How to Plant, Grow, and Care for Oxeye Daisies

The oxeye daisy is a no-nonsense, easy-to-care-for addition to the garden. Here, gardening expert Melissa Strauss will tell you how to care for these charming little flowers.

Close-up of blooming Oxeye daisies against a blurred background of a sunny garden. Oxeye daisies paint a picturesque scene with their cheerful appearance, featuring slender stems topped with striking white, daisy-like flowers with golden-yellow centers.



Close-up of blooming Oxeye daisies in the garden. Oxeye daisies are charming wildflowers with a classic, daisy-like appearance. Their flowers boast white petals surrounding a sunny yellow center.
Plant Type Herbaceous perennial
Family Asteraceae
Genus Leucanthemum
Species Vulgare
Native Area Europe and Asia
Exposure Full sun to partial shade
Height 1’-3’
Watering Requirements Low
Pests & Diseases Aphids, mites, leaf miners, verticillium wilt, stem rot, leaf spot
Maintenance Low
Soil Type Rich, fast-draining
Soil pH Neutral to slightly alkaline

What are Oxeye Daisies?

Oxeye daisies feature clusters of bright white flowers with vibrant yellow centers, creating a captivating contrast against their dark green foliage. The leaves are lance-shaped, arranged in a basal rosette, with toothed edges and a slightly hairy texture. These cheerful wildflowers stand tall on slender stems.
The oxeye daisy, a charming wildflower, evokes childhood memories.

He loves me, he loves me not, he loves me…. How many of us plucked a flower in our childhood and played along with this charming little game? I know that I certainly did. This game originated in France with a sweet little flower called the oxeye daisy. 

The oxeye daisy is a sweet little wildflower that you may find growing along roadsides here in the US. This pretty little flower makes a wonderful addition to the wildflower garden. It will form drifts that cover themselves in sweet, white flowers if allowed.  A charming little plant, the oxeye daisy can be a bit aggressive, but if managed properly, makes a nice addition to the garden. 


Close-up of flowering Leucanthemum vulgare plants in a garden against a blurred green background. .
Symbolizing purity and new beginnings, the oxeye daisy enchants with its vintage charm.

The oxeye daisy is a pretty plant with a vintage feel. It is familiar and charming, with an unrivaled simplicity among wildflowers. Its name comes from the Latin ‘leucos‘ meaning white. Presumably, because this is the color of its blooms. It was introduced to the United States in the 1800s as an ornamental plant and has gained popularity here ever since. 

The flowers have had significance in many cultures, but perhaps none as fervently as with the French. The French associated the flower with divinity. Plucking the flowers to determine the devotion of one’s beloved. Historically, these flowers symbolize purity, innocence, and new beginnings. 

Native Area

Close-up of blooming daisies in a field. they paint a picturesque scene with their abundance of bright white flowers and sunny yellow centers, creating a vibrant carpet against the backdrop of verdant grass. Each daisy stands proudly on its slender stem.
With origins primarily in Europe, these daisies also flourish in parts of Western Asia.

Oxeye daisies are native predominantly to Europe. They also are known to grow wild in some temperate areas of Western Asia. They are an introduced species in the United States, New Zealand, and Australia. Check with local invasive species information centers, as this plant is considered invasive in some parts of the country.


Daisies showcase charming flowers with snowy white petals surrounding a sunny yellow center, adorning slender stems. Amidst the blooms, lance-shaped leaves form a verdant base, featuring serrated edges and a slightly fuzzy texture.
This charming perennial forms a petite mound with delicate flowers.

This attractive flowering perennial grows to about two feet tall and forms a mound of foliage. The stalks are slender with notched leaves and pretty, compound flower heads. The flower heads sport 15-20 ray florets arranged neatly around a central yellow center containing many disk florets. 

The flowers are similar to those of the Shasta daisy, except that they are smaller. At about two and a half to five centimeters across, they are dainty and delicate. It is common to see this plant growing in large swaths in disturbed meadows and along roadsides. 


View of blooming oxeye flowers in a sunny garden. Each daisy presents a radiant display with its pristine white petals encircling a cheerful golden center, creating a captivating contrast against the backdrop of lush green foliage.
This flower adds beauty to gardens while possibly offering medicinal benefits.

Most people who grow this flower do so for its ornamental value. It is known to spread and reseed readily, so it won’t shock you to see them popping up in other areas of the garden. 

The parts of the plant that grow aboveground are sometimes used medicinally. They are purported to have some positive effects on wound healing and respiratory illness. These claims have not been well established, though.

Where to Buy

Daisies present a captivating sight with their profusion of delicate white petals surrounding sunny yellow centers, creating a striking contrast against the lush green foliage. Each flower stands tall on slender stems.
Easy to find and care for, these plants are nursery favorites.

These plants are common to find at a local nursery or even hardware stores. They are common and easy to grow and care for, so they are popular as filler plants. You can also purchase seeds and starts online if they are not easily located locally. 


Top view of young Leucanthemum vulgare plants without flower buds. Leucanthemum vulgare leaves are lance-shaped with serrated edges, forming a dense basal rosette at the plant's base. They exhibit a vibrant green coloration and a slightly fuzzy texture.
For optimal growth, sow seeds in late winter or early spring.

Sow your seeds for this plant in late winter or early spring. They grow well when sown directly in the garden, so they are even low maintenance to start. Plant seeds in groups of three, 12 inches apart. The seeds do not require stratification and should be surface sown or covered very lightly with soil. Light will enhance germination. 

If planting seedlings, plant each one foot apart, only as deep as the root ball. These plants have a one to three-foot spread, so they need a bit of space between them. Wait until the growth is workable and the threat of frost has passed in the spring, as frost will damage the foliage. 

How to Grow

These flowers are easy to grow and care for. In fact, there is little work to tending them, and they multiply easily. They are drought tolerant and not particular about soil type, although drainage is very important. Give them some shelter from strong winds, which can cause the thin stems to flop over. 


Close-up of daisies under full sun in a garden. Daisies boast slender, erect stems that support clusters of captivating white flowers with sunny yellow centers. Each flower presents a classic daisy-like appearance, with pristine white petals radiating outward and encircling the bright yellow disk florets at the center.
For abundant blooms, provide these plants with full sun exposure.

These flowering plants thrive best in full sun. The more sun, the better they will flower, and flowers are the main objective. They will tolerate partial shade, and it is unlikely to inhibit their growth. However, they will not flower as prolifically under partial shade conditions. It is difficult to give these plants too much sun. 


Close-up of a Leucanthemum vulgare flower covered with water drops. The flower is large, daisy-like, with white elongated petals radiating outward and encircling the bright yellow center.
Established daisies thrive with minimal watering, especially during droughts.

Keep your seeds and seedlings consistently moist while germinating until the plants establish a strong root system. Once your plants have sprouted and have several true leaves, you can decrease watering. One to two inches per week is plenty of water for these plants when they are young. 

Once established, they are drought-tolerant and need very little additional water. In times of prolonged drought, you may want to give them some supplemental water. In times of regular rain, established plants shouldn’t need additional watering. 


Close-up of tilling soil with a hoe. A hoe typically features a long wooden or metal handle attached to a flat, rectangular blade. The soil is loose and dark brown in color.
Oxeye daisies thrive in poor soils but dislike heavy clay.

You won’t need to worry much about soil for these plants. Oxeye daisies actually grow very well in poor soil types. The exception is with clay-heavy soil. Because these plants need excellent drainage, clay soil will need some amending. Clay tends to hold water and compact easily, which are death sentences for the roots of this plant.

They can grow well in loamy and sandy soil types as long as they drain freely. A neutral to alkaline soil pH is ideal, so don’t worry about adding much organic matter. In a container, plain, unamended potting soil will be just fine. 

Temperature and Humidity

Close-up of flowering Leucanthemum vulgare plants in a sunny garden. Leucanthemum vulgare, commonly known as oxeye daisy, presents a charming appearance with its slender stems. Atop these stems sit clusters of striking white flowers with sunny yellow centers, each bloom resembling a classic daisy. The petals are pure white.
For optimal growth and flowering, ensure 130 frost-free days.

Oxeye daisies need 130 frost-free days to grow, flower, and reproduce. They are hardy in Zones 3-8, and their roots will tolerate very cold temperatures. The optimal soil temperature for germination is between 60-65°F (16-18°C). The foliage will survive in a light frost and is hardy down to 28°F (-2°C). 

In terms of humidity, these plants appreciate moist weather in the spring. They will germinate and grow best at a humidity level between 40-60%. In very hot and humid climates, it is best to give them some shade in the afternoon. 


Close-up of granular fertilizer in a sack and a small garden shovel standing nearby on green grass. Granular fertilizer has an irregular, slightly rounded shape and a pastel pinkish tint.
A springtime boost with balanced fertilizer perks up oxeye daisies.

Oxeye daisies are wildflowers, and they don’t require fertilizer under most circumstances. However, if you want to give them a little boost in the spring, it won’t hurt.

One springtime application of an all-purpose, balanced fertilizer is sufficient. An application of a 10-10-10 formula at the beginning of the growing season will wake up dormant plants and get them growing. 


Drying of mown grass with oxeye daisy blooms. Close-up of a pile of cut stems, leaves and flowers of an oxeye daisy plant. The stems are thin and long. The flowers are large, daisy-like, with white petals and bright yellow discs in the centers.
Regular deadheading keeps daisies blooming and prevents excessive spreading.

To increase blooming power, deadhead your daisies regularly. This will also help to slow their spread. If you want to keep them confined to an area, it will require some effort. If you want to thin out and control the spread of your plants, remove them before they go to seed. 

These plants have a shallow root system, so they are not difficult to remove completely. Simply mowing down any seedlings and preventing them from flowering will help to keep your plants under control. 

Growing in Containers

Close-up of an old iron flowerpot with blooming flowers in a sunny garden. The plant features slender stems rising from a basal rosette of lance-shaped leaves with serrated edges. Atop these stems are clusters of charming white flowers with sunny yellow centers. The leaves provide a lush green backdrop to the profusion of blooms
Ideal for containers, this plant thrives with abundant blooms.

This is a great plant for growing in containers, as it grows quickly and flowers heavily. It makes lovely front porch flowers. It also spreads easily, and if you prefer to keep it contained, it’s easy to do so by growing it in a pot. 

Use a container that has good drainage to avoid root rot. Choose a soil that is well-draining but also stays moist. In containers, you’ll want to water these more than plants in the ground. You can grow these plants in containers from seeds or starts.


Oxeye daisies are spread by reseeding and by rhizomes. You can propagate them by seed or by division every few years. 


Close-up of dry flowers on a blurred green background. As  their vibrant petals gradually lose their color, transitioning from their pristine white hue to muted tones of cream or tan. The petals become papery and fragile, delicately curling at the edges. The once-prominent yellow centers have a brownish-copper hue.
Harvest seeds easily for planting when flower heads mature.

You can purchase seeds from a retailer. However, if you have a plant that you want to propagate, it’s a simple process. Wait until your flowers drop their petals and the central disk looks domed. Squeeze the seed head between two fingers and roll it lightly back and forth, loosening the seeds. 

The seeds should fall out easily if the seed head is mature. Store your seeds in an envelope in a cool, dry space. When you are ready to plant them you can start them in trays, or directly sow them in the garden. 


Close-up of plants blooming in a sunny garden. The plant features slender, lance-shaped leaves that alternate along the stem, forming a basal rosette. Its iconic flowers boast white petals radiating around a bright yellow center, creating a charming daisy-like appearance.
Separate rhizomes for propagation to keep plants healthy and vibrant.

To propagate by division, you’ll be digging up your daisies and separating portions of their rhizome, or central root. It’s a good idea to divide your plants every few years one way or another. These plants can become congested over time, and crowded. Thinning them out will make for happier plants overall. 

Divide your plants in the spring or fall. Dig up the roots of your daisies, and use a sharp tool to cut apart sections of the rhizome. Then, simply plant your divisions separately and watch them grow.

Common Problems

In general, these flowering plants are sturdy and don’t encounter many issues. However, as with any plant, there are some issues that you may run into.

Aggressive Spreading

View of a flowering field of plants. Atop the thin and tall stem sits a solitary flower head characterized by white ray florets surrounding a yellow disc.
Control spreading by deadheading and dividing plants regularly.

One of the most noteworthy issues in growing oxeye daisies is their spreading tendency. In fact, they can become invasive if they aren’t kept in check. Once they’ve spread, it can be difficult to get a handle on them, but not impossible. 

A good way to prevent your daisies from taking over the garden is to deadhead them before they go to seed. By removing the seed heads before they ripen, you prevent the plants from reseeding. You can also divide your plants every year or two to keep them more manageable. 


Close-up of an ant and aphid colony on an oxeye daisy stem. Aphids are small insects with elongated bodies ranging from bright green to black in color.
Beneficial insects deter common garden pests naturally.

While oxeye daisies are attractive to pollinators, they aren’t particularly popular with nuisance pests. Look out for the occasional mite, aphid, or leaf miner. In general, these pests will find other plants more appealing. 

Preventing insect infestation is best achieved by attracting beneficial insects to the garden. Lacewings and ladybugs, among others, will help to keep pest populations down. Plant native plants and herbs to provide them with a home. If you come up against a difficult infestation, neem oil is a safe way to deal with nuisance insects. 


Close-up of a plant affected by the fungal disease verticillium wilt. The plant is completely brown in color, with rotten stems and dry brownish-gray leaves.
Watchful care is key, as verticillium wilt is incurable.

Much like insects, these plants tend to be resistant to most diseases. Occasionally stem rot issues can arise, and leaf spot sometimes shows up, as well. The most common disease is verticillium wilt. 

Verticillium wilt does not have a cure, so it typically means death for the plant. You can prevent it by purchasing your plants from a reputable source and keeping them healthy. Always clean your gardening tools between uses to prevent the spread of diseases. Remove any plants that are infected with the disease, and avoid planting susceptible plants in that area going forward.

Frequently Asked Questions

Are Oxeye Daisies Poisonous?

They are not poisonous to humans or animals. However, they are known to alter the flavor of milk when cows graze on them. For this reason, they are undesirable in grazing areas.

Are Oxeye Daisies Edible?

Yes! The green portions and flowers are both edible and make a nice addition to salads. They taste best when harvested while young and tender.

How Does Oxeye Daisy Spread?

These plants spread both by self-seeding and by rootstock.

Final Thoughts

As long as you prevent them from spreading too aggressively, oxeye daisies make a delightful garden plant. Their cheery flowers are attractive to pollinators, and they have a nice, long blooming season. Keep your daisies under control by deadheading, dividing, or planting them in containers. These enjoyable flowering plants are no-nonsense, pest and disease resistant, and very pretty, too!

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