These early autumn bloomers will add instant cheer to your garden.

By Lauren Wellbank
October 22, 2020
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white montauk daisy close up
Credit: Getty / igaguri_1

The Nipponanthemum nipponicum, more commonly known as the Nippon or Montauk daisy, is a shrubby perennial flower. The sunny bloom, which has white petals and a yellow or green center, is popular as both a garden plant and a cut flower used in floral arrangements. Before you bring a bunch home, though, it's important to note that you'll want to keep them out of reach your family members as they are known to cause skin irritation. They also should not be ingested, so if you have a cat or dog that loves to nibble on your greenery, these cheerful flowers might not be the right choice for you.

The Nippon daisy has been through a few botanical name changes and was once known as Chrysanthemum nipponicum. "I have seen them confused with Leucanthemum or Shasta daisies but the time of bloom is a dead giveaway for identification," says Nan Pritchard merchandise consultant for Spring Hill Nurseries. "Montauk or Nippon daisies are very late blooming, as early as August, and as late as September and October in many areas, and this makes them a star of the fall garden." Your Montauk daisies will make great cut flowers throughout the fall and will regularly bloom until a killing frost.

How to Grow Montauk Daisies

Montauk daisies are hardy in USDA zones five through nine and prefer full sun, according to Pritchard. Native to coastal Japan, these plants will grow happily in well-drained soil, especially in US coastal states like New York and New Jersey. "They grow to [be] 18 to 36 inches tall, forming an equally wide clump," she says. "The blooms can be large, [with] up to two to three inch diameter flower heads with white rays and green to yellow centers." The leaves of the daisy are a shiny dark green. These plants are not particularly heavy feeders, according to Pritchard. "A balanced all-purpose fertilizer is sufficient."

If you want to start your own daisies from seed, you certainly can (they germinate quickly but can take a season to produce blooms), but Pritchard doesn't recommend it. "I would recommend starting with potted plants and they can easily be divided every two to three years to expand throughout the garden or share with friends." Additionally, if you have a friend who has an established plant and doesn't mind sharing, Montauk daisies can easily be propagated from cuttings by placing a freshly cut stem directly into a well-drained, sunny location.

Troubleshooting Common Issues

Montauk daisies rarely exhibit serious insect or disease problems. "Leaf spots, stem rots and leaf miners are infrequent concerns but overall, they are rather care-free," says Pritchard. "It is recommended to prune them back in early spring to keep them compact as they usually shed lower leaves as they grow and can look leggy as a result."

Safety Concerns

These daisies are gorgeous, but Vicky Popat, CFO and tropical plant expert at PlantOGram, warns that they can cause skin irritation to people and animals. "So, if you are going to incorporate them in your garden make sure it's not a high traffic area where people will be brushing by it or animals will not get into them," she says. "Toxicity [is] similar in people and animals they include a rash or irritation on the skin from contact with the plant."

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