We all know daisies from our childhoods. One way or another, we have used the proverbial flower ‘he loves me, he loves me not.’ But moving past that, daisies are popular houseplants not only as ground covers but also as indoor plants.
It is also one of the most cultivated flowers around the world with more than 500 types of daisies out there including hybrids and other cultivars.
And since it is a gigantic task to tag all of them, we will cover some of the most common types of daisies. Because of its typical, delicate appearance and wide color selection, there is no wonder why it is loved. But did you know that there are other daisies with different appearances? If this sparks interest, read on.
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In this article:
- Daisy meaning & symbolism
- Types of daisies
- Gerbera daisies
- Bellis Daisies
- Shasta daisies (Leucanthemum Daisies)
- Arctotis Daisies
- Painted Daisies
- Monoptilon Daisies
- Chrysanthemum daisies
- Gloriosa Daisies (black-eyed Susans, Rudbeckia hirta)
- Marguerite Daisies (Argyranthemum Daisies)
- Osteospermum Daisies (African daisies)
- Coneflowers (Echinacea Daisies)
- Townsend daisies (Townsendia)
- What color daisies are there?
- Are daisy and sunflowers the same?
- Are daisies poisonous?
- Is a daisy edible?
Daisy meaning & symbolism
The name Daisy alone is symbolic on its own. It is derived from an Anglo-Saxon word which means day’s eye. This is because its petals curl up in the dusk but will bloom widely at first light.
It generally relates to innocence, new beginnings, transformation and cheerfulness. It is given to friends and family who have achieved milestones, moved into new homes or got promoted. It is also commonly given to people who are recuperating from illness or are having episodes of emotional downward-spiraling.
Because it has been archived to have been around for thousands of years, it is also commonly referenced in many cultures and traditions. In the Celtic lore, it is believed that daisies are planted by God when an infant dies to cheer up the infant’s grieving parents. Hence, daisies are associated with purity and innocence.
In the Norse mythology, daisy is considered as Freya’s sacred flower. As such, the daisy stands for fertility, motherhood, childbirth and new beginnings.
In Scandinavia, daisies are given as congratulatory flowers. Bellis daisies are also connected to Roman lore. It is believed to be the flower the nymph Bellies turned into to escape Vertumnus’ (the god of flowers and gardens) affections for her.
In the Christian tradition, it is associated with the Virgin Mary, hence, representing chastity and purity.
In present language and symbolism, daisy is inflected in the exclamations whoops a daisy to stand for shock or accidentally stumbling upon something. It also symbolically means something very incredible as naturalized in the saying, you are such a daisy or you are not a daisy at all.
This rich symbolism of daisies is another reason why it is well-loved. Aside from really sprucing up the garden, it really gives the garden a meaningful touch.
Types of daisies
It is basically the most popular genus of daisies around the world. They are widely cultivated as indoor plants and for bouquets. Because of their extreme popularity, an array of hybrids has been developed to include a wider color and style selection.
Gerberas feature single, double and multiple petals. They can be propagated through seeds and division. Its color selection includes yellow, pink, salmon, red, orange and white.
1. Gerbera viridifolia
This is the most used co-plant for gerbera hybrids and is found in almost all floral shops in the world.
It is also called the Blushing Barberton Daisy which blooms cream, lilac and deep purple flowers. It will intermittently bloom year long but more profusely during spring. It is easy to grow from seed making it a good houseplant too.
2. Gerbera jamesonii (Transvaal daisy, Barberton daisy)
This perennial is also called the Barberton Daisy. It does not resemble the typical daisy look and is sometimes even considered as a species of its own.
It comes in hues of bright orange, red, pink and yellow. It is one of the most famous ornamentals in the world and is one of the two most used base plants for gerbera hybrids.
This type is also known as the common daisy. It is the common daisy of our childhood with its small, white petals and intense yellow center. It only has 12 species in its cluster producing solitary flowers per stem.
They are also hardy perennials, profuse bloomers, and are very robust species perfect for spring bedding. They have a pompom-like blooming habit and produce either single or double flowers typically in white, pink and red hues.
3. Bellis cordifolia
It is the only annual daisy in this genus and is native to Spain. It highly resembles the common daisy complete with the white petals and yellow center along with its medicinal properties.
It is typically double flowered and comes in yellow, white, pink and red hues. Its only distinguishable characteristic is that it is smaller in size than the common daisy.
4. Bellis perennis (English daisy, Common daisy)
This one is called the lawn daisy because they are commonly used as ground covers in lawns. It has the proverbial white ray florets and yellow center and each stem will produce solitary, single flowers.
They love cooler temperatures and shady plant sites. It blooms from early spring to mid-summer in a color selection of red, pink, white and blue.
Shasta daisies (Leucanthemum Daisies)
Literally translating to white flowers, these are tall-growing daisies reaching up to 6ft tall. It is a perennial featuring a number of hybrids grown as ornamentals.
They are practically hardy, being drought-tolerant and resistant to many diseases, problems and critters like deer and rabbits. They get the name Shasta from Mount Shasta located in Northern California.
5. Leucanthemum x superbum (Shasta daisy)
This one is the shasta daisy which is the most popular Leucanthemum. It looks like the typical daisy but is distinguishable for its deep green foliage all year long (although it will bloom for only a few years in a row).
It is loved because it is an adaptive flower which can tolerate a wide range of growing conditions specifically soil, light and water requirements.
6. Leucanthemum vulgare (oxeye daisy, dog daisy)
It is also commonly known as moon daisy or dog daisy. It is an adaptive daisy growing in wastelands, meadows and grasslands.
It could grow up to 2ft tall with unique toothed leaves growing large at the base and becomes smaller as it approaches the top. It will produce solitary flowers per stem. Compared to wildflowers, it will die after two or three years.
These are also known as African daisies native to South Africa. They include almost 60 species of bright colored perennial daisies including hybrids. They are distinct because most of its species do not have stems.
They flower directly from the plant’s base. They are also distinct for their silver-green foliage and flowers that closes at night, partially opens on cloudy days and widely blooms in full sun.
7. Arctotis grandis (Arctotis stoechadifolia, Blue-eyed African daisy)
It is also known as blue-eyed daisy. It is considered as a rare daisy unique dark blue center, white, thin and pointy petals and a pale-yellow outer ring. It is a great ground cover with its more than 3-inches spread and large flowers of up to 2inches in width.
It is known to bloom in masses all through summer and its silver-green foliage will remain in the same color year long.
8. Arctotis acaulis
This low-growing perennial is a perfect ground cover for large areas at 1ft tall and 2-3ft spread. It loves full sun and low water requirements.
It blooms from spring through summer recognizable for its large flowers of red, orange and pink hues with orange rings and maroon centers.
9. Arctotis revoluta
This shrub is also known as Curly Leaf and it could grow in a wide range of soil and climate conditions.
It has low care requirements once it establishes roots. The name revoluta which is translated as rolled backwards is taken from its leaves rolling backwards on the edges. It will bloom yellow flowers in the summer.
This genus is native to southwest Asia. Daisies under this are hardy perennials that thrive in a wide range of soil, light and water conditions. They are propagated through seeds or stem cuttings.
They are called painted daisies because of their distinct color selections. They are also favorite bouquet flowers and are known to be good insect repellants.
10. Double feverfew
It is also called Feverfew Flore Pleno and is known for having small, double flowers that look like the typical daisy. It is a famous companion flower for gardens and is unique for its citrus-scent.
It is however, a short-lived, compact perennial which enjoys full sun and part shade. It is cultivated in Europe and the Americas for its purpose being a traditional medicine to fever and migraine. It is also a natural insect repellent.
11. Golden tansy (Tanacetum vulgare)
It also goes by the name of golden buttons or ginger plant. It gets its name for its golden yellow color and button-like appearance blooming throughout summer.
It is cultivated as both border plant and ornamental thanks to its heavy scent. It is also notable for its fern-like leaves. It is also used in dry arrangements as it grows to up to 3ft and at 2ft wide. It is self-seeding, drought-tolerant and a known natural insect repellent.
12. Painted daisy ‘Brenda’ (Tanacetum coccineum)
It is a showy bloomer with magenta colored ray florets and golden yellow center. It produces large flowers in bulks (3inches wide).
They are known for their longevity in terms of blooming as it starts showing off from mid-spring until late summer. It also has painted daisies’ citrus scent, making them natural insect and mosquito repellants.
Its fern-like leaves remain deep green all year long, hence, maintaining attractiveness even after the blooms fade. It is a favorite of bees and butterflies and is a popular cut flower.
This genus is native to the southwest US specifically scattered in the Mojave Desert. These daisies are used in xeriscape to spruce up a desert garden. It niches on dry, vast open areas and blooms until the end of winter.
13. Monoptilon bellidiforme (daisy desertstar)
It is also called the small desert flower. It has very small stalks that will make them appear as if they are sprouting directly out of the ground.
They have hairy, deep green foliage that make them look like succulents. It blooms yellow and white flowers typically thriving in sandy soils and in high humidity climates.
14. Monoptilon bellioides (Mojave Desert star)
It also goes by the name of Mojave Desert star, native to Mexico, California, Arizona and Nevada. It highly resembles the bellioides in all aspects; from foliage, low-growth to flowers.
The distinguishable characteristics however, would be their purple-red stems, bigger flowers and pink-tinged centers.
It is said that the first chrysanthemum daisies were found in China cultivated for their wide range of medicinal properties.
As a matter of fact, it is considered as the oldest medicinal plant in China known in lowering blood pressure, cholesterol and works as anti-aging and anti-inflammatory.
15. Chrysanthemum indicum (Indian chrysanthemum)
This tall chrysanthemum daisy is also called the Indian chrysanthemum. It grows to up to 2ft tall with yellow and ruby red tinged ray florets (but also comes in white and red/pink tinged colors) and yellow center which blooms from summer to early fall.
Its young leaves are dried up and made for tea and its flowers are fermented for vinegar because of its citrus scent and chamomile taste.
16. Chrysanthemum morifolium
It is called as the Florist’s Daisy and precisely because of its exquisite, bulky blooms that are just perfect for flower cuts.
Its yellow flowers are like pom-poms blooming in cold temperatures when the season has less than 14hrs of sun. It can grow up to 3ft and its leaves are 5 inches long. They are also popular as indoor plants because of their known air filtering properties.
Gloriosa Daisies (black-eyed Susans, Rudbeckia hirta)
Also known as rudbeckia, yellow or orange daisy, this one is a short-lived perennial native to eastern and central north America. While it is listed here, it is not a true daisy. It is unique for its hairy stems and leaves.
They can stand at a height of 2-3ft, enjoy full sun and well-draining soil. It will bloom beautiful golden yellow ray florets with brown-black center in the summer. Its most showy cultivars are the Sonora and the Cherokee Sunset.
Marguerite Daisies (Argyranthemum Daisies)
They are also called federation daisies. They are popular in cottage style gardens, filling small spaces with standout color selections (including rare blue color) from spring to early winter. They are popular among bees and will better thrive in cooler temperatures.
18. Argyranthemum frutescens (Marguerite daisy, Paris Daisy)
It is dubbed as the Marguerite daisy, native to the Canary Islands and specifically naturalized in Italy and the US. It is considered as a perennial shrub which enjoys full sun, warm temperatures and high humidity, and fertile, well-draining soil.
It must be kept in a location where strong winds and the winter frost cannot penetrate. It blooms yellow, white and pink ray florets from spring to summer.
19. Argyranthemum foeniculaceum (Canary Island marguerite, Lance-Leaf Marguerite Daisy)
It also goes by the name Royal Haze or Canary Island Marguerite. Its flowers bloom from late spring to summer. It has the typical daisy appearance with white ray florets and yellow center. It is low-growing, making a good ground cover.
Its foliage is also notable for its blue-green foliage and soft-feathery texture and overall appearance. And since it will stay green all year long, the foliage enough is a stunner.
Osteospermum Daisies (African daisies)
These are often called daisy bushes because well, they grow tall and bushier than most daisies. They are commonly confused for Dimorphotheca but unlike it, they are perennials. Unlike typical daisies too, they come in more vivid color selections with centers looking like metallic paint.
20. Osteospermum jucundum
It is one of the most popular Osteospermums and is also called as Delightful African daisy. It looks like the common daisy but with larger blooms, pink-purple flowers and yellow centers with a maroon ring.
Aside from its attractive gray-green foliage, it is also heavily scented. It loves full sun, slightly moist and well-draining soils. It is easy to propagate with stem cuttings in spring or fall. It is beneficial in weedy gardens as it suppresses weed growth. It is also grown as a container plant in regions where temperatures drop to -5 degrees Celsius.
21. Osteospermum ecklonis (Cape marguerite, Van Staden’s river daisy)
This one is a very attractive flower because of its rich color and is a major favorite of bees because of its profuse pollen production.
It has white ray florets with blue/lavender undersides. It enjoys full-sun, moist, well-draining soil and a less windy location.
It can grow to up to 4ft in height and its flowers could grow to as wide as 3ft. It can be grown as perennial in warmer, temperate climates and at the same time, it could be cultivated as annual in colder climates.
Coneflowers (Echinacea Daisies)
Unlike the typical daisy appearance, this genus features spiky centers with curled, downward rays, hence, the name Echinacea which means sea urchin or hedgehog. They are only found in central and northeastern America and are cultivated for their high medicinal properties.
22. Echinacea purpurea (purple coneflower)
It is native to the US and Canada and is also called the Eastern purple coneflower. It is popular for its purple cone-shaped flower heads.
It has gained notable awards through the years because of its huge color selection. It is also widely cultivated for its medicinal properties specifically in boosting the immune system.
23. Echinacea pallida (pale purple coneflower)
It is notable for its drooping petals that look like draped skirts. Its pink-purple color adds to its whimsical flair. It is good for pollinating gardens as it is a favorite of butterflies.
It could grow tall to up to 4ft tall, enjoys full sun and a location where heavy rainfall could not pluck its flowers. It is native to the central US, specifically in Mississippi, Michigan and New England.
Townsend daisies (Townsendia)
This genus was named after David Townsend’s discovery of them in 1833; a botanist in Pennsylvania known for taxonomizing a large number of plant varieties in the region. Botanically, it is the aster family kicking in the Bellis genus. This genus has 25 species which are all native to North America.
24. Townsendia florifer (Showy Townsend Daisy)
It is a biennial wildflower with all the common daisy appearance. It is low-growing, with white/pink ray florets and yellow center. As ground cover, it can spread to up to 1.5ft. It is found throughout the US and is particularly popular in Idaho and Montana.
25. Townsendia incana (Silvery Townsendia Daisy, Easter Daisy)
The term incana roughly translates to hoary and it was named after it due to the white hairs in its stems which adds to a silver-gray effect on the edges of its leaves.
This is because its stems are at the same level as its foliage. It is also called the Easter daisy or Silver Townsendia making a full wreath effect thanks to its profuse flowering.
What color daisies are there?
Contrary to what popular beliefs account, daisies do not only come with white ray florets and yellow centers. There are actually more color selections for the flowers than you could think about. However, it is dependent on the type of daisy we have. The more cultivars or hybrids a type has, the more diverse its color selection will be.
Nonetheless, it comes in white, cream, pale yellow, golden yellow, beige, orange, pink, fuchsia, magenta, scarlet, crimson red, lavender/lilac and deep purple. What adds to its color selection would be the different colors of centers and rings that daisies have. Some types of daisies also have other color tinges and ring colors that make them infinitely beautiful.
Are daisy and sunflowers the same?
Although both daisies and sunflowers are categorized in the family Asteraceae, we have to clarify that daisies and sunflowers have many distinguishable characteristics.
For starters, daisies belong to the genus Bellis while sunflowers belong to the genus Helianthus.
In terms of ray florets, daisies have more ray patterns (single flower, double flower, curled, draped, lancing) while sunflowers have just more or less one ray floret pattern.
In terms of color selection, daisies surely have a wider selection. But unlike popular belief too, sunflowers do not exclusively come in a golden yellow color. As a matter of fact, it comes in orange, white, ruby red, and bronze color.
As for center discs, daisies also have greater color selection while sunflowers only have one which is brown-black in color. As for height, sunflowers grow taller than daisies since the latter is used more for ground cover while sunflowers are all erect and are used more for cut flowers.
With these, it is safe to say that daisies and sunflowers are not the same. But we get why this would be a question. I mean, have you seen the golden button daisies? They look like small versions of sunflowers. But then again, we have clarified, these two flowers are not the same.
Are daisies poisonous?
Unfortunately, daisies are toxic specially to pets and children. But you have to consider two things: there’s the Bellis genus from which all that we have covered so far identify and then there’s the poison daisy coming from the genus Anthemis.
The Bellis genus is particularly toxic to cats, dogs when ingested in high volume. It will also cause rashes to children when exposure to it is long and constant. This is because of its toxic components composed mainly of irritants such as lactones and pyrethrins, among others. These could cause hypersalivation, dermatitis, diarrhea and vomiting.
The poison daisy on the other hand, which by the way is also known as mayweed or stinking chamomile, are toxic to dogs, cats and horses. It contains toxic substances including anthemic and tannic acid, chamazulene and bisabolol. These components may contact dermatitis, allergic reactions, vomiting, diarrhea and tendencies for internal hemorrhage.
Is a daisy edible?
It is not easy to follow the previous question with this one but astoundingly, daisies are also edible. Fresh salads need color and aside from beets, carrots and other colorful veggies, adding edible flowers is also an old trend.
Edible daisies are limited to common daisies or the one you see in your lawn. Particularly, its flower buds and young leaves are added to salads and as garnish to sandwiches. In Eastern and European traditions, common daisies are added to soups, fermented for wine and sometimes pickled to be used as substitute for capers.
It is said that marguerite, oxeye and moon daisies are also used sparingly for fresh salads not only for their color but for their strong scent as well. They are also added to sandwiches and cooked to add color in omelets.
The types of daisies reveal to us that these flowers are cultivated widely not just because of the colors they bring to the garden, the indoors, in bouquets and vases. For one, it offers a lot of medicinal properties that are used in traditional/herbal medicine.
Second, it provides a wide range of choices depending on what you think will perfectly fit your garden. Given the profile we have provided here, you would get a lot of heads-up for what to choose. Symbolically speaking, it has quite a meaningful upside. So, what is not to love about daisies, right? It is the perfect flower for all the right reasons.