Chrysanthemum Frutescens

The chrysanthemum frutescens is also known as the Paris daisy or Marguerite daisy. It is the subject of much confusion as it was removed from the chrysanthemum genus and reclassified as Argyranthemum frutescens. This moves the flowering plant from the chrysanthemum family to the aster family. Many people, however, think that these are two different plants. While the plant has the traditional daisy look with white flowers that have yellow centers, it can now also be found with pink, yellow, orange and purple flowers as well.

The plants are around three feet high and have solidly green leaves with a delicate or fine texture. They are often treated as a bush although they do not grow very high. Chrysanthemum frutescens is a perennial but it only comes up for two or three years before needing to be replaced by another plant. Don’t count on it coming up every year for the next decade. The plant needs warm weather and is recommended for USDA hardiness zones 9a to 11. In the United States, it is grown throughout the south and in such states as California and Hawaii.

Some gardeners report a good experience with it in colder zones where it goes down from zero to -10 F, but obviously that much cold weather is risky. In a cold climate chrysanthemum frutescens does not keep green leaves throughout the winter. It is also going to require a good amount of mulch it keep the cold weather from killing the plant.

As a flowering shrub, the Paris daisy is a good plant to border gardens or lawns. It can reach as much as three feet across. Though they can be propagated in several ways, the most common is by cuttings. It is convenient that the plant produces suckers, because these can be removed, up to three inches in size, and planted to produce new plants. Once the cuttings have rooted in water, you can place them in their first pots (2-½-inch). If you have a friend who grows the plant, you should be able to easily grow your own from the cuttings.

The chrysanthemum frutescens can be planted outside when it is around three inches high. It will appreciate soil that has been prepared by mixing with a good amount of dried manure and other organic materials. You can also mix the soil with peat. This should ensure the production of many flowers. You can continue to fertilize in this way throughout the summer or you can use some time-released fertilizer that you will only need to replace every three to four months.

The plant likes soil that is well-drained. That means keeping it away from overly wet spots. As far as watering goes, the advice most given for this plant is don’t over-water. The soil should dry out and even be dry for a few days before adding water. Watering once every week or two weeks is enough. Some gardeners treat this plant preventatively with an insecticide and the buds with a fungicide to prevent disease. Any such treatment should be done cautiously.

 The chrysanthemum frutescens is considered to be a perennial herb and it is native to the Canary Islands. That’s why it flowers abundantly where it has warm temperatures year-round. It will produce blooms for three seasons and take a resting period.  The plant is widely available at nurseries and gardening stores in the spring. While it can grow from seed, this technique is more involved and used primarily by gardeners who produce large quantities in greenhouses. Cuttings are the easiest way for most people to propagate this plant.