Plant of the month – Erigeron Karvinskianus

Now I know Erigeron has probably been out in flower for most of us for at least a month or two already, however this is one plant that is garunteed to provide you with colour pretty much all summer. It is also a very versatile plant and can be used to suit many different planting schemes, whether that be trailing in a wall, in a mixed herbaceous border, in a rockery or even in a pot. It does seed itself about the garden a bit but personally I love the way it pops up and surprises you in a different place each year, it can always be weeded out if you feel its not quite right.

Erigeron karvinskianus is a widely grown herbaceous ornamental, belonging to the Asteraceae (daisy) family and is known commonly as Mexican Fleablane or Mexican Daisy daisy. As the name suggests it is a native of Mexico but has established itself in many Mediterranean areas and dry gardens in Britain. Good drainage and plenty of sunshine are essential for plants to survive our cold damp winters. Plants are easily raised from seed, which makes this lovely little plant very easy to grow in difficult areas. For example, the seed can be scattered in the cracks between paving stones or mixed with a little clay and pressed into hollowed mortar joints in walls.

Not surprisingly and because of its ease at self propogation, it is considered as one of the major invasive plants in Hawaii and is also listed as one of the 300 major invasive plants in tropical islands of the Indian and Pacific Oceans, Australia, New Zealand and South Africa. It is treated as invasive, with laws against its introduction, in several countries, for example Portugal and New Zealand.
However in out climate we have no need to worry, without the correct maintenance this little plant often doesn’t survive the winter. To overwinter here make sure its got enough sun and that you leave all dead foliage on the plant through the winter until the new shoots emerge from the crown of the plant in spring.

As mentioned above, the Mexican daisy is a versatile plant and can be used in many different situations. Some of my favourite planting combinations include a simple mix of erigeron and Stipa tenuissima or penisetum orientale, it looks great on the edge of a border flanked with lavender too but most of all I love it in a pot either at the foot of some half standard topiary or even just by itself where you get to appreciate the real beauty of the plant without any interference from surrounding plants.