The Garden Guy: Gloriosa daisies are summer stunners
The Garden Guy has the tendency each week to tell you about the latest and greatest plants for the landscape, but this year I have been reminded that there are some flowers that have stood the test of time and should always be included in the landscape. This is precisely where gloriosa daises fall in the list of plants.
I’m a little worried that young gardeners aren’t getting the ample opportunity to not only see these plants but to find them for sale at the local garden center as well. If you’re a young gardener you may not know that 24 years ago was a pivotal moment in gardening, with 1995 being the year that the Indian summer gloriosa daisy was selected as an All-America Selections Winner.
Indian summer is simply put the most incredible black-eyed Susan or gloriosa daisy to be developed. It actually blooms with monolithic 6-9-inch sized blooms and does so in the first year from seeds. It is the ultimate cottage garden flower and brings in pollinators. Its beauty always makes it the attention grabber in the landscape.
Then, 16 years ago in 2003, prairie sun was chosen as an All-America Selections Winner giving you the option of a gloriosa daisy with a yellow primrose halo on the margins and a green eye or cone. The flowers are just a tiny bit smaller, but I promise you won’t notice.
The next impetus for the gloriosa daisy to be America’s flower was in 2008 when Benary Seed debuted the Denver daisy for the 150th celebration of the city of Denver. Instantly everyone fell in love with this flower. It is just a little shorter but vibrant in color, with bold yellow accompanied by a bronze halo around the dark cone.
These rudbeckia hirta varieties are cold hardy in zones three to eight, but as an annual everyone can enjoy their sizzling color. Most gardeners treat them as annuals, short-lived perennials or reseeding annuals, giving you a variety of looks in subsequent generations.
They will top out at 2.5 to 3 feet with a 2-foot spread. This summer at The Garden Guy’s house I have combined prairie with blue boa agastache, vermillionairie cuphea and all of the rockin’ salvias. The look has been stunning, and the pollinators active.
Son James has used both in his commercial designs with uproar rose zinnia and Hawaiian ti plants for a little tropical beauty but also an assortment of pollinators. Then at the local mall or lifestyle center he used prairie sun in giant containers with mandevillas, rockin’ salvias, variegated plectranthus and pastel yellow lantanas. I assure you mall traffic has been mesmerized.
Tight, compact clay or soggy soil yields less than satisfactory results. So, if you find yourself in this situation, incorporate 3 to 4 inches of organic matter like compost, peat or humus before planting. Set your transplant in the soil at the same depth it is growing in the container. Finish the task by applying a layer of your favorite mulch.
With gloriosa daisies like prairie sun, Indian summer, Denver daisy or shorter selections like corona and cappuccino, the beauty of your garden will command attention from visitors all summer — and simultaneously you’ll be bringing in bees and butterflies followed by birds for the seeds. I would say that makes these flowers mandatory each and every year
Norman Winter, horticulturist, garden speaker and author of, “Tough-as-Nails Flowers for the South” and “Captivating Combinations: Color and Style in the Garden.” Follow him on Facebook @NormanWinterTheGardenGuy.