Melampodium Leucanthum [Mel-am-POH-dee-um, Lew-KAN-thum] is a perennial herbaceous plant from the Asteraceae aka composite family.
This attractive drought-tolerant, wildflower plant is native to New Mexico and the Southwest United States, as far as Kansas and Colorado.
Although it appears delicate, this native plant is well-known for handling harsh locations and thrives well in both cold and heat with irregular watering.
It might not look impressive in the nursery, but it eventually grows to become a stunning ground cover.
The common names for Melampodium Leucanthum include:
- Blackfoot Daisy
- Rock Daisy
- Plains Blackfoot
Blackfoot Daisy Plants Care
Size & Growth
This plant has dark green leaves around 2” inches tall.
It produces a striking contrast between its dark foliage and white flowers.
It grows between 6” – 12” inches tall and reaches a similar width.
When the Rock Daisy is not flowering, it fades in the background allowing other plants to flourish and take the spotlight.
Flowering and Fragrance
This plant produces abundant, small daisy-like flowers with yellow centers.
The flower color is mostly white and in contrast to its green foliage and abundance of flowers, this plant is easily viewed from a distance.
The bloom time of the Blackfoot Daisy is early spring to late fall.
The flowers have a scent of mild honey and attract birds and butterflies, making the garden more engaging and breathtaking.
Light & Temperature
This plant loves to be in the full sun, but still needs protection from the scorching summer sun.
It’s best to place it at a location where it gets plenty of sunlight, but where it also gets some shade from harsh sunlight.
This wildflower plant is tough, even with the searing sun, it still manages to grow and bloom.
It survives the winter season and starts blooming again during the next spring.
This plant’s USDA hardiness zones are 5 – 10.
Watering and Feeding
The blackfoot daisy prefers infrequent and light watering.
The water use must be little to none during the late winter months.
With frequent and regular watering, this plant won’t bloom or grow optimally.
Therefore, provide it with light watering to produce a mounded and stunning ground cover.
Feed this plant during the early spring with general-purpose, light fertilizer.
Soil & Transplanting
The Plains Blackfoot loves well-draining soil as it does not like being soaked in water.
To prolong the lifespan of this plant, grow it in poor soil conditions.
While rich soil might help it produce more flowers, this will only be for the short-term.
Plant it in rocky or sandy soil, along with gravel mulch but good drainage and watch this plant thrive in your garden.
Grooming and Maintenance
This plant is a low maintenance wildflower and needs little water and care to grow to its optimal growth.
It is best to water the Plains Blackfoot rarely during the summer season as a higher amount of water will result in an unattractive, weak plant with a shortened lifespan.
However, if it’s planted in containers, it will require more water, but still doesn’t need any water during the later winter months.
When feeding, fertilize it lightly as overfeeding will damage the plant. This wildflower likes growing in lean, poor soil.
Trim or cut off the spent flowers as this encourages continuous blooming all through the flowering season.
Prune wilted blooms to decrease the extensive self-seeding.
Older plants should be cut down to half during the late winter months to keep it compact and bushy.
How To Propagate Melampodium Leucanthum
The propagation of this plant is done using seeds.
Gather the seeds during the fall season from wilted plants and plant them directly outdoors right after.
Propagation is also done through cuttings which are taken from the mature plants.
Both the seeds and cuttings should be planted in well-draining soil for optimal growth; otherwise, the roots will begin to rot.
Make sure it gets the right amount of sun, but provide protection from extreme heat and direct sun in southern regions.
Melampodium Leucanthum Pest or Diseases
The Blackfoot Daisy doesn’t experience any significant pest or disease problems.
However, if the drainage of the soil is poor, the plant becomes vulnerable to root rot.
Blackfoot Daisy Uses
The mounded, natural structure of this plant adds a soft touch to the overall landscape design.
Its white flowers and lush foliage looks great when planted with red yucca, agave, verbena, firecracker penstemon, Angelita Daisy, and Santa-Rita prickly pear.
It thrives as ground cover, in rock gardens, and in a gravelly and rocky environment.
This plant is deer resistant and attracts birds, bees, and butterflies.