The Q&A Archives: Yellow Daisy Topiary Tree

Question: I am very interested in learning how/when to prune the yellow daisy topiary trees I purchased last Spring.

Answer: You probably have a Marguerite that was trained to a single stem. Marguerites are members of the Daisy family and are flowering shrub-like perennials, grown mostly in the Southwestern states. It takes two or three years to train a seedling into a tree shape. (It's done by rubbing off all of the buds that appear on the stem, and then pinching the top of the stem when it's reached the correct height.) By the second year the stem will have become brown and woody, and all of the growth will directed toward the top. To keep the shape, prune some stems back to the crown, and pinch alternate stems back by by one-third to one-half. New stems will develop from buds remaining on the stems. Rub out any buds that develop on the upright "trunk" of the plant.

Marguerites like full sunshine and regular watering during the summer, and greenhouse protection in the winter months. The tops are susceptible to frost damage and the entire plant will die if left outdoors when the weather gets cold. It's not a good candidate for indoor growing because the intensity of light during the wintertime is too low in the average household. The plants are great for seasonal color in the summertime, but unless you have a greenhouse, it will be difficult to keep it year after year.

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