I love daisies, whether in the lawn (Daisy, Bellis perennis), wild flower meadow (Ox-eye Daisy, Leucanthemum vulgare), or in the garden border (Echinacea, Rudbeckia etc.). My favourite, at the moment anyway, is the Mexican Fleabane, Erigeron karvinskianus.
Mexican Fleabane loves a dry, sunny spot such as a wall or paving or the edge of a path or raised bed. It grows as a low carpet and will rapidly soften up the edges of stonework. It flowers profusely throughout the summer, starting even earlier in milder springs. Well drained soil suits it best, as it doesn’t like damp winters.
I first saw this lovely plant at Hestercombe Gardens, near Taunton in Somerset, ten years ago, growing on the edges of stone steps and in cracks in paving. I planted it in Grapes Hill Community Garden, at the edges of paths, on my allotment where it copes well in the dry, sandy soil and in the big raised bed in our front garden. The plant is easily raised from seed and will self-sow readily, so you can give pieces to friends.
Mexican Fleabane is native to Mexico, Honduras, El Salvador and Guatemala, but it now grows in parts of Africa, Europe, New Zealand, and on the west coast of the United States. It is a serious problem in Hawaii and Réunion as it form dense mats that smother native plants and it seeds profusely. It is illegal to introduce the plant into Portugal, New Zealand and New Caledonia.
In Britain, with our current climate, Mexican Fleabane is easy to control and you can pull it up if it grows in an unwanted spot. Carol Klein offers advice on how to use Erigeron karvinskianus to build your own daisy wall.