Growing Paper Daisies.

Latest Update 12th December 2014.
 
Paper Daisies.
  • Binomial name:                                   Rhodanthe anthemoides
  • Family group:                                      Asteraceae.
  • Classification:                                      Evergreen perennial.
  • Mature plant size:                                300mm high x 400mm wide.
  • Garden bed type:                                 Drip line irrigated. 
  • Recommended soil pH:                         pH tolerant 
  • Climate:                                              Warm temperate.
  • Geography:                                          Southern hemisphere. 
Notes.
  • Paper daisies are endemic to Australia.
  • Their natural habitat is mountainous with sandy soil.
  • They flower prolifically from September till February.
Growing Conditions:
  • They grow best in sandy soil, but will grow well in heavier soil provided it is well structured and kept fed with homemade compost.
  • They grow strongly from autumn through winter and produce lots of new pink flower buds during this period.
  • The buds burst into flower in spring and continue until late summer.
  • They don't like excessive heat and benefit from shade in the hotter months.  I grow mine under the canopy of an Apricot tree.
Feed the Soil.  
  • In September, remove old mulch, fallen leaves and other decaying organic material from under your Paper daisies, or from the surface of the soil when planting new stock.
  • Dispose of this waste in the compost heap.  
  • Apply a 60mm thick top dressing of home made compost and cover with fresh straw mulch. 
  • Leave for a few weeks to boost microbial activity.
Growing Instructions
  • They can be propagated from softwood cuttings on a mature plant 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 the compost version of my Mini Ecobeds, water them in and forget them until Summer when they are ready to plant out.
  • Move some of the mulch in the prepared bed 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 and then allow the drip irrigation to take over. 
  • They must be kept well watered during the summer months when the weather is hot and windy. 
  • As soon as the first flush of flowers die back, trim the plant to encourage a second showing of flowers. 
  • Spray the foliage every month with aerated compost tea to help feed the plant and help resist pests and diseases. 
Organic Pest Control.
  • Greenhouse whitefly.
    • Aerated compost tea strengthens the plants resistance to whitefly damage. 
    • 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.  
  • General.
    • Regular foliar sprays of aerated compost tea boost the natural defences of paper daisies 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.