The marguerite daisy (Argyranthemum frutescens) is a cheerful, flower-covered perennial that does its heavy blooming in the autumn or early spring. Attractive to butterflies, it is an easy plant to grow, but if you do not meet its needs for proper water and nutrients, it is liable to die, or show its distress through yellowing, unhealthy leaves.
The marguerite is a mounded, shrubby plant reaching only 30 to 60 cm (1 to 2 feet) tall and 60 cm (2 feet) wide. Foliage is a medium to dark green, with a fine-leaf, lacy appearance. It is an annual in most parts of the UK, though with protection in mild-winter areas, it can survive from year to year. It comes in a range of colours, including light through dark pink, purple, white, yellow or red. Blossom shapes range from traditional daisy to ruffled or multilayered flowers.
Colourful daisies will add a touch of the traditional English cottage garden to your home. Grow the marguerite in full sun, though in very hot areas, some afternoon shade will be appreciated. It is an excellent choice for containers, or the middle or front of borders and beds. It blooms best during cool weather, and, if they're kept happy, daisy flowers will cover the plant. As the weather warms, flowering will slow down. Too much intense heat may kill the plant, as will deep frost.
Keep the marguerite moist, in well-draining soil. However, over-watering is a common cause of plant disease. Too much water drowns the plant's roots, preventing them from receiving oxygen. Root distress in an over-watered plant may cause it to wilt, leading the inexperienced gardener to think the plant is dry, and water more. The plant will eventually respond with yellowing leaves, progressing to plant rot and death. Keep marguerites moist, but let the top of the soil dry slightly before watering again.
All plants require a proper balance of nutrients, and the marguerite is no exception. Yellowing leaves are a common symptom of nutrient deficiency, especially too little nitrogen or magnesium. Feed potted marguerites regularly with a liquid, fast-absorbed all-purpose fertiliser. For marguerites planted in the ground, use a granular fertiliser, scattering it under the plant according to the package directions. Proper feeding of your marguerite will reward you with healthy green leaves and masses of bright flowers.
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