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Montauk or Nippon Daisies

Montauk or Nippon Daisies

This is how we want our Montauk daisies to look, right? Full, round and sturdy.

On Cape Cod we love our Montauk daisies. In the rest of the country this perennial is more commonly called Nippon daisy, from its botanical name: Nipponanthemum nipponicum. Since this plant thrives on the eastern tip of Long Island it has also come to be called Montauk daisy. No matter what you call it, we love the fresh, classic look of the daisy flowers and the fact that it is one of the very last perennials to come into bloom.

Unfortunately, however, many who grow this perennial get frustrated when the plant doesn’t stand up straight and full. Here are some tips for keeping your Montauk daisy as upright and round as the plant pictured above:

  • Be sure to grow this plant in full sun. You need at least six hours of direct sunlight including the noon hour. Plants grown in part shade will stretch toward the light.
  • Keep this perennial on a lean diet. Fertilizer will make the plant weaker and more prone to flopping. Ditto too much water. This is not the plant to grow along with roses or hydrangeas that like higher levels of fertility or water! Montauk daisies are perfect to grow with other drought tolerant plants such as native grasses, butterfly weed and asters.
  • Treat this perennial like a shrub. If you cut it to the ground every year the stems will be fresh and new but weak. If you trim the top growth only in the spring, leaving the canes to get stronger every year, the plant will be more sturdy. Remove any stems that are horizontal or on the ground, but leave those that are upright. Prune off about a third of the height every spring.
  • Don’t try to keep these plants small. A mature Montauk daisy grows about 3 feet tall and 4 feet wide. Put it in the right spot and both you and the plant will be happy!
  • If you want to make the growth thicker you can trim or shear the top 4 inches of growth off in May. Do not do this later than the end of May, however, or you’ll delay flowering for a couple of weeks in the fall. If you’ve fertilized and watered well, this shearing will make the top parts of the plants even heavier and more floppy, so take the first tips seriously – shearing alone won’t prevent this plant from flopping.
  • Nippon/Montauk daisies naturally shed the lower leaves on their stems. They turn yellow and then black toward the end of the summer. There is nothing wrong with the plant and there is nothing you can do to prevent this…it’s just what this perennial does. If you look closely at the photo above you’ll see that the leaves on this plant are still yellowing inside, even as the plant is in bloom. Fortunately the cheerful daisies distract us from the fading foliage.

 

27 Comments

  1. Steve on May 15, 2015 at 7:55 am

    I have two groups of montauk daisies that flowered the first year they were planted. Since then I have only had a few flowers, and last year none at all. They are in full sun in front of my house and grow as expected, except they stopped flowering. I would like help resolving this problem for these large, hardy plants.

    • CLFornari on May 15, 2015 at 10:46 am

      Steve,
      Be sure you’re not shearing them back later in the summer as this would remove the flower buds. Be sure they are indeed getting 7 to 9 hours of dead-on sun once the leaves are out on the trees. And be sure they aren’t getting a bunch of lawn fertilizer (high in nitrogen) from nearby turf.

  2. Mariah on July 6, 2015 at 2:28 pm

    any suggestions on why my daisies won’t bloom. two years with no blooms??

    • CLFornari on July 6, 2015 at 7:53 pm

      Mariah,
      Are they growing in full sun (6 to 8 hours?) Where do you live? If you live where a hard frost happens in September the plants are probably getting frosted before they bloom – these perennials flower in October.

  3. Cindy on July 11, 2015 at 7:48 pm

    I live in upstate NY and I just bought this plant and the nursery told me that it blooms in later August???

    • CLFornari on July 11, 2015 at 8:50 pm

      Cindy,
      We wonder if you will see the flowers on this – it blooms in late-September or October here on Cape Cod, so if you get a frost in your area before then it won’t flower for you. It never flowers in August I’m afraid.

  4. Margaret elder on August 20, 2016 at 3:01 pm

    It is August 20th and there are no buds on my Montauk daisies. I live in Nassau County, Long Island, NY

    • CLFornari on August 20, 2016 at 9:12 pm

      No worries yet, Margaret although it’s important that you water your plants deeply once a week in order to encourage flowering. Since these plants flower in late September it’s still on target for buds.

  5. Susie on October 5, 2016 at 10:51 pm

    Hi!

    I was just wondering if anyone knows how to care for potted montauk daisies in winter? Thanks.

    • CLFornari on October 6, 2016 at 7:15 am

      Are you on Cape Cod, Susie? If so, these do well in pots though the winter – pull it up against the house on the south or western side so that it’s as warm as possible. If the plant is in a pot that’s less than 12″ in diameter, however, you’ll probably want to put it in a larger container to better protect the roots. If you’re in an area that’s colder than the Cape you’ll want to pull the plant into an unheated shed or garage for the winter and water it about once a month if it’s dry.

  6. Susie on October 6, 2016 at 6:35 pm

    Thank you for the reply. I live in Long Island NY. Shud I bring the pots in an unheated garage or can I leave it outside? Thanks.

    • CLFornari on October 6, 2016 at 6:44 pm

      You should be OK leaving outside as I described although 14″ pots are right on the edge of being protective…If it’s a mild winter they should be fine. If a hard winter, maybe not.

  7. Susie on October 6, 2016 at 6:38 pm

    Hi again! They are in 14″ pots.

  8. Brendan Sullivan on October 10, 2016 at 7:23 pm

    Hi, I have four Montauk daisy’s (Foxboro, MA) and only one of the plants has buds (just a few buds). The plants are in full sun nearly whole day.

    I do not water, and this summer was dry! Could this be the cause of no flowers? Thoughts?

    Doubtful it is due to lawn fertilizer (I fertilize very little).

    Thoughts / comments appreciated.

    • CLFornari on October 11, 2016 at 2:15 pm

      Montauks normally flower late, but they should be in bloom by now. Were these cut back later than mid-May? There is someone who advises Montauk’s to be sheared or cut back around the Fourth of July and that person does everyone a disservice… The best thing to do is to trim off deadwood in May and then leave them alone.

  9. Lucy on June 25, 2017 at 6:08 pm

    I just love this plant, i have three of them in my garden. They are on corner’s. I love that they are great for cutting and i can bring them in the house. Also they do not flop over! I wish they did not have those yellow leaves on the bottom! Last year i thought i had a fungis problem, untill i read about them! 🙂

  10. Amy on July 13, 2018 at 11:54 am

    I have these Cape Cod, or Montauk daisies as you call them here, on the front corner of my lawn. I bought it as a small plant and now it has grown to two large shrubs that look they they are together. Many little baby plants spread around the rocks I have in front of them. I’ve done no fertilizing, just water them when it gets too hot. I never knew the bottom leaves that yellowed and fell off was a normal part of the plant’s life, I thought it was dying.
    I love when this shrub blooms in October, birthday present for me.
    I did have a problem with snow, and Hurricane Sandy, it ruined tbe base and the canes rotted. I had to cut many out, but now its back to normal.

    • CLFornari on July 13, 2018 at 1:03 pm

      Sounds like you’ve got happy plants, Amy! If you want them to grow other places and add to your birthday celebration, move those little ones in the spring to another sunny spot. Enjoy!

  11. P. Nordmark on July 21, 2018 at 3:30 pm

    My daisy is turning brown and the leaves are curling “closed”. Any thoughts on what could be the problem? Thanks.

    • CLFornari on July 21, 2018 at 4:13 pm

      If it’s the inner leaves that are browning, that’s something that Montauk daisies do. Every one of these plants has brown interiors by the end of the summer. If lots of the inner leaves are browning however, the plant might be drying up too much between watering. That might explain the curled leaves as well. Although this plant is pretty drought tolerant and doesn’t need constantly damp soil, be sure that when it’s getting watered that it’s soaked deeply – usually hand watering isn’t enough so if that’s how you’re watering it might not be soaking the plant deeply. Additionally: Open some of the curled leaves to see if there is an insect in any of them – sometimes there are small larvae that tie up leaves to protect themselves.

  12. Cindy on November 5, 2018 at 12:58 pm

    I have a large Montauk daisy that was blasted by a heavy wind storm. Many of the stems are lying over. What can I do so it will be upright again?

    • CLFornari on November 5, 2018 at 1:22 pm

      Cindy,
      You can put a stake in the ground and pull up the most sturdy, upright stems and cut off the ones that are most horizontal. You can also cut the plant in half at this point and support it…it will produce new growth next season. Don’t be tempted to fertilize – that makes this plant grow bigger, which will be heavier growth and more prone to flopping.

  13. Cindy on November 5, 2018 at 5:36 pm

    Thank you so much for the valuable information. This plant was the cornerstone of my garden and I will be patient while it recovers. I am just delighted that it can be saved.

  14. Tiffany on June 13, 2019 at 1:50 pm

    Hi, I am a florist at a grocery store, and we have these plants right now in June in full bloom, I would like to know what I can do to save these for my customers. The flowers are starting to turn brown (because they’re older flowers) and the bottom leaves are turning yellow. What can I do to ensure my customers are getting what they pay for? Thank you!

    • CLFornari on June 13, 2019 at 3:28 pm

      Tiffany,
      It would be odd for you to have these in flower right now as they normally flower in September or October. Perhaps you have some Shasta daisy plants in the store. In any case, it’s natural for perennials to have bottom leaves that turn yellow – they shed the old as they grow new. So just clean those leaves off to improve the appearance and make sure that the plants don’t dry up much between waterings as that will not only make the browning worse but will also fade the flowers more quickly. Once a perennial flower fades and browns you clip it off – in the garden world this is called deadheading. Unfortunately, Shasta daisies don’t look too great after they finish flowering. In the garden we cut them down to the ground and make sure other, attractive plants are growing around them to distract the eye. In the store you’ll just have to mark them on sale.

  15. Anne on September 28, 2019 at 2:12 am

    I have a long garden filled with Montauk daisies here in Hilton Head Island, S. C. They have multiplied but not bloomed since their first glorious time about 6 years ago. They are in full sun on one side of a hedge–never bloomed except that first year–yet on the other side of the hedge I have a few daisies with small flowers blooming. Is that because of the heat in South Carolina? I do not over water, but they get a deep drink once a week.

    • CLFornari on October 6, 2019 at 10:57 pm

      Anne – Maybe these plants are having a hard time competing with the roots of the hedge? If the hedge is privet, that would definitely be the case. You might have a complete soil test done by an extension service soil test lab in S.C. That might also give you some information. And unless the hedge runs east to west and these are on the south side, it’s hard to imagine that they are in sun from 9 AM to 6 PM, so check out whether they are indeed in full sun.

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