Melampodium is a bright and carefree annual flower that is not used nearly enough. Also known as a butter daisy, this sun-loving cutie gifts its grower with constant blooms and with a proliferative disposition. Melampodium is a delightful addition to your garden beds, borders, or containers.
Melampodium boasts bright green foliage that contrasts proportionately with its cheerful yellow daisy-like flowers. The flowers have darker yellow centers. The blooms extend an inch across, and they are bounteous. The plant grows to between a foot and 2 feet tall depending on variety.
Melampodium originated in tropical regions of Central and South America, as well as, on some of the islands of the Caribbean. They especially love heat with humidity, but they tolerate dry heat as well. Taller varieties may become droopy in intense heat.
How To Grow Melampodium
Melampodium is easy to grow. Seeds can be sown directly after the first frost. For those of you with a short growing season, melampodium seeds can be started indoors 6 to 8 weeks before the last frost, too. Start your seeds in flats, and set the flats outside once temperatures are consistently over 60 degrees.
Or, transplant a store bought version of this plant from your local nursery. Either way, your melampodium is an easy going annual without any special needs. It will grow well in regular garden soil. It does prefer sunshine over shade, so be sure to provide your melampodium with plenty of access to the rays.
Give your young plants or transplants plenty of water in the beginning. Once your melampodium is established, it will enjoy water, but don’t overwater this one. Melampodium is a hardy and drought tolerant little plant that prefers its soil on the dry side.
Don’t worry about pruning or deadheading your melampodium. It will continue to blossom and grow throughout the growing season with little maintenance. You might be sad to see this one go away with the first frost. In some warmer locations, your melampodium will self seed so you can enjoy its flowers year after year.
There are many ways to enjoy melampodium. It is very beautiful as a wave of yellow color all by itself in a bed. And, you can effectively plant melampodium with other sun loving annuals, like floss flower, for a soft color contrast in a sunny garden. Melampodium will add a guaranteed source of color in your sunny perennial garden, too. You can count on melampodium to fill in with yellow blossoms between the blooms of your irises and the blooms of your rudbeckias.
Melampodium Pests and Problems
Melampodium is an overall tough plant. It is susceptible to powdery mildew in humid areas. So, if you notice this problem, take a minute to prune away infected areas to prevent spreading. If you plan ahead a little, you should allow your melampodium some leg room to promote air circulation that will help to prevent mildew problems.
Melampodium Varieties to Consider
‘Casino Light Yellow’ is a vigorous grower that loves heat and humidity. It grows to about 2 feet tall. Bright yellow flowers cover this plant. This butter daisy variety is perfect for containers, borders, and beds.
‘Showstar’ is a deer- resistant variety that produces dainty star-shaped flowers. This variety enjoys drier soil conditions.
Want to learn more about growing melampodium?
Check out these resources:
Choose Melampodium for Low Maintenance Summer Color from University of Florida IFAS Extension
Melampodium divaricatum from Missouri Botanical Garden
Creative Commons Flickr photo courtesy of Takeshi Igarashi
David Fischer says
I live in zone 9-10 — Venice, FL . Put in a very healthy melampodium plant a number of weeks ago. The only thing it has done has been to gradually die off — yellow centers turn black; leaf tips turn brown, wilt, etc. I see no evidence of new growth. Other annuals, same garden are doing very well. What can I do?
Chris de Boer says
after correcting typos:
Same here in the Netherlands but what strikes me: when I buy tiny, tiny plants here in april they do very, very well. But, when I did buy already nearly full-grown plants, they always, die after several weeks. So look out for tiny, tiny Melampodia (or Sanvitalia as they are called here) plants. I suspect that some breeders breed them to early in the year (Sanviatlia are annuals after all).
Teresa Gray says
I have the melampodium for a year, it has self seeded in my garden and continues to grow and flower in my FLORIDA north side of house. I even took one plant and put it back in a pot and is doing well. They look great along side of my bromelaids.
Anita Whitney says
Same problem, wilting leaves i keep them in pots inside my house bc it is too cold at night in Arcadia, Fl. During winter. The leaves curl dry and fall off. And while they do flower, they are not growing taller at all. What can I do?