“Butter” is a common name used in the horticultural world – “buttercups” is an example. There is another bedding plant with the common name “butter daisy” that might interest you. Also called Melampodium divaricatum, this member of the Aster Family can be a cheery addition to your bedding plant selection for potentially year-round zinnia-like flowers.
I first grew to admire butter daisies when they were planted near the entrance door at our new Centennial Park facility. They did so well and produced such tight, bright clusters of yellow flowers on light-green foliage that they were diurnal beacons beckoning my eyes to look. These flowers do shout “Look at me!” in their silent language of color and form. Butter daisies are annuals native to tropical America that grow about twelve-inches tall and twelve-inches wide sporting numerous mini sun-flower-like yellow blossoms. They technically should keep flowering until a frost stops them. This frost may or may not happen, and the result could be a continuation of flowers long after their expiration date. Being an annual, never fear, the butter daisy will reseed itself without a problem.
In our area you could enjoy butter daisies year-round, but individual aging plants may need to be removed and replaced every four-months or so. Typically March is a good starting time to install your first set of these annuals. Butter daisies are generally available at most garden centers in the annual flower section, or you can get seeds on-line. Plants started from seed will take six to eight weeks to develop into sizable blooming specimens. They are very adaptable to hot and humid weather but can get a bit tall and floppy in summer. Unlike some annuals, they do not require deadheading (removal of old flower heads) and keep on blooming uninterrupted.
Use butter daisies as a medium-sized groundcover, a border planting or even as subjects for containers. Plant these daisies in full-sun sites and water to establish. Once established, butter daisies are somewhat drought tolerant. Powdery mildew can sometimes be a fungal pest, so monitor for any outbreaks.
Butter daisies, or Melampodium divaricatum, are great annual flowering plants for beginners that are sure to succeed! For more information on all types of flowering annuals suitable for our area, or to ask a question, please visit https://www.facebook.com/CharlotteMGLifeline/ . Ralph E. Mitchell is the Director/Horticulture Agent for the UF/IFAS Charlotte County Extension Service. He can be reached at 941-764-4344 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Brown, S. P. (2021) Gardening with Annuals in Florida. The University of Florida Extension Service, IFAS.
Brown, S. P. (2020) South Florida Gardening Calendar. The University of Florida Extension Service, IFAS.
UF/IFAS Gardening Solutions – Summer Bedding Plants (2018) The University of Florida Extension Service, IFAS.
Chin, J. (2007) Cheerful and sunny faces of Melampodium divaricatum. John&Jacq~s Garden.
Missouri Botanical Garden – Melampodium divaricatum (2021) http://www.missouribotanicalgarden.org/PlantFinder/PlantFinderDetails.aspx?kempercode=a116