English Daisy (Bellis perennis) are beautiful spring bloomers that are hardy in zones 4-9. Growing to about 1 foot tall the common English daisy is an excellent container plant. Planting in a container helps to maintain the spreading by self-seeding.
- Shasta Daisies (Leucanthemum x superbum) are hybridized daisies that are much loved by gardeners in zones 5-9. This perennial daisy can grow to 3 feet tall depending on the variety. Add shasta daisies to your flower beds and your cutting gardens.
- Ox-Eye Daisy (Leucanthemum vulgare) is a perennial wildflower that blooms for the entire summer. Hardy in zones 3-8 the ox-eye daisy is invasive in some areas. This perennial will self-seed as well as spread through rhizomes. Add this plant to butterfly or cutting gardens.
Montauk daisies plants are well known for tolerating coastal conditions, including salty air and sandy soils. However, this perennial is well suited for flower beds, border gardens, and even rock gardens.
The flowers are long-lasting in vase arrangements, and this plant would make a great addition to your cutting garden.
Most daisies are relatively pest free. As with any plant, you may notice some common garden pests, such as aphids and spider mites.
Have you noticed small green bugs in large quantities crawling along your plant? They are most likely aphids.
These tiny bugs are very common. While they can cause a lot of damage, they are also pretty easy to control. Aphids will use their mouthpart to suck the life out of your plants. If you allow this to go on for long enough, it can cause damage to the plant.
Before applying any sort of pesticide, try spraying the aphids off with a burst of water or even brushing them off with your hand. If this doesn’t do the trick, apply some insecticidal soap.
These tiny creatures seek out stressed plants. The best way to keep these pests away is by caring for your flowers and ensuring they do not dry out too much. You may not be able to see spider mites, but you will likely see the webbing they weave around your plants’ stems and branches.
Just like aphids, try spraying the mites off with a hose or use insecticidal soap if needed.
You will find that these flowers are disease-free for the most part. However, if your daisies are growing too close together or getting too much shade, you may run into some issues with fungal diseases. This can include stem or root rot, as well as leaf spot.
The good news about these diseases is that they can usually be prevented with increasing airflow between plants. You can do this by dividing plants and replanting the new sections at an appropriate distance or trimming out some branches within individual plants.
If a fungal disease does strike, small infections can be pruned off and disposed of, but don’t compost the infected material. Treat the remainder of the plant with a sulfur or copper fungicide to prevent any further spread if desired.
Frequently Asked Questions
Why aren’t my Montauk daisies blooming?
The most common reason your otherwise healthy Montauk daisies are not producing flowers is a lack of sunlight. These perennials need 6-8 hours of sunlight a day to be at their best.
Look at your surroundings and see if larger plants need to be pruned. If your growing conditions have changed, you may want to consider transplanting to a sunnier locale in the fall or spring.
If your plants get enough sunlight, add a high-phosphorous fertilizer in the spring.
How can I keep my Montauk daisies from falling over?
The best way to keep your Montauk daisies from getting too leggy and flopping over is by cutting them back in the springtime. This will keep the growth nice and compact and prevent it from getting too heavy.
However, if you missed the chance to cut back your daisies, don’t worry; we have all been there. You will have to suffer through the flopping for one season, but the longer you care for these plants, the stronger they get.
Instead of cutting them back to the ground in winter, leave your Montauk daisies intact. When spring comes around, cut back deadwood or dieback. These stems will get stronger and have less chance of flopping while also supporting new growth.
If you are desperate for more upright stems, you can attempt to stake the plant and pull as much of the plant up with garden twine. These plants can get pretty heavy, so this is not always the most attractive option.
Can I plant Montauk daisies in containers?
Of course! These perennials are becoming more popular for use in fall containers. But these perennials can live permanently in a container or simply be used for a season.
Ensure your container is large enough to house growth from the root systems. If you will overwinter your daisies in containers, be sure to provide some warmth to the root systems. You could bring the pots into your garage or shed, or wrap them with burlap and something insulating, such as leaves.
If you love daisies and have not tried growing Montauk daisies in your garden, I urge you to give them a try. They are tough plants that will not let you down!
I hear a lot of people complaining about these plants being high maintenance and that they are always flopping. Likely these gardeners are killing their Montauk daisies with love (too much water or too much fertilizer). Give these tough plants a try; you will not be disappointed!