Montauk Daisy

Want to add some autumn drama to your garden? Montauk daisy delivers. Learn how to grow this late bloomer.

Nipponanthemum nipponicum  (02) Habit

Nipponanthemum nipponicum (02) Habit

Nipponanthemum nipponicum

Nipponanthemum nipponicum

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Cultivate some late-season color by tucking Montauk daisy into your garden. This perennial daisy lends an air of mystery to any garden with its multiple identities. Also known as Nippon daisy, this bloomer boasts a botanical pedigree that’s tough to track. Botanists were a bit puzzled and changed its scientific name three times, from Chrysanthemum nipponicum to Leucanthemum nipponicum to Nipponanthemum nipponicum. It’s definitely a daisy with pedigree.

The naming confusion doesn’t stop there. Montauk daisy earns its charming moniker from the town by the same name on Long Island, where this daisy has happily naturalized along the sandy shores. Originally, the plant hails from coastal regions of Japan, which birth the name of Nippon daisy. Why are these names worth mentioning? Because these native and naturalized environs give a clue to what kind of growing conditions this daisy likes: well-drained soil.

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You’ll succeed with this late bloomer if you give it a spot with fast-draining soil. If your soil tends to be heavy and full of clay, consider growing Montauk daisy in raised beds. It will feel at home in a rock garden or a sloping site, both of which should deliver sharp drainage. Montauk or Nippon daisy tolerates salt spray and drought once established. Deer tend to leave it alone, as do rabbits, because it has a pungent odor. Many gardeners raise this bloomer to have fresh daisies for fall arrangements, but others find the musky odor a little overpowering indoors. Nonetheless, you’ll love the look of this daisy in your garden.

The trickiest part of growing Montauk daisy is pruning. Plants have a tendency to flop if left unpruned for the entire growing season. You’ll make the most of the fall flower show by pruning faithfully in spring through midsummer. For a strong fall bloom, prune plants to about 6 inches tall in early spring, with a second strong pruning in July. Some gardeners mow established plant colonies twice prior to July 4. Other gardeners combine regular pinching until July 4 with division every three years.

If you don’t pinch at all or prune just once, plants flower throughout summer. They also grow taller and bottom leaves yellow and drop prior to the main flower show in fall. If this is your garden strategy, skirt plants with another plant that helps hide the bare lower stems. Dusty miller can hold its own into fall, as can shorter ornamental grasses.

Montauk daisy blooms and leaves withstand frost, although foliage yellows after frost. A hard freeze takes out the plant. This daisy adores full sun and is reliably perennial in Zones 5 to 9. Plants usually form a mound that’s roughly 3 feet tall and wide. Nippon daisy doesn’t need heavy fertilizing. Just make sure soil drains well. This late-season daisy makes a great addition to a xeriscape garden or drought-tolerant landscape.

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