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Damianita Daisy: The Sweetest Mini Sunflower

By Alicia Smith
Share to PinterestDamianita Daisy: The Sweetest Mini Sunflower
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Sunflowers are all the rage, but few people have the space to grow these towering plants. Luckily, you can get that same sunny glow from the petite damianita daisy. Officially Chrysactinia mexicana, this perennial flowering shrub is in the same family as sunflowers from New Mexico and Texas.

The plant has very particular needs, but when cared for correctly, it shines. With its bright golden flowers, the damianita daisy is the perfect pick for the garden that needs a glow-up.

01

Bringing your damianita daisy home

If you want to add a quick boost of color to your garden, purchase already started Damianita daisy shrubs at a local nursery. They can be grown from seed, but the seeds do not store well and should be harvested fresh and kept moist until planting directly in the soil in early spring.

Damianita daisy is slow-growing, so if you do decide to plant seeds, you'll need to have a little patience as it will take two to three years for it to fully mature.

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02

Planting your damianita daisy

Share to PinterestA female old hand on soil, planting garden

It may seem counterintuitive, but damianita daisy actually prefers poor-quality soil for planting. The soil should be well-drained, but too many nutrients will cause it to flower less frequently. Dig a hole twice the width of the pot the plant came in. When placed in the ground, the rootball should be even with the top of the hole.

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03

A healthy start: Sunlight requirements for damianita daisies

Share to PinterestDrought Tolerant Yellow Damianita Wildflowers Used in Landscaping

When it comes to damianita daisies, the mantra is sun, sun, sun. These shrubs do not tolerate low light and do best planted in open areas of full sun. Planting damianita daisies in the shade will shorten their bloom time and lead to lackluster flowers. Don't plant them near houses or trees if you want them to reach their full potential.

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04

A healthy start: watering

Share to Pinterestwatering garden with a watering can

Despite craving a full-sun environment, this plant is not the water guzzler you'd expect. As a Texas native, damianita daisy is highly adaptable to low water climates and is incredibly drought resistant. Overwatering is a threat to this tough little plant, as soggy and wet soil can damage the roots. When you're doing your rounds with the watering can, skip the damianita daisy most days.

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05

A healthy start: special nutrients

Share to PinterestCloseup of Damianita daisy Wildflowers

Most plants like a bit of fertilizer every once in a while, but the damianita daisy prefers to tough it out alone. Adding extra fertilizer can cause the plant to throw off too many shoots, diminishing the number of blooms and weakening the plant. Avoid planting in rich soil and keep the compost far away.

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06

USDA zone information

If you live above the Mason-Dixon line, you're probably going to have trouble growing damianita daisy. This plant likes it hot and dry and will only tolerate low levels of snow or ice. These daisies grow best in zones eight through ten, making it one of the few flowering plants that can handle desert living.

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07

Healthy growth: pruning your damianita daisy

Damianita daisy does not require regular pruning but it can be cut back if it gets too woody or large for the space. Regular maintenance will keep your plant compact and low-growing. Once established, it can be pruned back aggressively, recovering from cutting all the way to the ground, if desired. Prune in early spring for the best results.

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08

Preparing for winter

Share to Pinterestsnow-covered garden with raised beds and covered plants

No winter prep is necessary if this shrub is grown in the correct USDA hardiness area. If you are growing damianita daisy outside of zones eight through ten, then you'll need to take special care to move the plant inside when it starts to get chilly.

Damianita daisy can do well in a pot if you remove the shoots regularly and the soil is well-drained.

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09

Can I propogate my damianita daisy?

Propagating damianita daisy takes a bit of work, but it can be done, either by collecting seeds or taking cuttings in the summer. Seeds should be collected and planted as soon as possible. Do not allow seedlings to dry out or they may die.

Cuttings will need to be dipped in root hormone and then planted in well-drained pots. Store them in bright light, covered lightly with a muslin cloth, until they root.

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10

Common diseases

A significant benefit of adding damianita daisy to your garden is it's resistance to most common plant diseases. Unlike more high-maintenance plants, damianita daisy generally does not have mold or fungus problems. It can sometimes fall victim to root rot if kept in too moist of an environment, but that is easily avoided by planting in well-drained, dry soil.

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11

Common pests

Just like with diseases, the damianita daisy is resistant to most pests. Even deer are put off by its taste, although they may occasionally take a nibble if nothing else is around. If you want a plant that will grow unbothered by animal interference, damianita daisy is a good choice for your drought-resistant landscape.

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12

Showing off your damianita daisy

Damianita daisy is often used as an edging plant, as its compact size and ability to spread make it a good gap filler and backdrop for other plants. It gets along well with other desert plants, such as cactuses and aloes, if planted alongside. If you have a larger space to fill, consider a large swath of damianita daisies to make a striking feature in your garden.

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13

Similar plants

Share to PinterestMexican fleabane flowers in a garden

If you can't get your hands on the damianita daisy, Mexican fleabane is another flowering, drought-resistant plant that produces daisy-like flowers in pink or white. It has slightly more range than the damianita daisy, happily growing between USDA regions five and nine. Be careful not to plant Mexican fleabane in the same soil, though, as it likes a more nutritious mix.

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14

Cautions and additional information

Share to Pinterestdeer in a garden

Damianita daisy is not dangerous to humans or pets and actually has some surprisingly valuable characteristics. Native Americans purportedly used this plant as an aphrodisiac in traditional medicinal practices. These plants are also known for their strong scent, which is similar to the bright citrus of oranges. It is this characteristic that supposedly repels deer and other wildlife.

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15

Varieties of damianita daisies

Damianita daisy is a one of a kind plant. Individual plants may vary slightly in the size of the blooms and the number of petals, but there is only one true type. With its vibrant, shockingly vivid flowers tightly packed on a compact frame, there's no need for any other!

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