The Joy of Growing Shasta Daisies: An Easy Guide to Propagation

Shasta Daisies are delightful garden flowers that deserve a prominent place in any garden. Not only are they versatile and adaptable to various regions, but they also thrive in my Zone 4 garden. These resilient plants can handle different soil conditions, requiring minimal maintenance while producing stunning flowers that become more abundant with each passing year. What’s more, propagating Shasta Daisies is a breeze. Let’s explore three simple and effective methods for propagating these lovely flowers.

Seeds: Nature’s Miracle Workers

Daisies readily grow from seeds, making this a popular propagation method. By allowing the flowers to wither and dry on the plant, seed heads will develop. In early fall, I like to deadhead the spent flowers and collect the dried heads in a paper bag. After a week, the dried heads release their precious seeds when gently squeezed. By collecting the seeds in the bag, you can ensure none of them go to waste.

You have two options for sowing the seeds: in fall or spring. Personally, I prefer the natural cycle of the seeds by distributing them generously over the planting bed in the fall. As the seeds settle into the soil, autumn leaves and winter snow gently press them in. The winter months provide a cold soaking, and when spring arrives with its warm sunshine, new growth emerges, showcasing the beauty of Shasta Daisies by early summer.

Cuttings: Cloning the Original

If you’re looking for an exact duplicate of the parent plant, stem cuttings are the way to go. Simply take a five- or six-inch long cutting, remove any flowers and leaves from the lower half, and dip it in rooting hormone or place it in damp sand or potting soil. Find a spot with indirect sunlight, keep the soil lightly moist, and within a few weeks to a month, roots will develop along the cutting. Once the new plant has established roots, it’s ready for transplantation. The best part is that the new plant will be an exact clone of the original, ensuring consistent beauty in your garden.

Division: Doubling the Joy

My preferred method of propagation is division. This technique results in an exact duplicate of the plant and allows it to flower in its first year. The plants already have established roots, making them more likely to thrive when transplanted. You can divide Shasta Daisies in either fall or spring. I recommend early fall as the plants can develop new roots while the soil remains warm. By spring, the transplanted plants are already in place, ready to flourish throughout the growing season.

When dividing in spring, I’ve noticed that the separated sections may not produce as many flowers in their first season due to the stress on the plant. Additionally, the divisions may not be even in size, causing visual disparities during the initial year. However, with fall-divided plants, the garden tends to look more symmetrical as the plants grow in the following season. By the second year, any visual discrepancies fade, and all the plants tend to grow similarly, regardless of the division timing.

Controlling the Expansion

Shasta Daisies have a tendency to grow into big clumps, potentially taking over your garden bed. As the edges spread out, the center of the clump often dies off. To ensure the plant’s health and maintain garden aesthetics, thinning the clumps becomes necessary. Seize this opportunity for normal garden maintenance and use it to expand the daisies into new areas.

To begin dividing, dig up the entire plant, ensuring you retain the entire root ball if possible. In spring, wait until you see new green growth, while in fall, wait until after the flowers have faded. Shasta Daisies are hardy plants, so you don’t need to be overly gentle with them. Once you’ve dug up the plant, press a spade or garden knife through the middle of the root ball. This action helps separate the thick center of the mass. Then, simply pull apart the two halves to create two individual plants. If desired, you can stop at this point and plant just two divisions, doubling your number of plants. Depending on the size of the clump, you can further divide the halves into four, eight, or even more sections. If the center of the clump is dead or dying, remove it and add it to your compost pile.

Dig a new hole in a sunny spot, amend it with compost, and place the division in the ground. Firmly pack the soil around the roots and water the plant well. Ensure you space the divisions at least a foot apart. Each division will grow into a new large clump of daisies, ready to be divided again after a few years.

For maximum division, examine the dug-up clump closely. Notice the individual stems that grow up from the root base, particularly around the edges. These stems allow the plant to propagate naturally by enlarging its base. You can easily pull apart these sections, each with roots attached. Pot them up or transplant them, knowing that while they may take longer to grow into full-sized plants, they offer an opportunity to fill large garden areas with just one or two parent plants.

After planting the divisions, remember to deadhead spent flowers and prune any damaged stems or leaves. This practice directs the plant’s energy toward root development. Even when the ground freezes, Shasta Daisies will continue to grow roots beneath the surface, remaining green throughout most of the year.

Without proper attention, daisies can effortlessly take over garden beds through natural propagation by seeds and plant expansion. However, the results may appear ragged and uneven. With a little effort, you can keep your Shasta Daisies under control, ensuring they look splendid for years to come.