Growing the Desert Garden

Welcome to the Desert Garden, with garden coach Tyler Storey, where we talk about everything having to do with gardening and landscaping in the Desert Southwest. From composting to Cercidium and agaves to arugula — we'll cover everything you want to know to grow your own beautiful Desert Garden.

Thursday, May 1, 2008

Plant to Ponder: Blackfoot Daisy

Melampodium leucanthum © Tyler StoreyMelampodium leucanthum, called the Blackfoot Daisy, is the perfect perennial "daisy" flower for the low-water Desert Garden. This Southwest native is a fast grower, providing a steady mass of bright white flowers nearly year-round, and forming a low mound 6 to 12 inches high and eventually two feet wide. M. leucanthum thrives in high heat and low water, and takes full sun or lightly filtered shade. It does require well-drained soil and won't tolerate standing water.

Blackfoot Daisy can be a real Ugly Duckling in the nursery, but don't let its scraggly appearance fool you: once it gets going in your landscape it will form a small floral blanket in tough conditions. If it finds a place it likes, it will reseed at a moderate rate.

"Blackfoot" refers to tiny foot-shaped bracts on the ray flowers, which turn black as the flower ages, and which give the flower its nearly identical botanical and common names. Melampodium comes from the Greek melas, meaning "black," and pod, meaning "foot." Leucanthum is derived from the Greek leucos, meaning "white," and anthos, meaning "flower." Blackfooted white flower! Close enough — one of them just happens to be Greek

Use Blackfoot Daisy as a fine-textured ground cover flower, as a soft edging for agave and columnar cactus, and at the edges of native wildflower plantings, where it can keep the floral display going all Summer long. It has a very light, very sweet scent, which you may not notice unless you plant a lot of them or get down on all fours and really stick your face in it.


1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I have planted Blackfoot Daisy in my yard and I am very happy with it. I have been in my home four years and I an still experimenting to get the best time to self-propagate cuttings in order to get even more plants. I love the delicate white flowers!!!