Once oxeye and Shasta daisies finish flowering the plants aren’t an asset in the garden. The variety of Shasta called ‘Becky’ is the exception and we’ll talk about how this plant should be treated later in this post. Oxeye daisies (Leucanthemum vulgare) bloom in late spring or early summer and self-seed prolifically. In some areas this plant is considered invasive and at least 11 states have it on their regulated plant list. If you have this daisy in your garden, however, you’ll want to know how to maintain it.
Shasta daisies (Leucanthemum superbum) flower in mid-summer and don’t self seed as prolifically. Most varieties aren’t that attractive after they finish flowering, however. Sometimes clipping off the spent, terminal flower produces another bloom or two from further down the stem, but usually after that first flush of flowers the stems are not appealing. Since the foliage of most Shasta daisies in down near the ground, you can’t count on attractive leaves to add to the garden until fall.
That being the case, the perennial gardener is well advised to cut these plants to the ground once they finish flowering. I use my small shearing tool which makes quick work of the oxeye stems and taking all of these seed heads away means less spreading as well. Shasta daisies are most quickly cut down with hedge trimmers. Both of these plants will put up new foliage in response to their haircut. In fact, the oxeye daisies develop into a lovely green groundcover after this shearing.
The variety ‘Becky’ has the most attractive, full foliage after flowering and can be deadheaded either stem-by-stem, or by shearing into a rounded shape.
There are other early-flowering perennials that can be cut down after they no longer look good in the garden. I use this technique for cat mint (Nepeta), blue salvia, fleece flower (Persicaria polymorpha), penstemons, and old-fashioned bleeding heart (Dicentra spectabilis).