The Q&A Archives: Plant Identification

Question: While wandering the countryside this spring I bought some annual flowers in a container. The store owner called them something like "melapodium". I am having a hard time finding any reference by that name. I would like to get them again next year. Do you know them by another name? Any ideas where I could get some seeds?

Answer: Melampodium leucanthum, the Blackfoot Daisy, is a short-lived perennial native to Arizona and the Southwestern states. The plants grow in clumps one-foot tall and one-foot wide, with narrow gray leaves, topped by clouds of inch-wide daisies that are white with yellow centers. They are drought-tolerant, but bloom more profusely with a little water in the summertime. You can save seeds from your Melampodium to plant next year. Allow a few of the flowers to form seeds, then gather and store those seeds over the winter months. When the flower petals fall and the remaining head dries and turns tan, harvest the seed head and pull it apart. Place the seeds in an airtight container and store them in a cool, dark location. When the weather warms in the spring, sow them directly in the garden bed. Melampodium will grow in poor soil and prefer full sunshine.

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