Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Backyard Nature Wednesday: Copper Canyon daisy

Copper Canyon daisy, or Compositae Tagetes lemonii to give it its proper name, is a sprawling perennial daisy native to the southwestern United States. It blooms in the fall, providing a counterpoint color when everything starts to turn brown. It is a tender perennial so it only blooms as long as the frost holds off. So far its blooming has not been hindered this fall.

The plant can get quite big. Mine is several years old and it gets up to six feet in width and between three and four feet in height. It dies back in winter, sometime all the way to the roots depending on how severe the season is, but, regardless, it gets cut back drastically in the spring. Otherwise, it would probably get even bigger. Its blooms are very attractive to butterflies and bees, but deer, not so much. So this is definitely a good and reliable plant to grow where deer are a problem in the garden.

The only criticism that some people have of the plant is its fragrance. It has a sharp, pungent fragrance, similar to the familiar marigold, that some find objectionable, although I quite like it myself. But I wouldn't put it in a bouquet for the indoors. The fragrance would simply be overpowering in an enclosed space.

This plant also has several other common names, including Lemmon's marigold, bush marigold and mountain marigold. It is an easy plant to grow in this area for it can tolerate high, sustained summer heat and humidity. It is also very drought tolerant and basically never needs watering once established. It likes a well-drained soil and full sun, although it will also tolerate light shade.

Copper Canyon daisy is one of the old reliables in my garden. A definite winner here.

2 comments:

  1. Hmm...It looks like one my landlord has in front of the house. It blooms between summer and the fall.

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    1. I'm not sure this plant would survive as far north as you live. It's only recommended as far north as zone 8a (lowest temperature 10 degrees F.) although it might survive if it is in a protected area. But no doubt there are plants with very similar blooms that would be happy there.

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