Shastas that do not flop

AGirlInHerGardenSeptember 27, 2013

Hi all, this is my first post.

I recently moved from 1/4 acre to 3 acres. I live in zone 6. I want to put in a 'wildflower' area with drifts of different long blooming perennials (black eyed susan, coneflower, coreopsis etc). I love daisies and growing from seed.

At my old house I have tried many varieties (of which I can't remember the names) and they all flop.

Looks like everyone here is recommending "Becky" but I can't find any seeds for sale - I have a large area to cover.

Soooo, any other varieties that do not flop, hopefully that I can get seeds of? I will use Becky because everyone seems to love it but I can't afford to use too many.

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My 'Alaska' shastas grow tall and strong and don't flop, even when I've let them get too crowded. If the sun is directly overhead so that they don't lean, I think you'd be okay. Even with many torrential rains this season, I've been impressed with the strength of the stems.

I've grown all of my 'Alaska' from seeds and it takes about two seasons to get a good clump going and blooming.


    Bookmark   September 27, 2013 at 3:08PM
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My long-standing clump of "Alaska" always stays upright without needing staking.

It too needed at least a couple of years to really get going, but it's a very dependable perennial.

    Bookmark   September 27, 2013 at 9:52PM
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ken_adrian Adrian MI cold Z5

i dont understand choosing cultivars for a WILDFLOWER bed .. on acreage ...

anything i ever planted.. that flopped.. was my fault ... for loving them too much...

do not amend your soil... do not water after establishment... and never fert them ...

when you allow a plant.. to grow in its native form.. it will never outgrow its ability to hold itself upright .... its genetic...

its when we start 'juicing them' .. like some steroidal football player.. that we cause the problem ...

the biggest thing i learned.. going from suburbia to acreage.. was that you better get it in your head.. that the scale of your project has changed...

plant things that take care of themselves... or you will soon be overwhelmed..

and if they cant flourish without excessive care.. be done with them ...

kill everything on a half acre... have it tilled to 8 inches.. and buy a few pounds of a native wildflower mix... and live your dream ...

or plant a bed of cultivars ...

but completely define your goal .. it will help you focus on succeeding ....

i wish you luck


    Bookmark   September 27, 2013 at 10:34PM
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Thanks everyone, I'll look into getting some Alaska seeds.

And Ken. I put the term wildflower in quotes. I know its not a true wildflower area. My husbad does not like the look.

    Bookmark   September 28, 2013 at 5:55AM
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Alaska also has not flopped for me, and I planted it in a bed that used to have roses before I took them out, so it is experiencing the most "steroidal" soil I have here. Please do listen to Ken and his experience with acreage. I moved from 1/4 acre to just one acre, and it is a whole different animal. Don't make more beds than you can weed at the time, or your husband will really "not like the look".

    Bookmark   September 28, 2013 at 8:07AM
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AGirlInHerGarden - welcome to the forum!

Below is a link to Swallowtail Garden Seeds' Shasta daisy collection. They're a respected online seed source--I've not ordered Shasta daisy seeds from them but have enjoyed much success with other perennial seed types. They don't offer 'Becky' seeds for sale which suggests it doesn't set viable seeds (i.e., the plant is likely sterile).

You've received good advice from previous posters. I grow Shasta daisies that don't flop but since I harvested seeds from a neighbor's plant don't know the cultivar name. I did grow 'Crazy Daisy' from seed via winter sowing & they bloomed this year. I enjoyed their non-flopping, compact habit + ruffly blooms.

Something to keep in mind about perennials--the "rule of thumb" is, first year they sleep, second year they creep, third year they leap. It has certainly proved an accurate guide in my critter/pollinator-friendly perennial garden.

Here is a link that might be useful: Swallowtail Shasta daisy seeds

    Bookmark   September 28, 2013 at 9:29AM
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I've looked at Swallowtail before - it is nice to know they are safe to order from.

I figured Becky must be sterile, but one can always hope :) I will also try some of the 'Crazy Daisy' too.

@gardenweed - you forgot the last thing about perennials - the fourth year they are taking over your neighbors yard :)

I am not converting the whole area in one year. Next year I wanted to to a small 50X50 foot area to see how it works with the existing soil and the plant types I have picked. The area is no where near the house so I will not be watering it. I will be planting over a new sewer line that will go in around November so I didn't want to plant anything that coudn't be torn up in the future. The soil will be amended because they are going to have to backfill most of the area - I am supplying the soil for the backfill.

Most of my property (almost all of it) I am converting to full shade and allowing to grow wild. I love the woods and will gladly let it convert back to its natural state. I am ripping out all of the honeysuckle and replanting with more friendly shrubs like viberniums, serviceberry, choakcherry.

    Bookmark   September 28, 2013 at 10:04AM
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Alaskas have always flopped for me, and they never rebloomed worth squat either. I agree with Ken that it seems odd to want a cultivar in an area where you want wildflowers, but to each his own, so I give two enthusiastic thumbs up to BECKY. I've grown Beckys for years and they get to be almost 4-ft tall and never flop. They also spread very quickly. I was dividing mine after the first year.

Forget growing them from seeds. Buy a few plants and in a few years, you will have dozens of nice clumps. In fact, you can have as many of mine as you like, LOL!

    Bookmark   September 28, 2013 at 10:22AM
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I agree on wildflowers when possible for large areas. I have a very large deer resistant garden and am in the process of downsizing because it's gotten to be too much after eight years.

I've ordered from Swallowtail Gardens every year. Yes, they are dependable and safe and I'm pretty sure my shasta seeds came from them. I am currently cutting back for my fall clean up and had to cut off the tall, straight stems of Alaska. Here in my zone, the base foliage is evergreen.

For wildflower seeds, take a look at Gardens North.

    Bookmark   September 30, 2013 at 8:46AM
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@gardenweed - you forgot the last thing about perennials - the fourth year they are taking over your neighbor's yard :)

Mine don't. I'm on good terms with my neighbors--the guy next door mows my VERY LARGE lawn every summer--so I'm really careful about what I plant. My garden beds were designed on paper long before I stuck a spade in the dirt or set a plant in a hole. One day when I told my neighbor I wanted to plant a slope that is actually on HIS side of the property line He told me, "Mark where you want holes. I'll dig 'em." He did & I planted.

I garden for bees, butterflies & hummingbirds so I'm not overly concerned with curb appeal. I do concern myself with those perennials that provide nectar sources as well as color and interesting flower form.

My garden beds get only whatever rain/water Ma Nature doles out, be it a dry (2010) or wet (2013) season. I'm guessing most of the plants will either survive whatever growing conditions that occur or not. Those that do are appreciated. Those that didn't are soon forgotten. So far regrets (plants that didn't come back) are running behind those that did.

A word of caution--plants with taproots are much more likely to give over than others. Some shade garden plants resent being transplanted.

Best of luck to you!

    Bookmark   September 30, 2013 at 9:33PM
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