Growing Marguerite Daisies

Latest Update 14th December 2014.

Growing Marguerite Daisies
  • Binomial name:                                   Argyranthemum frutescens.
  • Family group:                                      Asteraceae.
  • Classification:                                      Evergreen Shrub.
  • Mature plant size:                                1500mm high x 1500mm wide.
  • Garden bed type:                                 Drip line irrigated. 
  • Recommended soil pH:                         pH tolerant 
  • Climate:                                              Warm temperate.
  • Geography:                                          Southern hemisphere. 
Notes.
  • The white petalled Marguerite daisies I grow are vigorous plants.  After planting, an established cutting will grow to 1 metre tall by 1m wide in one season.  The flowers grow on softwood shoots, and although attractive to pollinators like bees and butterflies, they are sterile and don't set viable seeds.
  • When they die back, they are replaced by several flowers each on a side shoot from the dead flowers stem.  This stem gradually becomes woody and part of the structure of the plant.
  • I have grown pink varieties in the past, but none had the vigour of the white one I grow now.
  • In our climate, they can flower continuously, but benefit from being deadheaded and given a light prune as soon as each flush of flowers lose their petals.
Growing Conditions:
  • They grow well in heavy clay soil like mine, but grow faster in the light sandy soil in my daughter's garden.
  • Minimise soil disturbances to maintain a natural soil structure. 
  • They survive our rather mild winters, and will live for about 3 years before they become too straggly and need to be replaced.
  • They grow best in full sun and are extremely hardy in hot dry weather.  However, they do benefit from regular deep watering.
Feed the Soil.  
  • In September, remove old mulch, fallen leaves and other decaying organic material from under your Marguerites.  Dispose of this waste in the compost heap.  
  • Apply a 60mm thick top dressing of home made compost, and cover the compost with fresh mulch.
Growing Instructions
  • They can be propagated from softwood cuttings as soon as the plant starts to grow vigorously in spring.  
  • I cut off shoots about 100mm long and strip them of their leaves until there is only one small leaf cluster left at the top of each cutting.
  • I push these cuttings 50mm into soft soil in one of my Mini Ecobeds, water them in and forget them until Summer when they are ready to plant out.
  • Select a spot to plant your new shrub and remove any decaying organic material to the compost heap. 
  • Apply a 60mm thick top dressing of home made compost, and cover with fresh mulch.
  • Leave for a few weeks to boost microbial activity.
  • Move some of the mulch to one side and dig a hole twice as big as the new plant's root ball.  Place the plant in the hole and back fill with compost.  Water it in well.
  • Water the plant every few days until it is established, and then allow the drip irrigation to take over.  
  • When replacing an old Marguerite, choose a spot which hasn't grown them for at least 3 years.
  • They remain vigorous plants for about 3 years before they become too woody and need replacing. 
  • Deadhead the flowers and give the plant a light prune from time to time during the growing season to maintain a compact shape and encourage masses of new flowers.
  • Spray the foliage with aerated compost tea twice a year in late autumn and late spring. 
Organic Pest Control.
  • My Marguerite daisies have been pest and disease free for many years, but can be effected by the following:-
  • Greenhouse whitefly.
    • Aerated compost tea is very effective against whitefly.
    • Alternatively, control any infestations by spraying your crop thoroughly with organic neem oil as early in the whitefly's life cycle as possible.
    • Spray again in a few days to ensure second generation whitefly do not survive. 
  • Powdery mildew. 
    • A monthly foliar spray of aerated compost tea was a spectacular success last year with no sign of powdery mildew on any of my plants.
    • Alternatively a solution of 1 part cows milk to 9 parts water makes a reasonably effective organic pesticide against powdery mildew.  However, it needs to be applied early before this fungi gets well established, and frequently to keep it in check.
  • General:
    • Regular foliar sprays of aerated compost tea boost the natural defences of Marguerites by colonising the leaf surfaces with beneficial microbes.  These microbes defend the plant against airborne pests and diseases.
    • Similarly, proper soil preparation including regular applications of home made compost boosts the community of beneficial microbes, which defend the plants roots against plant pathogens.