In October, when flowers in the gardens here in RI dwindle to a precious few, the Montauk daisy reigns supreme. The botanical name of this plant, Nipponanthemum Nipponicum provides a clue to its origin. It is indeed from Japan.
In my neighborhood, these flamboyant daisies actually look more like shrubs, forming huge clumps that are alive with late pollinators. Gardeners here know that this plant is too aggressive for the perennial border, and is best by a mailbox or dressing up a drab expanse of lawn. They do look a bit like our old stand-by shasta daisies, but they have a rather pronounced and funky perfume that I am not particularly fond of.
Montauks grow in zones 6 to 10, and need full sun. They are drought tolerant and it appears that no wildlife eat them. (Maybe because they don’t like the smell!) They are easily propagated from cuttings, but our local nurseries are full of inexpensive young plants, too.
To look their bushiest and best, Montauks should be cut back severely in late May or early June. Most people don’t bother, but the plant tends to get find of bare in the center and rather floppy if you don’t.
One well-known garden website suggests planting Montauks behind smaller plants in a perennial border. I would strongly advise against this. As I mentioned earlier, these are big and sprawling, and will quickly overwhelm anything smaller nearby. Just plant them as stand-alone specimens and enjoy the fall show.
White daisy with a funky smell? What do the leaves look like? Still need to ID mine, but will follow up pyrethrum.
The leaves are like succulents – kind of shiny only not too thick. The scent is not noticeable unless you get close. Good thing, because there are so many Montauks here, our entire neighborhood would stink!