“Die Daisy, Die,” so says the Eco-Purist


English Daisy hybrid

Now how melodramatic is that title? But seriously, there are those with this precise sentiment. There are a lot of daisies in the world and that seems to be the main problem with those of such extreme view. It is almost similar to that of the poor maligned dandelion and for the same reasons, serious numbers of them where they are not native.


English Daisy photographed on a light table with 60mm macro lens.

“That’s an invasive! You can’t have that plant here.” “The wildflower may be pretty, but it’s going to ruin a habitat!” “It’s not native so get it out of here!” A little rhetoric and grandstanding is a dangerous thing, no? How about a few pretty photos? Don’t let them fool you, there are serious considerations.


Some plants are truly noxious weeds and you can find them listed on the USDA Federal Noxious Weed List. On the heels of my post noting the mentality to kill everything that moves in a garden, there is the same feeling on indiscriminately killing plants feeding those that move.


Other plants are considered State Prohibited Wildflower Seed Species. Oxeye Daisy Chrysanthemum leucanthemum is prohibited in the States of Colorado, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Missouri, Montana, Ohio, Washington, Wyoming, and West Virginia. I am beginning to wonder how shamelessly controlled nature is getting?


Bellis perennis L.

If your state prohibits Oxeye Daisy, and you love the summery look of daisies in your landscape, plant Shasta Daisy, Chrysanthemum maximum, which is not prohibited anywhere in the U.S. to my knowledge. It is a bit less hardy and invasive, yet it is still on the radar of many purists.

Even the English Daisy Bellis perennis L., in this post is considered a weed in some places, like Ontario and British Columbia. I have the pretty ones you see here in pots, so none should be escaping to Canada.


“With origins in Europe and introduction in the 1800s, it’s easy to see why people believe oxeye daisy is a native wildflower. Oxeye daisy is actually an out-of-control perennial, considered regionally noxious under the BC Weed Control Act. Invasive plants grow rapidly and spread quickly, causing damage to the environment, economy and our health. They are also the second greatest threat to biodiversity after habitat loss, according to the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN).” (source) BC considers this a noxious weed.


English Daisy

It is almost futile to try to ban all nonnative plants. It becomes more and more apparent when one sees how many plants actually are nonnative to an area, yet are adored by bees and insects. The attention should be placed on plants that are truly invasive, whether they’re immigrants or natives.

And yes, some native plants become invasive, but what should we do about them? Listen to the silliness of some, or let nature procure an answer itself? And how do you think that occurs?

Succession and sustainability, the great equalizer. Use nature as a guide. Succession will produce the next layer in the landscape, meaning the taller plants come in to shade out the smaller ones. That often can work anywhere you add plants of disproportionate size. Simple as Looking at Your Own Garden.



Natives, such as the goldenrod and cattails are much more invasive than many of the exotics being looked at in removal studies. Introduce goldenrod into your meadow and you will see how fast the meadow becomes all goldenrod. It’s a beautiful native wildflower, but unless controlled, it can become the only wildflower in the garden. I have it in my garden, Solidago, Golden Baby because insects love it, but I am cognizant of its ability to mass produce.

Would succession work here? Sure in time, but the understory trees and shrubs are what moves in.


Just take a look at these images if you don’t believe its power of procreation of goldenrod.


In the garden, out for some sun.

Plants that are invasive pest species grow very rapidly in the wild. Kudzu, Water hyacinth, Buckthorn, Giant hogweed, and Purple Loosestrife come to mind, and I am not even certain they all appear on the list above as even noxious. But what is a meadow without daisies?


Shasta Daisy

Shasta daisy is a good alternative to Oxeye daisy if you want to bring nature back to your garden with wildflowers. It is a much more behaved plant and not as winter tolerant as Oxeye.


Some wildflower mixes include Oxeye, so one should be careful in purchasing. Cheaper mixes will include them. Like the photography in this post, the colorful photos on the seed packages often entice people into purchasing seeds that are native elsewhere.


Shasta Daisy

Oxeye daisy plants aggressively reproduce by both seed and underground rhizomes. A single plant produces approximately 25,000 seeds. Honestly, I like seeing them in fields, but do know they spread rapidly.


Dandelion in Spring

They are so common, they have become “native” in many regions just like the dandelion and Queen Anne’s Lace. They also are a food source for bees and insects. So what does one do? Be my guest and cull them, but realize it is almost futile.


Oxeye Daisy

About Garden Walk Garden Talk

I love to photograph, paint, draw, design, garden, travel the world, and pass on a few tips and ideas that I learned through experience as a Master Gardener and architect. I am highly trained in my field and enjoy my work each and every day. I garden in Niagara Falls, NY in zone 6-B. Find me at: http://gardenwalkgardentalk.com
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56 Responses to “Die Daisy, Die,” so says the Eco-Purist

  1. Roger Brook says:

    It’s fascinating to get a different perspective to in the UK! Here I get grief from conservationists for killing daisies in my lawn and the ox-eye daisy is much loved. I must admit your native solidago is also appreciated as garden plant and there is little concern about it as a none native species. Here we worry about Rhododendron ponticum and himalayan balsam – I have some of this in my Bolton Percy cemetery garden.

    • My neighbors are out killing the violets in their lawns now. It is a bit early for the daisies, but they kill them as well. Actually, their lawn services kill everything. Here we have many plants that are invasive. Horsetail and Purple Loosestrife are especially bad in our country areas. Buckthorn has invaded the state park.

  2. HolleyGarden says:

    You make a good point here, that our focus should not be so much on “native” or “non-native” as “invasive”. It is wise to check out our own state’s invasive list, and try not to plant any of these plants in the garden. It was shocking to me that even though a plant is on the invasive list, local nursery centers can still sell them. You would think they would at least come with a warning!

    • Very important to check out the state lists. I am not aware that nursery centers sell plants on the invasive list. I never saw any and thought is was against state mandates. I should check that out!

  3. That’s a nice, realistic approach to these types of plants.

  4. Very beautiful photos. Shasta daisy is a favorite of mine, though I don’t have any right now.

  5. mazza18467 says:

    A very common plant here. goldenrod as well. My experience in the wild though is that if a plant lives on a certain field for a while, like a year or five, the soil become shortened of nutricians, and the plant-life will change, a field full of poppies can change in a field full of thistles. Plant-life changes as the soil changes. But still it is good to realise that some plant overgrow the natural plants en that is not the idea. unfortunately it is not just plants. Here a fish called minnow put in nature because people didn’t want them in their pond anymore is a big pest since it has no enemies here but only eats larvae from tree-frogs and other amphibians. destroying whole ecosystems. We even have turtles, and another big one is the Egyptian goose. With six nests in a year and a offspring of 15 each nest and it’s aggressive attitude ( used to fight Croqs). Destroying everything that comes in the neighborhood.

    • Some plants thrive on soils low in nutrients while others don’t. That is how succession works on barren land and soils. As plants decompose and make the soils more nutrient rich, other plants can move in. Too bad about the fish and birds that disrupted the ecosystems where you live.

  6. alesiablogs says:

    I came home from holidays in Hawaii to a bunch of daisys. What’s a girl to do? : )
    As always a great post.

  7. Fergiemoto says:

    Very informative post and lovely images! Thank you.
    I like daisies, and have groups of shasta daisy growing in the yard. They do spread quickly, though. We have kept other types of daisies in planters. Since we live in the mountains, we are surrounded by deer, and look for deer resistant plants to put in the open yard. They don’t seem to like the shasta daisies.

    • I find the Shasta is prolific here too, but a nasty wet winter can do them in. They were developed in Northern CA on Mount Shasta, so they do like those conditions. I find deer don’t like them here, but they are at ground in winter when the deer are hungry.

  8. I am a lover of Gerbers:) Loving your captures – thanks for brightening my day!

  9. Emily Heath says:

    Interesting… what you call an ‘English daisy’ I haven’t seen growing in England, but we have the oxeye daisies growing everywhere.

    • What I showed was the commercial hybrids of the traditional English Daisy. They developed them to be more showy as a multi-petal pom pom. The ones you have as English Daisy look like what grows in our fields and are considered invasive.

      • Emily Heath says:

        Funnily enough I noticed those pom-pom daisies in my local park today – I wouldn’t have realised they were a type of daisy before reading your post!

  10. Christy says:

    I love Daisys and have several types of Shasta Daisies in my garden and I also grow Pyrethrum Daisies. I do have Goldenrod and, like you said, it’s very invasive. I continually pull it from areas whereI don’t want it. I keep it because, just like you, I know the insects love it!

    • I like them too and they say SUMMER. I have a love/hate relationship with goldenrod because it overtakes meadows. It is in many commercial seed mixes too. I have to contain my Shasta ‘Becky’ because it gets pushy in the garden. I don’t even plant Alaska anymore because it gets greedy.

  11. Karen says:

    Thanks for the nice comment on my photos, your shots of these daisies, are stunning and I am not a big daisy fan. You have given us something to think about again and reminded us to be more careful about what we plant in the garden.

    • I can see not liking daisies. I have client that do not prefer them too. They like more showy and colorful plants. I like that they are white. I use them in my garden for the break in color.

  12. Marguerite says:

    I used to live in BC and planted Shasta daisies as I love them so. But I understand why they want to ban oxeye as it takes over so rapidly in the climate there, covering ditches and crowding out other plants quickly. Now on the east coast I have an old field that is slowly being overtaken by goldenrod. So beautiful but I do wonder how the native asters will survive the yellow invasion.

    • Canada is much more environmentally conscious than here in the States. I notice it because I live so close and walk over often. Their ban on spraying is very admirable. I always see the daisy on our side, but will have to look next time I am over there to see if Ontario is controlling it. A ban is one thing, but control another. I do believe the goldenrod will push out the asters. In my own garden, many plants muscle out the asters.

  13. These are stunning floral images. And I love your discussion about invasive species. Traveling down the road one can really see the impact they can have on the native species.

    • I am one that likes photographing plants and insects no matter the species, and I find some of the plants that are considered invasive are not so everywhere. It is funny how we spend money protecting some and eliminating others. With the Buckthorn here, it will never be gone, no matter how much volunteerism goes into the campaign. If daisies ever hit the removal list, I suspect that will follow the same path. I really am going to be on the lookout in Canada to see if daisies are gone!

  14. Any plant that is well behaved is welcome in my garden. The few I have that are escapists spread by runners and are easy to control. Considering how many plants that we consider native aren’t truly ‘native’ at all, we have to be careful about what we kick out. After all, honey bees aren’t native either.

    • I agree. Many plants are not native, but have lived here so amicably that it is a sin when some make those removal lists. I get humored when many diehards start ranting on nonnative plants and forget that the honeybee is one such critter. We have hundreds of native bees too and they are the ones that homeowners are are always calling in the exterminator on. Wasps and hornets are very beneficial in many ways in a garden and they are commonly eliminated too.

  15. A.M.B. says:

    Oh my, I had no idea daisies were so controversial! I love them (and dandelions).

    • Some places they apparently are! I was surprised the stance from BC. It seemed a bit over the top with, “causing damage to the environment, economy and our health.” I know the meant all nonnative plants, but to look at the daisy in this manner seems extreme.

  16. nicole says:

    Donna…this is such an important post! You mentioned in one of your prior posts about we as gardeners changing our landscape with our passion so it is only fitting that we do it responsibly and educate ourselves along the way. Thank you for all of the great information and links about invasive species.

    • Thank you Nicole. I find people are hard to encourage to change their minds though. I work with so many that will never give up pesticides/herbicides and that is really something that matters.

  17. Andrea says:

    I guess they are not as lovely in real life as in your photos. That red and that white are really marvelous, that whatever you say about them, i will treasure them if i have some.

    • They are as lovely. It is just in some places they are very unwelcome. The pom pom daisies are hybrids and are less a problem I think. They are sold in nurseries and are cold hardy. I have Bellis perennis Polar White and ’Habernera White with Red Tips’ in the post.

  18. Killing flower fields?!!!! I didn’t know about this at all.
    I do understand, however I would never go to such lengths! Mind you, I keep any “stray” weed that decides to grow in my balcony. Once I had to destroy one because its roots were eating up my plant, but the guilt still stays!
    Wonderful – amazing shots, Donna. What an eye!

    • I don’t worry myself. I always wonder what is native anyway. I always picture the daisies, Queen Anne’s Lace and dandelion in with plants that are truly native. I just look at them as something I have always known in fields and meadows.

  19. catmint says:

    I suppose how careful you have to be depends on where your garden is. if it is next to a national park or a wild space, you would have to extra careful not to plant any invasive species. Plants like those daisies that spread by seed and rhizome are quite alarming, no matter how pretty they are.

    • I live one half block from the gorge and there are two roads and the Niagara River between my house and Canada, so my daisies are not going to end up in Canada. I deadhead them too. I was being a bit factious in the post, but I still cannot believe I won’t find daisies across the bridge. What I like about them (the English hybrid) is their early bloom time. They last a while too.

  20. Super report and photos. Solidago was highly invasive here (central Virginia) and I spent years ripping it out long after initial three plants were removed. Same with Baptisia. Both came highly recommended by a garden designer in Chicago–go figure. OUT damned plant! I am careful to watch plants that are aggressive (garden thugs) and dispense with them. I hand dig dandelions out of the turf, as I do not use herbicides, so the back yard birds may feast in clean grass.
    Happy weekend.

    • Is goldenrod not one of those plants you just shake your head at? I have specified meadows and the goldenrod is sometimes in those seed mixes because it spreads fast. I try to avoid those mixes and often specify preferable plants in custom mixes. Kudos on hand digging. I do too.

  21. Helene says:

    What you call English Daisy (on your photos) we call Bellis here in Britain, and no one would ever call it invasive here, none of the plants from the daisy family, including oxeye daisies, is considered invasive here, they sell them at nurseries and garden centres up and down the country.

    Loved your photos, as usual they are exquisite and beautiful. Have a lovely week-end, take care, Helene.

  22. It is always a delicate balance. I love daisies too and plant some..many plants can turn invasive or aggressive so it is important to know this before you plant. Those invasives on lists should be avoided.

    • I have Tradescantia here and had to remove it from the front garden. I know it is a native plant that you love, but it became a thug here with the underground multiplying. The whole garden would have been that one plant. It was far more aggressive than the goldenrod. The other I pulled last year was Carex “Ice Dance’. I always knew it a thug, and had it contained. But it just was beyond belief how pushy it was – it even made its way to the sidewalk cracks. Now that is a plant that can live anywhere. I just moved some Tradescantia ‘Red Cloud’ I saved from last year to the back garden and see if it fights for life under the pear!

  23. Brian Comeau says:

    Really really interesting post. I`ve embraced the dandelion personally. Native no, but here to stay so I give up digging them up. As you know me well, weedkiller will never be used in my yard. So I`ve decided a field of yellow is photogenic.
    My only dealing with the dangerous plants is when my daughter was 2 and we suspected she ate some deadly nightshade in a neighbours yard… All turned out OK…. In the end she said that she enjoyed the charcoal chocolate milk at the hospital… “Yalkymilk“ as she called it 🙂

    • What a scare you must have had! I am so glad she was fine and enjoyed her medicine. Dangerous plants really are quite a group. They have many that are quite beautiful. Pets eat them and get sick often.

  24. Wow you’ve got some fabulous daisy photo’s here. I loveEnglish Dasies. I planted some last year but mine all died. I may have over watered them. What is odd is that my mom’s survived and in fact multiplied. We also have African Daisies and other types as well. Y

  25. I like the daisy too….love the little punch of white in the meadow. We certainly have lots of golden rod in our area, hoping that my septic field meadow will be less blackberry brambles this year (we cut a lot of it) Your photos of the pink tinged English daisy is beautiful.

  26. Sorry I’m so behind. I’ve had a really nasty virus for more than a week. So the plant I think is a wild daisy is really a variety of chrysanthemum?

    • Sorry to hear you have been sick! A virus too! There is Leucanthemum vulgare, the plant that started the Shasta. The old name was Chrysanthemum maximum for the Shasta.
      Kingdom Plantae – Plants
      Subkingdom Tracheobionta – Vascular plants
      Superdivision Spermatophyta – Seed plants
      Division Magnoliophyta – Flowering plants
      Class Magnoliopsida – Dicotyledons
      Subclass Asteridae
      Order Asterales
      Family Asteraceae – Aster family
      Genus Leucanthemum Mill. – daisy
      Species Leucanthemum maximum (Ramond) DC. – max chrysanthemum

  27. curbstonevalley says:

    I’m not a purist, not by any stretch, but I’ve trundled down my own warpath against some invasive species here on the farm. Truly invasive species, like our French Broom. Some plants (including broom) can obliterate habitats for sensitive insect or mammalian species, or cause economic harm in some environments, like agricultural lands. Some truly invasive species actually can alter soil chemistry, and limit what can grow long after the offending plant has been removed.

    ‘Non-natives’ don’t generally bother me providing they’re relatively well behaved, and don’t have a tendency to ‘naturalize’ in the wild. I do agree that species diversity is important though, I’m just careful about what I choose to plant. After all, the earth is not, nor has it ever been, static (palm trees did used to grow in Antarctica).

    I do closely investigate any new plant that we bring in here, as much of our land is wildland habitat, and with two creeks, seeds can be dispersed far and wide beyond our property line. Even though I check state lists, just because a plant isn’t on a list, doesn’t mean it’s not necessarily invasive, so I do try to be aware of a species behavior in my area.

    I’ve seen a number of classified invasive species sold in plant nurseries, and have even on occasion discussed them with nursery managers. Many invasive plants, at least here in California, are perfectly legal for sale. Just being invasive isn’t enough to get you banned for sale. Some nurseries care, some don’t. To make a state ‘list’, a plant has to have been extensively studied, and then determined whether or not it’s a problem, and after extensive red-tape, and reports, it may finally be ‘listed’, or not. To make the state’s banned list, like the butterfly bush did Oregon, it has to be proven to be a significant economic burden, or vector a specific pathogen, for the state to bother to control its sale.

    I’m all for diversity, and sustainability, but I’m also for personal responsibility, and believe that as gardeners it’s important to consider that we can have an impact on the environment beyond our garden gate.

    I must admit I do miss daisies. As a child in England I used to spend hours making ‘daisy-chains’ out of them. However, I do have dandelions, lots of them, and the bees absolutely love them (and I hate weeding) so I leave them be!

    • Thank you for your very thought out comment. Talking about invasive plants varies so much across the country. Plants are invasive in one state but not another. I left a comment to Carolyn on my post, A River Walk for the Birds. http://gardenwalkgardentalk.com/2013/04/29/a-river-walk-for-the-birds/ and left the link for Executive Order 13112, the Federal Order on what is native, invasive, etc. I find this order a bit too restricting. In some ways it appears too inclusive, other ways to look at it seems too open ended. It depends on how one interprets, “whose introduction causes or is likely to cause economic or environmental harm or harm to human health.” That is a pretty broad statement. The definitions also seem a bit strict.

      I do not run into the problem of nurseries selling invasive (by NY standards) plants. This is mainly because I only deal with wholesale companies, many of which supply for NYS jobs. I imagine the big box stores sell plants they should not be selling.

      Honestly, if it were up to me, I would let nature have her way. I could easily live in a place with natural meadows, not those man made, and I design them. All these meadows people make are not real meadows in the sense that they end up reverting if people don’t keep on top of them. And I think what they revert to is beautiful. Yes, there are lots of what most consider weeds, but the insects love those “weeds”.

      I agree with you on personal responsibility. The only problem is most don’t take that view. It is difficult to live next to those that really don’t care as we do.

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