How to Grow Melampodium Carefully

The Melampodium genus, originating from Central America, South America, and southern North America, encompasses multiple yearly species collectively referred to as melapodium. Among these species, the most prevalent ones are M. divaricatum, commonly known as butter daisy due to its golden petals and darker yellow-orange centers, and M. leucanthum, known as black-foot daisy, characterized by white petals and yellow centers. How to grow Melampodium: These genuine annual plants are renowned for their continuous exhibition of sunflower-like blossoms that commence in May and persist until the arrival of frost. They are uncomplicated to cultivate and can endure diverse conditions and locations, unlike many other flowers.

How to grow Melampodium: Melampodium is typically cultivated either from a nursery container plant or by directly sowing seeds into the garden. Similar to numerous annuals, it exhibits rapid growth, reaching the flowering stage within six to eight weeks, even when planted from seed.

How to Grow Melampodium

Common Name:  Melampodium, butter daisy, black foot daisy

Botanical Name:  Melampodium spp.

Family:  Asteraceae

Plant Type:  Annual

Soil Type:  Dry to medium moisture, well-drained

Soil pH:  Slightly acidic to slightly alkaline

Bloom Time:  Late spring to fall

Flower Color:  White, yellow/gold

Mature Size:   6-24 in tall, 8-18 in. wide (varies by cultivar)

Sun Exposure:  Full

Hardiness Zones:  2 to 11 (true annual)

Native Area:  Central America, South America, southern North America

How to Grow Melampodium

Melampodium Care

Melampodium is known for its adaptable nature and can thrive in regular garden soil. However, it is crucial to ensure that it is planted in a location that receives ample sunlight, as it requires a substantial amount of sunshine. How to grow Melampodium: During the initial stages, the plants require an adequate amount of water, but once they are established, it is important not to overwater them. This resilient plant actually prefers slightly drier soil.

When it comes to maintenance, Melampodium doesn’t demand extensive pruning or deadheading. It is a low-maintenance plant that will naturally continue to bloom until the first frost of the year. Additionally, in many areas, it has the tendency to self-seed, allowing you to enjoy these lovely flowers year after year.

How to Grow Melampodium


For the melampodium plant to thrive and achieve its best growth, it flourishes when exposed to full sunlight for a minimum of six hours each day. This favorable condition promotes ideal flower development and prevents the occurrence of flopping, which can happen when plants become elongated and weak in shady environments.


Originating from regions characterized by rocky soil, this plant is naturally adapted to thrive in nutritionally impoverished soils. Nevertheless, it can also flourish in any well-drained soil, as long as it is not subjected to excessive watering.

How to Grow Melampodium


Despite being highly resistant to drought and tolerant of high temperatures, melampodium thrives when it receives regular watering. The ideal amount is approximately 1/2 to 1 inch per week. However, it is important to ensure that the soil has the opportunity to dry out slightly between watering sessions, as these plants do not fare well in consistently waterlogged conditions.

How to Grow Melampodium

Climate and Moisture Level

Melampodiums are genuinely suited for warm weather. Once they have established themselves, these plants demonstrate remarkable resilience to drought and can withstand even the most scorching temperatures effortlessly. However, despite their toughness, melampodiums can be prone to powdery mildew when grown in specific humid regions. Adequate sunlight exposure can help mitigate this issue, but if mildew does appear, it is advisable to promptly prune the infected areas to prevent its spread.


For continuous blooming throughout the season, it is worth considering the inclusion of a slow-release fertilizer or a general-purpose liquid fertilizer in your melampodium’s soil. This is particularly beneficial when dealing with poor or rocky soils. However, in nutrient-rich garden soil, these plants typically thrive without any additional feeding.

How to Grow Melampodium

Types of Melampodium

There are two common annual species of the Melampodium genus cultivated as garden plants: M. Divericatum (butter daisy), and M. leucanthum (black-foot daisy).

M. Divericatum and Cultivars

  • The ‘Derby’ variety displays golden-yellow flowers and reaches a height of approximately 12 inches.
  • ‘Jackpot Gold’ features slightly larger golden-orange flowers, measuring around 2 inches across. This cultivar also maintains a relatively short stature, reaching a maximum height of 12 inches.
  • ‘Lemon Delight’ produces bright lemon yellow flowers and grows to a height ranging from 12 to 24 inches.
  • ‘Medallion’ is a larger cultivar, with a height ranging from 24 to 36 inches, and it showcases beautiful golden yellow flowers.
  • ‘Million Gold’ is a compact plant, growing up to 10 inches tall, and it boasts vibrant yellow flowers.
  • ‘Showstar’™ is a plant that ranges from 14 to 24 inches in height and features striking golden yellow blossoms.
How to Grow Melampodium

M. Leucanthum

Melampodium leucanthum, commonly known as black foot daisy, is a compact plant with slender, grayish-green leaves and petite white flowers resembling daisies. Native to the Sonoran Desert in North America, it holds a special place in the hearts of native plant enthusiasts and is often chosen as an excellent addition to rock gardens.

How to Prune

Melampodium is a self-cleaning plant that effortlessly produces flowers throughout the entire season, requiring no deadheading. However, if you prefer to control its self-seeding tendency, you have the option to trim off the spent flowers. Towards the end of the growing season, you can choose to either remove the plants from the ground or leave them in place to provide a valuable food source for finches and other seed-eating birds.

How to Grow Melampodium

How to Propagate

Similar to numerous annuals, melampodium is most effectively propagated through seeds, which can be obtained either by purchasing them or collecting them from dried flower heads. While it is possible to propagate melampodium through vegetative means, such as rooting stem cuttings, this method is typically unnecessary due to the plant’s high success rate when grown from seeds.

Moreover, transplanting volunteer seedlings that emerge in the garden from self-seeding melampodium plants is a straightforward task, thanks to the plant’s adaptability.

How to Grow From Seed

Melampodium seeds are typically clustered in the centers of the flowers. Once the spent flowers have dried, the seed heads can be collected and stored indoors until you are ready to plant them. To extract the abundant seeds, simply crush the seed heads. In the spring, after the danger of frost has passed, the seeds can be directly sown into the garden. However, if you desire earlier flowers, you can start the seeds indoors seven to ten weeks before the last frost date. When planted about 1/4 inch deep in standard potting mix and kept in a well-lit location at temperatures between 68 and 86 degrees Fahrenheit, the seeds will typically germinate within one to two weeks.

One notable characteristic of melampodium is its tendency to readily self-seed. As a result, you may find that melampodium returns reliably year after year without the need for replanting. It is important to familiarize yourself with the appearance of the volunteer seedlings to avoid mistaking them for weeds.

How to Grow Melampodium

Potting and Repotting of Melampodium

Due to its preference for dry conditions, melampodium thrives as a remarkable container plant. It is essential to utilize a light and well-drained potting mix when planting them, while also being cautious not to overwater. Unlike many other garden plants grown in containers that require frequent watering, melampodium is content with once-a-week watering. Any type of pot material is suitable, as long as the container offers proper drainage. As melampodium is an annual plant that will be discarded at the end of the season, repotting is unnecessary.

Typically, these plants are pulled from the garden and disposed of at the conclusion of the growing season. However, an alternative option is to leave them in place during the winter to benefit from seeds that will be consumed by birds or fall into the garden to support the colony through self-seeding.

Common Pests and Plant Diseases

Melampodium plants are generally not affected by significant insect issues; however, they can be susceptible to powdery mildew in regions with hot and humid climates. To mitigate the risk of this fungal disease, it is recommended to provide ample space between the plants, allowing for improved air circulation. This practice helps to prevent the development and spread of powdery mildew.

How to Grow Melampodium

How to Get Bloom

Both Melampodium species typically exhibit blooming patterns from late spring until the arrival of frost. In the event that these plants do not bloom as anticipated, the primary reason is usually insufficient direct sunlight. It is important to note that deep shade inhibits their ability to produce flowers. However, under suitable lighting conditions, the occurrence of blooms is nearly guaranteed.

Common Problems

The main issue typically encountered with melampodium is its inclination to become leggy and bend downwards. This tendency may arise in shady environments as the stems strive to reach sufficient sunlight. However, flopping can also be observed in hot and sunny areas, where the soil may become excessively dry, resulting in insufficient support for the stems. In such situations, it may be necessary to provide support to the plants by staking them.

How to Grow Melampodium