Native daisies are equally at home in cottage-style gardens as they are in native gardens. They can be more in harmony with the natural environment than other plants and of course, they’re also adorable! Here’s how to grow native daisies for summer colour…
Bracteantha (Bracteantha bracteata)
Also called everlasting daisies, bracteanthas are famous for their dry, crackly petals that do not wilt with water loss or as the flowers die. Because of this, they make excellent dried flowers. Bracteanthas range from low growing annuals less than 30cm tall to small, bushy shrubs about 1m tall. In their native habitat, their flowers range from creamy white, pale lemon to vibrant yellow, but selective breeding has resulted in crimson, orange, copper, purple and pure white strains. Although most varieties are annuals, these plants have been known to self-seed in the right conditions and being indigenous to most of Australia’s eastern seaboard, there’s a likelihood they’ll take up residence in your backyard! Bracteanthas tolerate light frosts and can flower all year. To prepare them for dried flower arrangements, cut them with long stems when they are half open and hang them upside-down in a dark, dry place until they have completely dried out.
Brachyscome daisy (Brachyscome multifida)
Tiny, daisy shaped flowers and feathery foliage are key traits of this deceptively hardy native perennial. Brachyscome has the ‘classic daisy’ look of its northern hemisphere counterparts and although delicate, it is no less floriferous than its exotic cousins. Flowering from late winter until early autumn and growing about 60m wide and 40cm high, this sprawling ground cover is great in rockeries and useful for smothering weeds and softening borders. Frequent pruning keeps its growth vigorous. Although most varieties are short-lived, they are easily propagated from cuttings. Brachyscome can be grown in most parts of Australia and can tolerate very shallow, sandy soils.
Caring for native daisies
Both brachyscome daisies and bracteanthas can be grown in much the same way as other daisies. Both require little attention once established. They don’t mind being given a complete fertiliser such as Searles Flourish Soluble Fertiliser (either the original or the native formula) or SeaMax® Fish & Kelp Organic Fertiliser applied at the recommended rate. To grow them in your garden, native daisies need a sunny position and preferably a well drained soil, rich in organic matter. For best results, dig in Searles Real Compost or 5IN1® Organic Plant Food to improve the structure of the soil before planting.