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The English daisy is a low-growing perennial that is found in Europe, the U.S. and northern Africa. It is also called the common daisy, lawn daisy and Bellis perrenis. The word “daisy” is believed to have evolved from the phrase "day's eye," because the flower closes at night and opens during the day. Many varieties of English daisy can be found growing wild in the grass, hence the name lawn daisy. Their low height — they typically grow no taller than 6 inches (about 15 cm) — means they are often undisturbed by mowing and are considered by some to be weeds.
The blooms can be single-flowered, semi-double or double-flowered. Petal colors can be white, pink, orange, fuchsia or red, with a yellow center. On closer inspection, the center is actually made up of individual tiny yellow flowers, which are often concealed in the double-flowered English daisy. Petals can be smooth or hairy, while the small, approximately 1- to 2-inch (2-to 5-cm) leaves are smooth, spoon-shaped and evergreen. The plant’s tendency to spread makes it ideal as a ground cover, although it can almost take over a garden if left untended.
The English daisy is a fairly easily grown, low-maintenance plant. It can be grown from seed in the early spring or from a cutting or divided plant put directly in the ground or in pots. When growing from seeds, the seeds should be pushed lightly to just below the soil line. If using a divided plant, it is best to divide the English daisy in the early spring or just after it blooms.
Average soil is fine for the English daisy, but it prefers a slightly acidic soil with compost added. The soil should be watered every few days or daily in hot weather, being sure the soil feels wet to a depth of about 2 inches (about 5 cm). The plants will grow in full sun but prefer partial shade in hotter climates. They are hardy enough to stand up to fairly cold climates.
Blooms should be pinched off after flowering so they do not turn to seed and sow volunteer plants in unwanted places. Removing the dead blooms also encourages the plant to grow more flowers. English daisies that are cared for this way may bloom from late spring through summer and into fall.
The English daisy is relatively pest-free, though it can develop fungal leaf spots. To reduce the likelihood of this type of damage, it is a good idea to water only the soil, not the leaves of the plant. Likewise, fertilizer is best applied only to the soil and not to the plant itself.