The Santa Barbara daisy aka Erigeron karvinskianus [er-IJ-er-on, kar-winz-kee-AY-nus] is a graceful herbaceous perennial and composite flower species of the Asteraceae family.
Mainly grown for its beautiful flowers, the plant is native to Mexico, Guatemala, El Salvador, and Honduras, but it is found as a weed in most of the temperate and subtropical regions of the world.
From the Americas, West Indies, and West and South Europe to the oceanic regions of Asia, India, the Pacific Islands, Africa, New Zealand, and Australia, the plant is found everywhere.
It has even been naturalized in Australia, Chile, Hong Kong, the west coast of the United States, and parts of Europe and Africa.
Due to its wide distribution, Erigeron karvinskianus has acquired a number of common names, some of which are:
- Mexican fleabane
- Latin American fleabane
- Karwinsky’s fleabane
- Bony-tip fleabane
- Spanish daisy
- Mexican daisy
- Santa Barbara daisy
- seaside daisy
The word fleabane got attached to many of the plant’s common names because it was once believed to be poisonous for fleas.
There was also a time when the dried plant was used to repel fleas.
Erigeron Karvinskianus Care
Size & Growth
Mexican fleabane is a fast-growing and vigorously spreading perennial plant having the ability to self-seed and even become invasive in the right growing conditions.
With an average height of only 1’ – 2’ feet, the plant forms an attractive ground-hugging mound of small, narrow, and hairy gray-green leaves spreading up to 3’ – 5’ feet in width.
Flowering and Fragrance
As mentioned above, bony-tip fleabane is cultivated for its showy and attractive daisy-like flowers, which are white when produced but turn pink after some time.
The flowers also have yellow centers, which gives them an unusual two-tone effect.
The plant also has a long bloom time from May to June.
Light & Temperature
The plant type enjoys full sun, but also tolerates partial shade.
Ideally, plant Mexican fleabane at a site where it receives direct sunlight, with some afternoon shade.
USDA hardiness zone 5.
Watering and Feeding
While the plant becomes somewhat drought tolerant once it is established, it appreciates moderate water but regularly.
Keep the soil moderately moist and do not let it completely dry out in summer particularly.
While overwatering should be avoided, you have to be more careful in winter.
Avoid watering your Latin American fleabane too much in winter so it doesn’t get damaged.
Soil & Transplanting
Spanish daisies grow best in fertile, well-draining, and moderately moist soil.
Avoid using heavy soil types likely to retain water.
Grooming and Maintenance
As mentioned above, e. karvinskianus is very easy to grow and also doesn’t require much maintenance.
Deadhead the plant to promote further blooming.
Experts suggest cutting back the plant to the ground level in fall to promote new growth, which appears in spring.
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How To Propagate Santa Barbara Daisy
While Latin American fleabanes multiply on their own by self-seeding and spreading of rhizomatous roots, it will propagate by seeds.
- Sow the seeds in pots in cold frames in spring or at a sunny spot in your garden in spring or fall.
- When the seeds are sown in summer, be careful of watering and do it more frequently to make sure the soil doesn’t dry out completely.
- Or simply scatter seeds in the cracks between paving stones and they will germinate as they are tough and can tolerate a wide range of environmental conditions.
An alternative method for multiplying Santa Barbara daisies is through division.
Divide every 3 years in spring for best results.
The plants will also propagate by cuttings.
- Cut about 2″ – 3″ inch stems, preferably from the base, as base cuttings grow most quickly, any time from spring to autumn.
- Remove the foliage from the bottom half of cuttings and plant them into a perlite or peat moss mix at a location where they receive adequate, but indirect light.
- Water them regularly, however only lightly.
- The cuttings will develop roots in about 6 to 8 weeks.
Santa Barbara Daisy Pest and Diseases
Spanish daisy plants are virtually pest and disease-free.
They attract butterflies, bees, and other pollinators, and are deer resistant.
Erigeron Fleabane Uses
Due to its easy and quick growth and long blooming period, Mexican fleabane is a popular choice for edging, beds and borders, and groundcover for coastal, rock, and Mediterranean gardens.
It’s also considered an ideal choice for paving crevices, walls, and hanging baskets.