One of the many tasks facing gardeners up and down the country is the careful management of plants.
This can involve everything from careful cultivation and maintenance – such as pruning unwanted shoots and leaves – to ensuring that the plant is exposed to the right conditions.
The most common kind of daisy is characterised by white ray florets – which are often tipped by a hint of red – and yellow disc florets. These are properly referred to as bellis perennis and it belongs to the Asteraceae family.
In this respect, it shares its roots with the sunflower, although the bellis perennis daisy is generally considered to be the archetypal species of this name. It is native to western, central and northern Europe, but it has become widely naturalised in most parts of the US.
However, growing conditions vary from species to species. For instance, plant distributor Best Cool Seeds note that Livingstone daisies require full sun and need to be grown in sandy, well-drained soil, as the flowers only open on bright, sunny days.
They have flat leaves that can grow up to three inches long. They are typically brightly coloured and can come in pink, white, purple, lavender, crimson, or orange.
Luckily for those in hot climes, they are very tolerant of drought conditions, although they have a tendency to sunburn when it is too humid.
They have an early blooming season that lasts relatively long, so they are best served by being seeded indoors for anywhere between six and eight weeks before the garden itself is ready.
Individuals following this course of action would be well advised to place them in a container that is filled, features a good amount of drainage holes in potting soil that is sterilized and well-drained.
After sprinkling seeds over the surface of the soil, they are best off being lightly covered again with a smaller scattering of soil. The container then needs to be covered with black plastic, as the seed needs to be kept in darkness in order to fully germinate – for at least as long as it takes until seedlings begin to emerge.
Livingstone daisies transplant very easily, so they can be moved in to individual pots when they begin sprouting true leaves. It is best to only relocate them to the garden when all danger of frost has passed – and not forgetting to cultivate and enrich the soil with plant food.
Gerbera daisies are another popular option with gardeners. Indeed, they are the fifth most cut flower in the world – only coming in behind roses, carnations, chrysanthemums and tulips. They are named in honour of noted German botanist and naturalist Traugott Gerber, who travelled in Russia extensively and was friends with the better-remembered Carl Linnaeus.
The flower heads of the Gerbera can be as small as seven cm, but can grow up to 12 cm in diameter. Advisory website Gardening Know How underlines the importance of growing the plant carefully so as to avoid the risk of disease.
"Make sure you plant them with adequate spacing and in high light areas," the firm recommend, adding: "Watering plants in the morning, so leaves can dry out during the day, will lessen the risk of rotting and fungal diseases. Gerbera daisy care can also be enhanced by using a micro-nutrient liquid fertilizer, such as a seaweed or fish emulsion."
"Keep an eye out for caterpillars and leaf minors too. Spray, if needed, with an organic spray such as pyrethrum, or neem oil. Growing gerbera daisies can have some challenges, but it is a wonderful reward when those big, happy flowers bloom."