Daisy Favorites of Summer

Ilona Erwin

Summer is the heyday of daisy flowers. There is such a wide array that not all the possibilities can be covered in a simple post. Favorites must be chosen.

The Daisy family of flowers is one of the largest. Asteraceae or Compositae is named for the feature of their flower heads, a composite of individual flowers. Every season has numerous examples of this iconic flower form, and I am going to highlight my garden favorites for the three primary bloom seasons: spring, midsummer and late summer.

Echinacea Purpura

Echinacea PurpuraFrom an almost unknown denizen of the herb garden to one of the most widely used flowers in both private and public plantings, Echinaceas, commonly known as “coneflowers”.

Coneflowers star has certainly risen, along with the interest of breeders. It now comes in differing heights, forms, and colors, but the original is a dusty pink with a metallic orange center. Its leaves are extremely coarse looking.

But though it is a somewhat ungainly plant, the large daisy flowers are showy and its constitution is quite tough.

If growing from seed, sow outdoors 1/2 inch deep when a light frost is still possible. Seeds will germinate in 10-20 days. Or you can propagate by root cuttings in the fall.

  • Zone: 3 to 9
  • Height: 2.00 to 4.00 feet
  • Spread: 1.00 to 3.00 feet
  • Bloom Time: Mid and late summer
  • Sun: Full to part sun
  • Water: Dry to medium

Drought tolerant once established.

Anthemis tinctoria, Dyers Camomile

Dyers Chaomomile
Now known by the name Cota tinctoria, it also has a number of common names including Boston Daisy and Golden Marguerite.

  • Zone: 3 to 7
  • Height: 2.00 to 3.00 feet
  • Spread: 2.00 to 3.00 feet
  • Bloom Time: June to September
  • Sun: Full sun
  • Water: Dry to medium

The late Beth Chatto chose a named variety,  Anthemis tinctoria ‘E.C. Buxton’, as one of her ten best garden plants; that should be enough to recommend it. There are other named Anthemis which will bring a profusion of bloom to your summer garden.

It is native to Europe and is a short lived perennial. It was awarded the Royal Horticultural Society’s Award of Garden Merit.

  • ‘Kelwayi’
  • ‘E.C. Buxton’
  • ‘Susanna Mitchell’
  • ‘Charme’

Anthemis tinctoria ‘Charme’ Dwarf Golden Marguerite Live Plant Quart “Bright yellow flowers in late spring and early summer growing in a mounded form. It can self-seed.

Shasta Daisies

Officially ‘Leucanthemum  superbum’, the Shasta daisies are the flower we picture when we hear the term “daisy”. White petals surround the central egg yolk yellow disc, and somehow it is the most cheerful vision of summer flowers in field, garden, or vase.

With many named varieties, this beloved summer flower has been bred to offer numerous forms. ‘Banana Cream’ comes in just the tint of yellow that you would imagine.

  • Zone: 5 to 8
  • Height: 2.00 to 3.00 feet
  • Spread: 2.00 to 3.00 feet
  • Bloom Time: Early Summer
  • Sun: Full sun
  • Water: Moist well-drained soil

Easy to grow, and easy to start from seed, they like an average soil. They may run out after a few years, but you can always divide for more plants.

Named Varieties of Shastas

  • Freak! Shasta Daisy is a re-bloomer with fluffy petals.
  • Banana Cream‘ is yellow.
  • ‘White Lucille’, old fashioned
  • ‘White Knight’ is a good cut flower and compact in growth.
  • ‘Becky’, a well known cultivar, is large and long blooming.


This group has lots of types and varieties, but the ones I like the best are Coreopsis verticillata. When I first started gardening they were tops for lists of excellent perennials, due to their ease of cultivation, toughness, and beauty.

Coreopsis verticillataThe default color is a rich golden yellow, but soft primrose yellow is also available. They live a long time with just a modicum of care. If you find yourself seduced by the new varieties in the gorgeous colors… my experience is that they are short lived. Only one season, for me, in Zone 5.

  • Zone: 3 to 9
  • Height: 1.50 feet
  • Spread: 2.00 feet
  • Bloom Time: Summer
  • Sun: Full sun
  • Water: Drought tolerant, but likes average moisture

This plant is featured in such gardens as Prairie, drought-tolerant, city (pollution tolerant), as well as golden, and other perennial garden themes. It’s foliage is a feature and contrasts well with coarser types.

Many plants of the Compositae familyAsteraceae or Compositae is a large, widespread family of flowering plants are easy to grow from seed, even if they are perennials. I have increased Echinacea plants this way.

Coreopsis Varieties I Like

  • ‘Moonbeam’
  • ‘Moonlight’
  • ‘Zagreb’
  • Coreopsis verticillata ‘Golden Showers’ – my favorite

Annual Daisies

Why plant annuals? They are easy and provide a full season of bloom and color. They provide forage for the insects we love, especially colorful butterflies.

Cosmos (C. bipinnatus), Swan River Daisies (Brachyscome iberidifolia), Osteospermum or African Daisy are just a few of the wonderful array of colors, heights, and looks that are part of the annual group of daisies. I call these all annuals because they are not hardy in a cold climate, so they are part of the flower pots that brighten up our containers every year.

These three are among my top choices for the following reasons:

Cosmos is Tall

cosmos bipinnata

Good addition to a pink garden

If you love Goldfinch birds, the seedheads of the cosmos attracts them in late summer, and when they bloom in July they are tall and graceful with large pink and white flowers and delicate ferny foliage. I like the simplest petals and colors, but they come in some unusual shapes and variations on the rose and pink colors in the C. bipinnatus, and Cosmos sulphureus are yellow orange.

I have grown many varieties of Cosmos, but ‘Purity’ is one of the best. Like its name the color is a shining white, with large, simply single blooms. They are a stand out in the summer garden which is lush with deep green foliage and many competing colors.

Swan River Daisies Are Tiny

I can’t resist miniatures, like the perfect proportions of this daisy in a fairy garden display. The blooms are such pretty colors of blue and pink, too. If you want something tiny with golden yellow blooms, the Dahlberg Daisy is a cute companion.

However, Brachyscome iberidifolia is a cool season annual and will melt out with the heat. Another good reason to plant the Dahlberg Daisy alongside.

Yes, I am partial to diminutive flowers, and if you have containers this makes a lovely filler. It would be a highlight in a windowbox.

Swan River Daisy

Brachyscome iberidifolia

Swan River Daisy Flower Seeds (Brachyscome iberidifolia) 200+Seeds

Osteospermum, African Daisy, is Just Right

I must have them, every year.

Yellow flowers this year, Petunias, Osteospermum, Salvia

I used to grow them from seed but now simply buy the plants. African Daisies have the most unusual colors. I like the ones with blue eyes, but it is the contrast between the disc and the petals that attracts me. I love the pale lemon yellow ones, and the lavenders.

  • ‘Lemon Symphony’
  • ‘Soprano Purple’
  • ‘Buttermilk’
  • ‘Astra White’
  • ‘Serenity Bronze’

They do need a modicum of care – don’t let them dry out, and blooms best when kept dead-headedTrimming off the spent blossoms.

Just A Few

I know these are a mere sampling of the many, many daisy flowers that could be planted for a summer’s bounty of blooms. The choices listed here will be at their best from summer’s official start through most of July. Perennials are likely to bloom well even in the heat, while annuals may need some coddling and cutting back.

Even among the short list of plants I chose to feature here, you could completely design a garden with their variations. With more Coreopsis, two main types of Cosmos, short, medium, and tall Shastas, as well as the varied forms and color to choose from.

Whatever you grow, the simple disc center surrounded by a corona of petals lends itself best to relaxed designs in cottage and meadow styles, or massed in borders.

There is something so light and summery about a vase of freshly picked Daisies, of any kind, and they are almost always easy to grow. Surely, you will want to plant some for their garden value and for cutting.

summer daisies

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Meet the Author

Ilona Erwin

I started working on this website beginning in 1998, when it was part of Ilona's Reflecting Pool. Since then I've branched out into a number of online endeavors and work at writing lots of content for my sites. "Ilona's Garden" remains my primary site and is dedicated to home gardener's success.