Two Daisies to Know and Grow

As new plants are introduced into the marketplace we often lose sight of some of yesterdays reliable performers. That is due in no small part to the declining number of retail and wholesale nurseries nationwide and the pressure on available display space in those that remain. Just like you, I enjoy experimenting with new varieties but I make sure to leave room for two of my favorite daisies that have proven drought tolerant, low maintenance, deer-resistant and largely rabbit-resistant. Both are commonly referred to as fleabane and are two species of Erigeron, one being native to the United States and the other to Mexico.

What's in a name?

The common name fleabane is derived from the belief that they drive away fleas when burned or dried and stored in sachets, although there is little evidence to support this. The genus Erigeron translates to "old man", referring to the fuzzy white seed heads.

Santa Barbara Daisy

The diminutive Santa Barbara daisy creates a froth of delicate rose-tinged blooms at the front of a border in my garden

Reminiscent of the daisies found in the lawns of our childhood, Santa Barbara daisy, (Erigeron karvinskianus) is native to Mexico despite its misleading common name. The variety you are most likely to find is Profusion.

Why I like it

  • Deer-resistant
  • Drought tolerant
  • Rabbit -resistant (although an initial spritz with a repellent in early spring may be needed)
  • Evergreen in mild climates, or returns from the crown after colder winters
  • Blooms all summer
  • No deadheading needed

How to use it

Santa Barbara daisy used as a groundcover beneath espaliered trees at Newby Hall, Yorkshire, UK

Growing just 6-8" tall, this petite daisy is perfect for a weed-smothering carpet beneath taller shrubs and trees. Since the roots are fairly shallow its presence isn't detrimental to neighboring plants.

Haddon Hall, Derbyshire UK, where Santa Barbara daisy has been allowed to self-seed with abandon

The gauzy froth of tiny daisies is the perfect counterpoint to hard surfaces such as stone steps and walls. It readily self-seeds in cracks and crevices to create a charming billowing haze of blooms. It is equally effective in between flagstones set within a patio or pathway where it will tolerate light foot traffic. 

Santa Barbara daisy mingling with hardy geraniums at the Lost Gardens of Heligan, Cornwall, UK

Consider allowing Santa Barbara daisy to mingle with gentle companions such as blue hardy geraniums. The photo above shows a backdrop of pale pink hydrangeas completing the vignette. Such an easy trio to copy.

Color echoes – perfect! Stellenbosch, South Africa

Use the colors of the daisy to inspire you. I spotted this haze of pink and white daisies alongside an old tiled walkway while we were visiting a garden in South Africa. The juxtaposition of hard and soft together with the color echoes between plants and hardscape had me down on my hands and knees for a closer look. One final idea I don't have a photograph for is to use it at the edge of container gardens in summer, perhaps instead of bacopa. Have you used it this way? I'd love you to share a photo with me!

How to grow it

USDA zones 5a-10a Full sun or partial sun Average soil Low water once established Grows 6-8" tall (but older plants may billow upwards to 12" with support) and spreads 2-3 feet wide Evergreen in mild climates Attracts bees and butterflies

Where to buy it

Try your independent garden centers first (they need our support). It may be stocked in the groundcover section or with sunny perennials. Remember that nurseries may not bring this in for a few more weeks, depending upon your climate. Or order online e.g. Plant Delights   or grow from seed.

Lynnhaven Carpet

A carpet of spring blooming Lynnhaven Carpet fleabane in my garden

My second pick is native to the United States, having first been found in Virginia. Robin's fleabane (Erigeron pulchellus var. pulchellus 'Lynnhaven Carpet') is less well known but equally garden worthy. I was given a single 4" pot as a sample almost ten years ago. It has since spread into a dense carpet of grey-green fleshy rosettes topped with pale lavender flowers every spring.

Why I like it

  • Drought tolerant
  • Deer-resistant
  • Rabbit resistant
  • Spreads slowly to create a dense carpet
  • Evergreen in mild climates, semi-evergreen after harsh winters
  • Easy to remove plants if they spread too far
  • Blooms for several weeks in May (in my garden).
  • Remaining foliage is a good groundcover

How to use it

In my zone 6b Duvall, WA garden this is thriving in full sun and moisture retentive soil but in hotter climates it may benefit from dappled shade during the afternoons. Beneath a deciduous tree seems ideal. Give it room to spread as I think it looks best en masse rather than repeating smaller clumps.

Lynnhaven carpet blooming in May beneath a Japanese maple in my garden

How to grow it

USDA zones 3-8 Full sun to partial shade Average soil Low water once established Grows 12-15" tall and spreads by runners. (Plant them 2 feet apart for a quick carpet effect) Evergreen (although mine got blackened by the recent ice storm, new foliage has already emerged and disguised the damage). Deadheading isn't necessary but I usually shear the flowering stalks when seedheads form to tidy them up.

Where to buy

Please ask at your local nursery for this as several wholesalers do grow it! Remember that retail nurseries may not stock it quite yet – it will depend largely on your local climate. Otherwise try online: Growing Wild Nursery, Putnam Hill Nursery, Keeping it Green Nursery (great photo of foliage), Digging Dog Nursery

Subscribe to Receive Blog Posts

Gardening inspiration delivered right to your inbox from Le Jardinet

Grow Your Own Super Bloom!

Feb 7 2023

There's an air of anticipation; conditions are looking favorable for parts of California and southwestern United States to be bedazzled with a super bloom this year. Have you ever experienced this? It's high on my wish list – several good photographer friends have taken stunning images of this phenomena which turns the hillsides to a…
Read More

New Annuals to Try from Seed

Jan 24 2023

I never really saw myself growing annuals from seed. My mum used to grow enough petunias and pansies for the entire neighborhood so call it aversion therapy! Yet nurseries only grow and sell a tiny fraction of the best annuals available; there are so many more great plants in so many different colors. I'm fortunate…
Read More

New Year: New Seeds

Jan 10 2023

The decorations are back in the barn for another year and the last of the mince pies will probably be eaten this weekend, officially ending the Holiday season in our home. So it was very exciting to receive another gift just a few days ago – a large package of seeds for me to grow!…
Read More

A Time to be Still

Dec 13 2022

I'm not very good at resting – ask my swim coach or my husband! Our recent snowfalls held us hostage at home for a few days since our hill was not safe to drive – which of course I took as a personal affront to my plans! Yet, there is beauty in the stillness and…
Read More

Holiday Favorites

Nov 29 2022

Need some inspiration for gift-giving this year? My selection is based on items that are either firm personal favorites or offer significant value well beyond the Holiday season. Garden Gnome Tree Ornament It has become a tradition that on Christmas Eve our family exchanges a small gift – specifically a tree ornament. My husband Andy…
Read More

Inspiration from RHS Wisley

Nov 15 2022

Earlier this year I had the opportunity to visit the historic home of the Royal Horticultural Society: RHS Garden Wisley.  Like its northern counterpart RHS Harlow Carr which I have visited several times, it is jam-packed with inspiration for home gardeners and designers alike. Since I was visiting in May, that helped me narrow my…
Read More

Outside Style: Book Review & Giveaway

Nov 1 2022

I'm not even waiting until this one is available for sale before I tell you about it – I'm that excited!  But let me start at the beginning… I met the author, Ryan McEnaney several years ago over a glass of wine – sauvignon blanc to be specific. We were at a conference for garden…
Read More

5 Design Lessons from The Best of the Best

Oct 4 2022

I've just returned from leading a  tour to Gardens of the Delaware and Brandywine Valleys. Such a fabulous group of fun-loving guests! Looking back over my many photographs I realized that in our excitement to visit outstanding gardens we can sometimes find it hard to see the 'take-home ideas', especially if our climate or plant…
Read More

Before & After: Evolution Of A Transformation

Sep 6 2022

Do you enjoy those instant makeover TV shows where a crew shows up and magically transforms an uninspiring garden into a magazine -worthy showcase in seven days? Well guess what – that is NOT the reality for most homeowners, and neither is it always the best solution. Not every garden renovation is quick but allowing…
Read More

Chelsea Flower Show 2022: Favorite Garden Overall

Aug 23 2022

Every detail spoke to me: the rich yet restrained color palette, the clear geometry bringing order, the use of the diagonal axis to expand perception of space, the layering of plants and of materials and the exquisite metal design used both for the pavilion and rill.  I stood trying to absorb it all for at…
Read More

Welcome to My Garden Adventures

SE6A7058

I'm a serious plant-aholic. In other words I'm usually covered in a layer or two of soil, I drive everywhere with a large tarp for impromptu plant purchases and I'm truly passionate about sharing the joys of gardening.

Container Gardening Course

Enter KCHAPMAN20 to get 20% off

Architecture, interior design, and more ∨

Use the help of top home decorators to select matching bedside tables and a new lamp shade for your own bedroom design.
Collect and share photos of bathroom tile, bathroom vanities, shower curtains and bathroom mirrors to create your perfect home decorating style.

TV Interview

Archives