Tanacetum coccineum (TAN-uh-SEE-tum, kok-SIN-ee-um) is a non-invasive, non-aggressive herbaceous perennial hailing from the Caucasus and most parts of Asia.
A member of the Asteraceae or Compositae family, the plant’s genus name, is a derivative of the Greek, athanatos, which means immortal or long-lasting.
This is a reference to the lengthy bloom time of the plant and may also refer to the fact the flowers dry well and can, therefore, be preserved for extended periods.
The specific epithet, coccineum, is a derivative of the Latin, coccineus, which means scarlet.
Some species of this plant have deep red flowers.
The plant is commonly called Painted Daisy or Pyrethrum Daisy where the pyrethrum insecticide spray comes from.
Painted Daisy Care
Size & Growth
Painted Daisy is a fairly low-growing plant. It forms bushes 2’ or 3’ feet high with a spread of 1’ or 2’ feet.
The fern-like leaves are very aromatic and grow in soft, full mounds.
Lower leaves are longer (up to 10” inches).
Upper leaves are shorter and give the plant a neat, attractive, naturally rounded appearance.
Flowering & Fragrance
The colorful flowers of the Tanacetum coccineum are about 3” inches wide.
They come in a wide variety of beautiful hues. Look for white, pink, yellow, red, and pink daisy-like blooms, all sporting large, golden disks in the center.
Bloom time lasts about two months, from early June until late July.
The useful flowers do well as cut flowers, dry well, and are often used in dried flower arrangements.
Commercially, they are grown to produce a natural pesticide, pyrethrin.
Light & Temperature
Painted Daisy is winter hardy in USDA hardiness zones 3 through 7.
In the upper zones, it is best to place the plant in a full sun setting.
In the warmer zones, morning sun and afternoon shade are best.
Watering & Feeding
Keep soil evenly moist until the plants are well established, at which time you cut back to a moderate watering schedule.
Allow the soil to become almost dry and then water slowly and deeply.
During the growing season, fertilize monthly with a standard, balanced, liquid garden fertilizer.
During the blooming season, you may wish to increase phosphorus to encourage more generous blooms.
Soil & Transplanting
Pyrethrum daisy can do well in any well-draining, airy garden soil.
Plant young seedlings in the garden as soon as all danger of frost has passed.
Allow a couple of feet between plants for good growth.
Grooming & Maintenance
When plants have grown to be about 8” inches high, pinch them back to encourage bushier growth.
During the blooming season, deadhead regularly to extend bloom time.
In the third or fourth year, divide the plants to prevent them from becoming overcrowded.
How To Propagate Tanacetum Coccineum
When you divide your mature plants, you will naturally have at least twice as many plants as you started with.
It is also easy to propagate Painted Daisy by simply sowing seeds directly in the garden after all danger of frost has passed.
Alternately, start seeds indoors four to six weeks before the last expected frost and transplant the seedlings into the garden.
Tanacetum Coccineum Pest or Diseases
Tanacetum coccineum has natural pesticidal properties, so bugs don’t bother it.
Even so, young plants are susceptible to infestation by leaf miners and aphids.
Chrysanthemum nematodes may also be problematic.
Is Tanacetum Toxic Or Poisonous?
It is toxic to cats, dogs, and horses if ingested.
It has not been reported as toxic to birds, livestock, or humans; however, livestock and humans should probably not eat these flowers.
Is The Painted Daisy Plant Invasive?
Pyrethrum Daisy’s cousin, Tanacetum vulgare, is invasive, but Tanacetum coccineum is not.
It does not self-seed significantly, nor does it spread aggressively via rhizomes.
Suggested Painted Daisy Uses
Plant these pretty, colorful flowers in mass for a striking display.
They also do very well planted as monochrome or mixed color borders.
The flowers perform well as cut or dried flowers, so these plants are an excellent addition to a cutting garden.
The natural pesticidal properties make Pyrethrum daisy an excellent addition to your herb or vegetable garden.
The bright colors and abundant pollen and nectar production make Painted Daisy very attractive to hummingbirds, bees, and other pollinators.
When added to a cottage garden, these pretty blooms will self-seed moderately and add natural, carefree color.