Daisies come in many varieties, some of which are easier to propagate than others. The common daisy that infests lawns and fields is not often propagated for garden use because it is short lived and not very reliable. A more popular daisy that is grown in gardens is the gerbera daisy, which can be propagated in several ways.
Propagation by Seeds
The seeds must be collected from the parent plant and planted within 2 months. The seeds will grow in any reasonable soil mixture as long as it is kept moist and in sunlight. Plant the seeds with their pointed ends downwards but do not cover the seed. Germination is very rapid, certainly within 3 weeks. If the season for planting outdoors is past, the seedlings can be grown indoors in containers and successfully transplanted when the new season starts. The seedlings can even be allowed to go to seed themselves to provide more seeds to grow more plants if needed. One of the strange aspects of the gerbera daisy is that plants grown from seed don’t always look like the plant that produced the seed.
Propagation by Stem Cuttings
Stem cuttings require a rooting bed composed of equal measures of peat, perlite and coarse sand. This colloidal mixture allows good drainage while holding plenty of moisture. A healthy stem should be about 6 inches long. The flowers and buds need to be removed as well as any leaves growing from the bottom 3 inches of the stem. The stem is placed upright in the rooting bed and put in reflected sunlight.
Spray the stem frequently so that it does not dry out; covering with a plastic sheet in hot dry weather will help. The stem will start to grow and you should transplant it to a permanent location when it is ready. When moving the stem it is very important to retain the roots undamaged to make sure the transplantation is successful. This type of propagation will produce a plant similar to the one the stem came from.
Propagation by Division
The gerbera daisy develops a crown root system and when the plant is dormant the crown can be split. Only split the crown if you can see that each part you split off has at least one healthy bud attached. Although you can start the split crown growing in pots, it is also possible to plant the crown directly into the location you want the plant to be. The split crown will remain dormant until the natural signals that it should start to grow again and at that time you should be ready to assist by regular watering and feeding until the new shoots break the surface. The split crown will produce plants that are identical to the one that developed the crown.
Artemisia in the Garden
Artemisia is the name of a wide variety of plants which are part of the daisy family. Around 400 kinds of shrubs and bushes are classified as artemesia. Its other common names are wormwood, mugwort or sagebrush. Although its flowers are usually yellow and small, artemesia's foliage is a lovely silver-gray or gray-green, lacy and distinctive, which makes it a wonderful background or accent plant in your garden. Most artemesia is fragrant. A common type of artemesia is dusty miller, which has silver-gray foliage and small yellow flowers. Artemesia has been used for medicinal purposes, for flavoring and to repel fleas and moths. The herb, tarragon, is from the artemisia family. Vermouth was originally flavored with wormwood, a type of artemesia.
Artemesia is a great plant for your garden. It is a perennial, mixes well with other plants, is drought tolerant and is easy to grow. It grows mostly in sunny, dry or semi-dry climates. Artemesia likes good draining sandy soil and full sun. You don't need to fertilize it. Artemesia doesn't seem to be bothered by pests and deer and rabbits tend to leave it alone.
Find a big enough space and let it go because its varieties can grow anywhere from 1 to 3 feet high by 2 to 4 feet wide within a season. Artemesia is usually grown from nursery stock; buy artemesia or dusty miller in 4 inch pots, 6 packs or gallon containers. Plant it in the winter or spring after the last frost, give it enough water to establish it and then continue to water it the same as other xeriscape or drought tolerant plants in your landscape. Artemesia can also be grown from cuttings from your own or neighbor's plants.
Place artemesia in your garden where the beautiful, lacy, fern-like foliage will be showcased, or add a highlight to a planted area. It usually grows in an attractive or distinctive shape, but it can be pruned to further shape it to your liking. Deadhead artemesia after it flowers in the summer and prune off any dead stems or branches. In late fall or winter you can cut your artemesia way back to 8 to 14 inches tall and it will fill back out during its growth period in the spring.
Maintenance and Care
Divide artemesia every two to three years to promote good, healthy growth. To do this, dig your plant up, divide the root ball and replant the plants 3 to 4 feet apart. You can do this in the spring before its growth spurt, or in the fall after cutting it back.
Small artemesia shrubs make excellent border plants. Artemesia can be used with a diverse grouping of plants to bring out their various colors and textures and add some of its own. It can be planted in an outdoor planting bed to accent other plants with different color foliage. Or it can be used as a background plant to showcase brightly colored flowering perennials or ornamental grasses. Plant artemesia in a rock garden or in a tub or container with other perennials. Artemesia is a hardy perennial and, with proper care, will reward you year after year with its distinctive, good-looking foliage.