Garden Oracle / Drought and Heat Tolerant Gardening / Tucson - Phoenix - Arizona - California

Growing Melampodium leucanthum:
Black Foot Daisy

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Form: Mound forming, herbaceous stems on a woody base.
Lifespan: Perennial.
Leaf retention: Evergreen in temperatures above freezing.
Growth rate: Moderate.
Mature Size: 1' high and 2' wide.
Flowers: 8-10 broad white rays notched at the tip, a small yellow central disk with a honey-like fragrance, 1"-1.5" wide.
Bloom: Spring through fall.
Fruit: A seed, found at the base of each ray, not within the center disk.
Leaves: Green, narrowly linear to lance-shaped.
Stems: Green, many-branched, no thorns, becoming woody at the base with age.
Roots: This plant develops a long taproot and is difficult to transplant once established.
Wildlife: Attracts insects and, on occasion, butterflies. Birds may be attracted to the seeds.
Toxic / Danger: No.
Origin: Arizona, Colorado, Kansas through Texas and Mexico.

Cultivation and Uses
USDA hardiness zones: 5-10. The green leaves and stems of this plant are hardy to 30°F. The roots survive to -20°F.
Heat tolerant: Yes.
Drought tolerant: Yes.
Sun: Full sun.
Planting: Locate Black Foot Daisy in full sun and unamended, well draining soil. The only problem most people have with this plant is root rot due to poor soil drainage.
Soil: Well drained, dry, low organic content, pH 6.1-8.0 (slightly acidic to slightly alkaline). Fertilizing and extra water may increase blooms but shorten lifespan. It does best in unamended, dry, sandy or rocky soil.
Water once established: Once a month. Overwatering may reduce lifespan and can lead to root rot.
Prune: This plant may be cut back late winter to reduce legginess and remove dead and damaged stems. Deadheading flowers is unnecessary because it blooms continually.
Litter: Low.
Propagation: Seed, cuttings.
Uses: Ornamental.

This long blooming, easy to grow plant is a member of the Acanthus family (Acanthaceae). Another common name is Plains Blackfoot. The butterfly is a Painted Lady.

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Melampodium leucanthum: Black Foot Daisy

Melampodium leucanthum: Black Foot Daisy - with butterfly

Latest update: May, 2021
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