All About Gardening and Gardening Q & A by Pernell Gerver

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"The Compositae Family: Growing the Many Types of Daisies"

The compositae family is one of the largest, most-diverse family of plants. It comprises 950 genera and 20,000 species What they all have in common is their type of flower. Commonly referred to as daisies, the flowers of the compositae family are characterized by a circle of petals, called ray florets, surrounding a prominent center. Daisies are a favorite of butterflies. Their prominent center provides the perfect landing spot for the butterfly and many are nectar filled, as well. There are many different types of daisies, some with daisy in their name, and some without. Click on a plant name below to order it from Pernell Gerver's Online Store.

Shasta daisy is what most people picture when they think of daisies. There are many different varieties of Shasta daisy and many can get quite large. Shasta daisy 'Highland White Dream' is a great improvement in Shasta daisy. It bears huge, five-inch-wide white flowers that are semi double. It blooms throughout summer. The large flowers on three-foot-tall stems hold themselves up without staking. They make excellent cut flowers and have a long vase life. It forms a handsome clump three feet high and wide.



"The Compositae Family: Growing the Many Types of Daisies" Workshop and Plant and Gardening Products Sale


Thursday, July 19, 7 p.m., Kiley Middle School auditorium, 180 Cooley Street, Springfield

Saturday, July 21, 10 a.m., Westfield Woman's Club auditorium, 28 Court Street, Westfield

Saturday, July 21, 3 p.m., Historic Northampton Museum Shepherd Barn, behind 66 Bridge Street, Northampton


Free and open to the public

For more info.:

Click here to read Pernell Gerver's Gardening Workshop Series schedule and to get directions from your location to any of the locations listed above.


Coneflower 'Kim's Mophead'Coneflowers are in the compositae family and a new introduction is Coneflower 'Kim's Mophead.' This low-growing variety of coneflower is a size breakthrough in coneflower. It's a white-flowered variety that bears large, three-inch-wide creamy-white flowers. The flowers have a golden-brown, prominent, prickly cone in the center of its petals. It grows just 12 to 15 inches tall, making it the ideal perennial for the front of the flower bed or border. It blooms in midsummer and continues to bloom into autumn. Like all coneflowers, it thrives in sunny, hot locations and attracts butterflies to the garden.


Coreopsis 'Sweet Dreams' is also in the compositae family. It's a summer-blooming perennial that grows well in hot, sunny spots in the garden. It's a color breakthrough in threadleaf coreopsis. It bears masses of bicolored flowers that are white with deep pink surrounding the center of each daisy-like flower. Flowers are held atop finely-divided, thread-like foliage. It grows to 18 inches tall and blooms from spring to fall.

Asters are also in the compositae family. There are many different types of asters and one of my favorites is Aster 'Purple Dome.' It's a type of New England aster that has a compact habit. It forms a perfect dome-shaped mound a foot-and-a-half-high covered with small, daisy-like, purple flowers. It blooms in September and October and is a great substitute for hardy mums.

At my free gardening workshop this week I’ll have a large selection of these and many more plants in the compositae family for sale. See the "If You Go" box for more information.

Pernell Gerver's Gardening Q & Aby Pernell Gerver

"Use Neem Oil and Milky Spore Powder to Control Japanese Beetles"

Q. Japanese beetles are on my roses. Do traps work or do they just attract more? Is there a long-term solution? Thank you.

A. No, traps do not work. They actually attract more beetles to your plants because the beetles will fly in from up to three miles away to get to the pheremone lure that's inside the trap. Instead of traps, I use Neem Oil. Neem oil controls Japanese beetles very well. Also, for a long-term control, you should put down Milky Spore Powder Grub Control. I put it down ONCE about 20 years ago and I haven't seen any Japanese beetles - or their grubs - in 20 years!

Click here to read more about and order Milky Spore Powder Grub Control from Pernell Gerver's Online Store.

Click here to read more about and order Neem Oil from Pernell Gerver's Online Store.

Click here to submit gardening questions for Pernell Gerver's online Q & A column.

Click here to read previous online columns in the archives.

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