Shasta daisies were and still are one of my Mom’s favourite flowers. There were always Shastas in the garden; I have vivid memories as a child of approaching them and being repelled by the fragrance of the blooms! They were a reliable perennial that bloomed happily with little input from the gardener. But the varieties from that era flowered once and were done, they were tall and floppy always looked forlorn by midsummer. Fast forward four decades and like many perennials the Shasta, Leucanthemum if you want to be botanically correct, has undergone a transformation. This week’s plant is a great reflection of breeding work that results in new varieties that bloom longer and provide more punch in the garden. Leucanthemum “Broadway Lights” starts out with large soft yellow blooms, which fade to a vanilla shade before finally maturing to a bright white. All three shades appear on the plant at the same time, and once you deadhead the spent blooms they appear again and again. Definitely not Mom’s Shasta daisies!
Nuts and Bolts
Grows to a compact 18 to 24 inches tall. “Broadway Lights” does best in full sun and average soils with regular moisture, but will tolerate some light shade. They are hardy to about -28 deg. C, but you can increase its winter hardiness in colder areas by covering it with a light mulch for winter. Like most Shastas they will need to be divided every three to four years to rejuvenate the plant. This can be done in spring when the new growth emerges from the ground. With deadheading the bloom time will begin in late June and finally wrap up in late October or beyond if the frost is late.
Plant it with…
Because all three colours on “Broadway Lights” are essentially neutral it mixes easily with other perennials in a mixed border. The foliage is a deep, glossy green; plants with delicate foliage and flowers would be good contrasts. One of the best I’ve seen is a combination of “Broadway Lights” with the “Diamond Frost” euphorbia. Although the euphorbia is not perennial the delicate foliage and tiny white blooms are a wonderful counterpoint to the large flowers and foliage of the daisy. This would be a great planting in a container at an entrance, particularly in a black pot.

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