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Garden Question: Why Doesn't My Fall Daisy Bloom?

Garden Question: Why Doesn’t My Fall Daisy Bloom?
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My two-foot daisy plant bloomed each fall for five or six years but stopped two years ago. The plant comes up green and seemingly healthy, but no blossoms — not even one bud. Can you tell me why this has happened and how to solve the problem?

C.M., Rockland, MA

The symptoms you describe may be caused by various factors, some of which you can control. The exact identity of your “daisy” isn’t clear — there are many daisy-type species — so perhaps this one isn’t winter-hardy enough to produce flower buds anymore.

Low light levels may also inhibit bud development: Has the area become shadier? Also, excessive fertility, especially nitrogen, may encourage vegetative growth at the expense of flowers.

Root systems that are too wet or overly dry may affect flowering, too. Chemical drift from lawn treatments may damage plants.

Physical damage from late frost, improper pruning, insects, fungi, or browsing deer may also eliminate flowers.

It’s important to know your daisy’s species so that you can determine how to correct the problem. Bring a sample of your plant to the garden center where you bought it. Chances are the experts there will be able to identify the species correctly and give you specific suggestions for coaxing it to bloom again.

Updated Tuesday, August 14th, 2007

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