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How to Grow Butter Daisy — Melampodium

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Melampodium–commonly called butter daisy–has white-rayed, cream, or yellow daisy-like ray flowers with dark orange centers. Melampodium is a bushy plant with narrow bright green to gray-green leaves. The plant can become floppy as it matures.

Melampodium is an excellent choice as a summer bedding plant where deer are a problem; it is deer resistant. The flowers attract butterflies, bees, and other pollinating insects. The seeds provide a food source for small songbirds, such as goldfinches.

Use Melampodium in borders, masses, cutting gardens, and containers. It contrasts well when planted in the landscape with many other summer annuals. Smaller varieties are compact and are excellent additions to annual container combinations.

Melampodium in bloom
Melampodium in bloom

Get to know Melampodium

  • Plant type: Annual
  • Growing Zones and range: Zones 9 to 11
  • Hardiness: Can withstand heat, humidity, and drought
  • Height and width: 12 to 18 inches (30-45cm) tall and wide
  • Flowers: Brilliant gold-medallion daisies
  • Bloom time: Early summer to frost
  • Uses: Beds, containers, good choice for southern gardens
  • Common name: Butter daisy
  • Botanical name: Melampodium paludosum
  • Family: Asteraceae
  • Origin: Tropical regions of Central and South America

Where to plant Melampodium

  • Grow Melampodium in full sun—will tolerate light shade especially in hot summer regions.
  • Plant Melampodium in average soil; will tolerate poor soil.
Butter daisy, Melampodium divaricatum
Butter daisy, Melampodium divaricatum

When to plant Melampodium

  • Set Melampodium in the garden in spring after the last frost has passed.

Planting and spacing Melampodium

  • Space Melampodium 10 to 14 inches (25-35cm) apart.

How to water and feed Melampodium

  • Give Melampodium moderate moisture; keep the soil evenly moist.
  • Do not fertilize butter daisies; fertilizer will reduce blooms.

Melampodium care

  • Melampodium requires no deadheading is required. Plants are self-branching, so no pinching is necessary. As the flowers fade, each stem branches to produce additional flowers.

Melampodium pests and diseases

  • Melampodium are susceptible to attack by aphids and red spider mites.
  • Melampodium is susceptible to powdery mildew.
Butter daisies in a planter
Butter daisies in a planter

Melampodium propagation

  • Sow seeds in spring.

Melampodium varieties to grow

  • Melampodium leucanthum, blackfoot daisy, short-lived perennial, honey-scented white daisies with yellow centers bloom in spring and summer.
  • M. paludosum, butter daisy, grows to 18 inches tall with deep yellow daisies in summer; tolerate heat and humidity. Cultivars include ´Derby´ has golden yellow flowers and matures at 12 inches; ´Jackpot Gold´ gets 12 inches tall with golden-orange flowers 2 inches in diameter; ´Lemon Delight´ flowers are a beautiful lemon yellow grows 12 to 24 inches tall; ´Medallion´ is golden yellow grows 24 to 36 inches tall; ´Million Gold´ has bright yellow flowers and is a compact grower at 10 inches in height; ‘Showstar’ grows 14-24 inches tall with golden yellow flowers.

Written by Stephen Albert

Stephen Albert is a horticulturist, master gardener, and certified nurseryman who has taught at the University of California for more than 25 years. He holds graduate degrees from the University of California and the University of Iowa. His books include Vegetable Garden Grower’s Guide, Vegetable Garden Almanac & Planner, Tomato Grower’s Answer Book, and Kitchen Garden Grower’s Guide. His Vegetable Garden Grower’s Masterclass is available online. has more than 10 million visitors each year.

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