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Australian Daisies

Native daisies (species in the Asteraceae family) represent our second largest native plant group, surpassed only by the combined eucalyptus, melaleuca, callistemon, and leptospermum group that form the Myrtaceae family.

All daisies have a unique structure. Each daisy is comprised of hundreds of tiny, individual flowers disguised as a single bloom. The flowers in the centre of the daisy, typically have no petals and are called disc florets. Those towards the outside possess a petal-like structure and are called ray florets. Less recognizable as daisies are the perfectly-rounded, pompom-like blooms composed completely of disc florets.

Growing daisies in your garden is key to attracting pollinators and beneficial insects. The closely packed individual blooms form a perfect landing pad (capitulum) for insects. Bees, butterflies and other insects flock to daisy flowers to take advantage of the hundreds of individual nectar and pollen filled blooms tightly packed into each daisy.

There is a great range of daises available in hardware and garden centres. If you are unsure of what would suit a location in your garden, check out the list below or chat with horticultural staff, who can help you with a great plant idea.

Annual daisies

Most revered of all native daisies are the strawflowers or everlastings. You will find species suitable to all, but tropical regions. There are annuals and short-lived perennials and while there are hundreds to choose from, those most common in cultivation include:

  • Rose Everlasting Shades of pink and white (Rhodanthe chlorocephala subspecies rosea)
  • White Paper-daisy White with a soft, yellow centre (Rhodanthe floribunda)
  • Mangles Everlasting or Silver Bells Silver flower buds with pink or white blooms (Rhodanthe manglesii)
  • Chamomile Sunray White with a yellow centre (Rhodanthe anthemoides)
  • Golden Everlasting White, pink, bright yellow or orange (Xerochrysum bracteatum)
  • Large Flowered Yellow or Showy Everlasting Yellow and gold (Schoenia filifolia subspecies subulifolia)
  • Grey Podolepis Egg yolk yellow or white with a yellow centre (Podolepis aristata)

Peak flowering occurs in winter, spring and summer depending on the species chosen and where you live.

Seeds are generally sown in late autumn and winter when daytime temperatures drop. Seed requires light to germinate, so scatter it on the surface of damp soil and keep the soil moist for the next 5 days or until the seeds germinate. Seedlings and potted everlasting daisies generally become available during winter and spring.

Perennial daisies

Looking for something longer lived? Popular perennial daisies include:

  • Yellow Buttons (Chrysocephalum apiculatum) This diverse species is found throughout Australia. Plant them as groundcovers or potted plants. Improved cultivated varieties with larger flowers are available from local nurseries. Plants can be grown from seeds, cuttings or division.
  • Swan River Daisy (Brachyscome iberidifoliaDelicate-looking, but quite hardy, modern cultivated forms include blue, purple, mauve and white flowered forms. Grow as a groundcover or in pots. Plants grow easily from cuttings.
  • Rice Flowers (Ozothamnus diosmifoliusThese winter and spring flowering shrubs grow 1-2m high. The pink-tinged buds open to clustered heads of small, white blooms that are popular cut flowers. Several named cultivars are available. Plants are propagated by seed and cuttings.
  • Dusty Daisy Bush (Olearia phlogopappa) This grey-foliaged shrub grows 1-1.5m high and is best suited to the south eastern states of Australia. Flower colours include violet, pink and white. Several cultivated selections are available. Plants are best propagated from cuttings.

Growing conditions

Climate You will find native daisies suited to your climate, no matter where you live. Most prefer a full sun position with at least six hours of sun per day, but a few will tolerate light shade. Talk to staff at your local nursery about the availability of seeds, seedlings and potted plants of species native to your region.

Aspect All daisies love full sun. Plant in north and north-west facing positions. Move pots of daisies around to maximise sun exposure as the seasons change. Protection from strong winds is recommended as many daisies have shallow roots and are prone to blowing over.

Soil Light soil is preferred and good drainage is essential. Some native daisies are sensitive to phosphorous, so to be sure of a good result use low phosphorous fertilisers and soil improvers. For improved growth, incorporate Seasol Plant + Soil Booster into the soil prior to planting and apply Seasol Super Soil Wetter & Conditioner where the soil is water repellent.

General Care

Watering Many daisy species originate where winter rainfall is common. It is critical to keep the soil moist to maximize seed germination and encourage strong root growth during establishment. Seasol or Seasol GOLD can be applied at any time to boost disease resistance and drought tolerance.

Feeding Some native daisies are sensitive to phosphorous. As a precaution, only use fertilizer suitable for native plants. Annual daisy plants grow strongly with fortnightly applications of PowerFeed All Purpose including Natives. This can also be applied to perennial daisies during the first few months of establishment. For sustained nutrition, apply Powerfeed with Troforte All Purpose including Natives or PowerFeed Controlled Release Plant Food All Purpose including Natives.

Pruning Remove dead flower heads to promote repeat flowering and keep plants looking tidy. Collect pruned seed heads to save seed and sow the following year. Prune back perennial daisy plants after flowering. This is particularly important with rice flowers and the dusty daisy bush which may be cut back by half to encourage bushy growth and improve flowering the following season. Follow this end of season pruning with an application of fertiliser such as PowerFeed with Troforte All Purpose including Natives.

Watch for Protect young seedlings from attack by slugs and snails with non-toxic iron-based snail and slug pellets.