Blue Marguerite

Blue Marguerite aka Blue Daisy
aka Kingfisher Daisy aka Blue Felicia


"A little sun,
A little shower,
A little while,
And then — a flower!"

-Mabel Watts
(b. 1906)

   

This old-fashioned garden standard is a true-blue daisy with yellow center. It wants full sun, being native of warm South Africa. Very beautiful, it is capable of sprawling & mounding to considerable size, covered all over with blooms, the winding stems having woody structure. It blooms all summer long & is still in full bloom at October's end. The fluffy white seeds do not scatter rapidly & can decorate the limbs for some while.

In warmer areas it will bloom year-round, though in our zone it stops blooming in winter, & if it survives the winter begins to bloom again, if tepidly, in February, picking up steam as temperatures rise week by week, & finally has some real life to it again in June.

Blue MargueriteIt has the potential of being an evergreen subshrub in warmer areas than ours. It is usually just a tender or half-hardy perennial on Puget Sound. We planted some in 2001 & though it bloomed nicely through October, it did not come back the next year. It had been planted in a well-watered location which didn't optimize its winter survival. It needs little water & does not like damp feet.

So we planted it again in 2002 in a sunny dry location to see if this time it would last. Sure enough, after a brief period of dormancy at the height of winter, it sprang back to life at the first hint that spring was on the way, though it is late May by the time it begins to look decent again. The first photo is from June 2003. The second shows fluffy seeds in August.

The worst-case scenario for Blue Marguerite in such temperate areas as ours is it does exceptionally well the year it is planted, but functionally has to be regarded as an annual. If a spot can be found for it with the sharpest drainage, & with full measure of sunlight, it can last for years & years, but with cold winter damage & die-back, it never quite builds itself up to the status of a shrub. Our second try with it in a neglected area, it took hold & even built itself up some woody shrubbiness.

I like the blueness of the flower so much it was worth two tries to get a clump established. If a particularly cold winter ever does kill the second more successful planting, I may well replant a third time. But each year it survives, as the roots get bigger the plant should be happier. It has even shown signs that it might eventually get the groundcovering shrub-appearance I would prefer for it.

Usually under two feet tall, with considerable potential for spread, it needs a summer trim-back if a compact rather than sprawling appearance is wanted. I don't mind its semi-prostrate sprawling behavior so have let it go wild, pruning as little as possible.

   



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