This page talks about growing daisy flowers.
The daisy, also known as Rudbeckia or Black-eyed Susan, is an annual, flowering member of the sunflower family and is native to eastern and central North America. It has spread to all of the United States and Canada, as well as parts of China. The plant has been used in traditional Native American herbal medicine to treat colds, the flu, infection, swelling and snakebites. Some parts of the plant do contain nutritional value, but some parts cannot be eaten. They grow to a height of 1 to 3 feet and bloom in red, orange and yellow from late summer to mid fall. Daisies are the perfect addition to any flower garden or bed, as well as borders, pots and cottage gardens.
Daisies can be directly sown or grown indoors and later transplanted outside. Due to their long growing cycle, transplanting is recommended.
To start plants indoors, begin 8 to 10 weeks before the last frost. Sow seeds in small pots and cover lightly. Do not bury seeds as light is required for germination. Place the pots in a tray and fill the tray 2/3 with water. The soil will draw the water up through the pots and moisten the seeds without displacing them. Alternatively, you can mist the soil to keep the seeds moist. Use a grow light and keep temperatures between 68 and 72 degrees. The seeds should germinate within 8 to 14 days.
You can transplant the seedlings outside when the threat of the frost has past and the soil has warmed. Be sure to harden off the plants by gradually leaving them outdoors for longer and longer periods of time. This will help them adjust to the abrupt climate changes between outdoors and indoors. Choose an area of your garden with full sun. Daisies prefer rich, moist, well-draining soil, so you may want to mix in some compost, but they can tolerate droughty soil and soil with low fertility. Space plants 12 to 18 inches apart. Plants should bloom within 120 days of planting.
To grow outdoors, choose an area of your garden with full sun and mix in some compost. Sow seeds 2 weeks before the last frost in groups of 3 to 4 seeds, spaced 2 to 18 inches apart. Once the plants have their first true leaves, thin to one strong plant per grouping.
Deadheading is encouraged to produce more blooms and a sturdier, more compact plant.
To harvest and use as fresh flowers, daises are ready to harvest when blooms are partially, but not completely open. To harvest and use as dried flowers, wait until the flowers have completely opened. You can either remove the stem and dry in a silica gel or you can hang the flowers upside down to dry.
Daisies loom gorgeous in bouquets and vases alone or as part of an arrangement. Daisies work well when paired with carnations. For an exquisite bouquet, blend flowers of different sizes, textures and colors.
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