What is a Butter Daisy?

R. Stamm

The Melampodium paludosm, or butter daisy, is a garden plant with cheerful, yellow flowers growing daintily among giant, green, heart-shaped leaves. These plants are easy to care for and grow with proper watering and plenty of sunlight. This plant is hearty and grows well in hot or humid areas. They are considered a beautiful addition to any yard or flower bed in areas where there is partial sun to full shade.

While resistant to most insects, the yellow butter daisy is sometimes infested with aphids.
While resistant to most insects, the yellow butter daisy is sometimes infested with aphids.

The butter daisy is an herbaceous annual that is native to Mexico, Latin America and Central America. The blossom is fragrant, bright and yellowish-gold with several spear-shaped petals and an orange-gold bulb in the center. The adult flower has a long tap root that serves as a good anchor for the plant and assists it times of drought. After the butter daisy starts to reach maturity, it has a prolific output of blossoms that will flourish throughout its growing season.

Butter daisy is resistant to deer.
Butter daisy is resistant to deer.

Butter daisies tend to be easy to grow and prefer soil that is neutral or slightly alkaline and somewhat limey, and they grow best in fertile, well-drained soil with regular watering. With plenty of sunlight and water, it will grow 12-18 inches (30-45 cm) high and can extend to 24 inches (about 60 cm) wide. Although it is classified as an annual, it has a tendency to self-sow, meaning that it will drop seeds when it rains or as the wind blows, and removing spent flowers will prevent it from growing voluntarily. To grow a butter daisy, one should sow it indoors using garden soil, and after the seeds germinate, it should be re-planted outside where the tap root can develop.

The butter daisy does well as a bedding plant or as a potted plant in a container. It adds a cheerful, colorful presence in the garden with its showy blossoms and looks good in mixed borders. Butter daisies make good filler plants and can be planted with other annuals that require similar growing conditions. They are relatively easy to grow and require little maintenance, making them attractive to gardeners and landscapers who are less skilled.

This flower is resistant to deer, most disease and insects, with the exception of white flies and aphids. White flies and aphids will attack the plant during drought conditions, sucking the sap from the flower, which causes it great distress. The gardener must remember to water the butter daisy on a regular basis to keep the insects away, and the plant will flourish. An attractive benefit of the plant is that it attracts bees, butterflies and birds.

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