The Ox-eye daisy is a familiar and attractive grassland perennial and our largest native member of the daisy family. It has a medium tall un-branched stem topped by a solitary composite flower of white rays (petals) surrounding a yellow disc floret. The basal leaves of Ox-eye daisy are quite distinctive with their toothed spoon shape and long leaf stalks.
Commonly found growing in bold swathes on grassy banks and roadside verges it flowers from June to August.
This British native wildflower loves well-drained grassland with a neutral soil. It is quite at home in pastureland and meadows which are cut or moderately grazed. It can often colonize open ground if left to its natural devices and is particularly rampant in fertile soil.
Sometimes mistaken for the bold Shasta Daisy (Leucanthemum x superbum), this species has smaller blooms 3 to 5 cm (1 to 2in) wide and flowers earlier and longer than the Shasta Daisy. Oxeye Daisies are popular with Mason Bees and hoverflies.
The Ox-eye Daisy is one of the most familiar of all summer flowers. They can be planted at almost any time of year, though care should be taken to keep new planting well watered in summer.
When seen naturalised in drifts in a sunny wildflower meadow, adorning roadside and meadows or even in a little corner of the garden they are spectacular.
Sow in August to September for early summer flowering the next year or sow directly where they are to flower in March to April
Sow seed on the surface of lightly firmed, moist seed compost in pots or trays. Cover seed with a light sprinkling of compost or vermiculite. Keep at a temperature of between 15 to 20°C (59 to 68°F). After sowing, do not exclude light as this helps germination. Keep the surface of the compost moist but not waterlogged; germination can take between 10 and 30 days.
When large enough to handle, transplant seedlings into 7.5cm (3in) pots or trays. Gradually acclimatise to outdoor conditions for 10 to 15 days before planting out after all risk of frost, 30 to 45cm (12 to 18in) apart. For best results, provide any ordinary, well-drained soil in full sun.
Seeds can be broadcast in drifts of colour or they can be sown in more formal beds and borders. Sow in spring to early summer when all risk of frost has gone.
Sow the seed in short drills 12mm (½ in) deep from March to May, at temperatures around 20°C (68°F). Cover lightly with soil, mark the sowing areas with a ring of light coloured sand and label if sowing more than one annual in the same bed.
Seeds germinate in less than two weeks. The seedlings will appear in rows approx 6-8 weeks after planting and can be told from nearby weed seedlings quite easily. Thin the seedlings out so they are finally 4 to 6 in apart by early summer.
Alternatively, leave them to grow as small clumps, of 4 to 6 plants every 12in or so. Compost should be kept slightly moist, but not wet at all times.
If deadheaded, you will get a second flush of blooms. Its seeds are set as early as June right through to August. Ungrazed plants can produce as many as 4000 seeds, making it a good coloniser of bare ground. However, it does not like nutrient rich soils and so numbers have decreased on improved (fertilised) land.
Cottage/Informal Garden, Wildflower and Wildlife Gardens, Flower Borders and Beds
Leucanthemum vulgare is a widespread flowering plant native to Europe and the temperate regions of Asia.
The genus name Leucanthemum is taken from the Greek leukos, meaning ‘white’ and anthos meaning ‘flower’.
The species name vulgare means ‘common’, a simple common wildflower.
It has the vernacular names common daisy, dog daisy, margarite, moon daisy, and ox-eye daisy.
The word daisy comes from two Anglo-Saxon words: daeges and eage, which mean "day's eye". When the flowers open, the white ray flowers uncover and surround the yellow disk flowers at the centre. The yellow tube flowers resemble the Sun, so the flower is considered to be the "eye" of the day.
Ox-eye daisy means "a token". In the Middle Ages, the knight who wore two daisies on his shield was the "Lady's" choice. If a Lady wore a crown of daisies, it meant that she had not chosen her suitor. In the Language of Flowers, Daisy means "innocence" (given its simplicity and whiteness), "preference", or "beauty and innocence".
The oxeye daisy was also known as Marguerite after the French princess who adopted it as her official emblem. Princess Marguerite of Angouleme (1282-1317) was known as Daisy. She was the sister of King Francis of France and the second wife of King Edward I of England.
The name Daisy has been used as a diminutive form of Margaret in England since the Middle Ages, but did not catch on as an independent given name till the Victorian Era, when other floral names came into fashion. HRH Princess Margaret of Connaught (1882-1920) the grand-daughter of Queen Victoria was nicknamed "Daisy".
- Additional Information
Seed Form Natural Seeds per gram 3,000 seeds per Kg Family Asteraceae Genus Leucanthemum Species vulgare Cultivar Wildflower of Britain and Ireland Synonym Chrysanthemum leucanthemum Common Name Field Daisy, Marguerite
Wildflower of Britain and Ireland
Other Common Names Ox-Eyed Daisy, Moon Daisy Other Language Names IR. Nóinín mór Hardiness Hardy Annual Flowers White with Yellow Centres Natural Flower Time Blooms repeatedly throughout summer Height 45-60cm (18-24in) Spread 30-38cm (12-15in) Position Full Sun or Partial Shade. Time to Sow February to May or August to September. Germination 30 to 90 days