Plant of the Month: Blackfoot Daisy
Blackfoot Daisy is a showy, low growing perennial for hot, dry locations. The plant forms bushy mounds from 4” to 18” tall and 1’ to 2’ across. It is found growing from Central Texas west to Arizona and north to Kansas and Colorado in dry open areas with rocky or sandy soils.
It begins blooming in March, along with Bluebonnets, and continues through the heat and drought of summer until November. In mild winters the narrow leaves remain green. Individual flowers are about an inch in diameter, and consist of 8 – 10 white petals with a yellow center. However, it is the continuous mass of flowers that cover the plant, rather than the individual blooms, that make it so attractive.
In the garden Blackfoot Daisy should be given a sunny to partially shady location. It will thrive in a rock garden, spaced so that the ground can be seen between the plants, or massed in a flower garden with other drought tolerant plants. Its main requirement is good drainage. Rich soil will increase the amount of bloom and size of the plant, but it will also reduce its longevity.
Plants can be cut back halfway in late winter to keep them compact. Blackfoot Daisy is reportedly deer resistant; however deer will browse the flowers and young foliage, so it is best to give it protection where deer are a problem. It can generally be found in nurseries that feature native plants.
A very similar plant, Dwarf White Daisy (Zinnia acerosa), shares much of the same range as Blackfoot Daisy. It differs from the latter in that it only has 4 – 6 petals.
Text by John Siemssen. Photo by Bruce Leander, Wildflower Center