How to Prune Shasta Daisies

Shasta Daisies, or Leucanthemum x superbum, are known for their plentiful, eye-catching blooms.

So, how do you make sure those blooms last as long as they can and help your perennial produce as many as possible throughout the season?

The answer is in the pruning methods that you choose.

A close up vertical image of Shasta daisies growing in the garden pictured on a soft focus background. To the top and bottom of the frame is green and white printed text.

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Whether it is to increase the number of blooms, prolong the flowering season, or promote general health and vigor via general periodic maintenance, pruning your Shasta daisies can do wonders when it’s done right.

It is important to know when and how to prune this perennial in order to get the best results. So, let’s discuss everything you need to know about pruning your Shastas.

The when, the how, and the why are covered under each method described below so you can decide which option is best for you.

Here’s everything we’ll cover up ahead:

First things first, let’s collect everything we need to get started.

Gather Your Tools

Just like with any type of garden maintenance, having the correct tools is one of the most important parts of the task.

A close up horizontal image of a pair of gardening gloves set on a lawn with a set of pruning shears.

Sharp, clean secateurs are an absolute necessity for effective pruning.

Bypass secateurs are my favorite option, with two blades that cut similarly to scissors. The sharpened blade on one side crosses over a thickened metal platform, creating a clean slice in the stem.

A clean cut reduces damage to the stem and lessens the risk of disease.

You can find bypass secateurs on Amazon, available in a variety of designs from Martha Stewart.

Martha Stewart Bypass Secateurs

Sometimes people recommend deadheading snips to remove spent blooms, but for Shastas in particular, I prefer to use the secateurs as the stems can be quite thick and will quickly blunt a smaller tool.

Whatever pruning tools you choose, be sure to clean and sanitize them before and after use.

Pinch Out for Fuller Growth

If you’re looking to promote thicker and fuller growth, pinching out is a good place to start!

This is best done early in the season before any thick stems have formed.

A close up horizontal image of Shasta daisies growing in the garden pictured on a soft focus background.

When the plant reaches six inches tall, simply remove the top half-inch of each stem.

This method causes the stalk to produce side shoots, creating a fuller plant with the ability to host more blooms later in the season.

Deadhead for Continuous Flowering

This method can be carried out at any time of year when the Shasta is in bloom.

Removing spent blooms will extend the flowering period and prevent the plant from going to seed. This allows the plant’s energy to go towards the formation of new flowers and foliage, building a brighter display of color in the garden.

A close up horizontal image of Shasta daisies growing in a cottage garden pictured in bright sunshine.

These daisies like to spread, so regular deadheading will also help to prevent unwanted self-sowing.

As the flowers begin to fade, use sharp, sterilized secateurs to cut the stem of each spent bloom just above the new node, where a new leaf or flower bud will form. 

Try the Chelsea Chop

The Chelsea Chop is a technique of summer pruning designed to control the growth habit and extend the flowering period of particular perennials, and it is very effective when it comes to Shasta daisies.

The name of the technique comes from the annual Chelsea Flower Show hosted in England each May. The method involves reducing the plant’s growth by a third.

You can use secateurs for this method, or shears may be more efficient for larger plants.

These shears from Martha Stewart, available from Amazon, may make your workload a little lighter.

Martha Stewart Hedge Shears

In May, after the risk of frost has passed, reduce your Shasta by a third using a sharp, sterilized cutting tool. This method of cutting off excess foliage to reshape the plant will encourage bushier growth and a prolonged flowering season.

A bonus effect of the Chelsea Chop is that it will keep your Shasta more compact, making the stems less likely to topple over in the fall, and reducing the need for staking.

We have detailed instructions here.

Don’t Forget Annual Maintenance Pruning

With the arrival of first frost, after the foliage dies back in late fall, prune your Shasta using sharp secateurs. Make your cuts two to three inches above the soil.

This will allow you to remove the dying stems and keep your garden looking tidy through the winter. Mulch can be added to protect the crowns while plants are dormant, and removed in the spring.

If this particular visual aesthetic of the garden over winter is not a priority, you may choose to leave the dying stems on the plant to provide extra protection through the coldest time of year.

In this case, you can cut back the dead stems to the soil surface in early spring instead, allowing space for new growth to emerge.

A Happy Haircut

Shastas are a resilient species, so don’t stress too much about getting it right. As long as you are carrying out your pruning at the appropriate time of year and using sharp, sterilized tools, your daisies will do the rest of the work.

A close up horizontal image of Shasta daisies growing in a sunny garden.

So, whether it’s to increase the number of blooms, control growth, or simple annual maintenance to promote healthy plants, you now know exactly when and how to prune and deadhead your Shastas to gain the results you desire.

Do you have a favorite pruning tip to share? Let us know in the comments below!

And for more info on growing daisies in your own garden you can learn more in the following guides:

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