fresh flower

marguerite

This mainstay in the floral industry is enjoying a new-found popularity.


by Steven W. Brown, AIFD


Argyranthemum frutescens
Marguerite, Paris daisy
Photo courtesy of California Cut Flower Commission


1 forget me not. Argyranthemum frutescens (pronounced ar-ji-RAN-the-mum froo-TESS-enz)—syns. Chrysanthemum frutescens and Leucanthemum vulgare—is commonly known as “marguerite” or “Paris daisy.” “Marguerite” is French for “daisy.” The genus name for this flower has been changed from Chrysanthemum to Argyranthemum as botanists refine their efforts in classifying plants.

2 family and origin. Marguerites are native to the Canary Islands and Madeira Islands, off the northwest coast of Africa, and are members of the huge Asteraceae (Compositae) family, which has the largest number of commercially grown plants in the world (some 950 genera and 20,000 species). Cut flower relatives include yarrow (Achillea), Asters/ Callistephus, Calendulas, safflowers (Carthamus), Dahlias, Dendranthema (chrysanthemums), Gerberas, sunflowers (Helianthus), marigolds (Tagetes) and Zinnias as well as many vegetable crops like lettuce.

3 a trio of colors. Marguerites are available in white, yellow and pink, all of which have yellow centers. Many growers use dye to alter the colors. There also are single and double varieties.

4 a seasonal crop. Marguerites are mostly an outdoor crop and are available year-round from domestic (California) growers.

5 shopper secrets. Look for blooms that are showing color and are about one-third open. Make sure the centers are tight. If marguerites are harvested too early, the blossoms might not open. Avoid bunches that have signs of mold or damaged foliage and flowers. These flowers will generally grow to about 1 foot tall.

6 standard processing. Upon arrival in your store, unbundle the bunches of marguerites, and remove any broken, bruised or damaged foliage that would fall below the water line in buckets or vases. Cut the stems on an angle, removing at least 1 inch, and dip or place the stems into a hydration solution. Next, place the stems into a clean bucket containing a properly prepared fresh-flower food solution that is 100 F to 110 F.

7 keys to long life. Allow marguerites to hydrate in a floral cooler at 33 F to 35 F for at least two hours before designing with or selling them. Like most other members of the Asteraceae family, marguerites are not affected by exposure to moderate concentrations of ethylene.

8 freshen up. Provide customers with extra flower-food packets, and advise them to change the water in their arrangements every two or three days. Caution customers to display arrangements away from heat sources and direct sunlight. With good care, marguerites will last approximately seven to 12 days.

9 garden style. Marguerites are an affordable addition to garden-style arrangements and hand-tied bouquets. Despite their delicate appearance, they are fairly hardy as cut flowers.

10 medicinal values. Marguerites have been cultivated for centuries. In the seventh century B.C., Assyrian men used concoctions made from these flowers to cure eye maladies. They also believed that a mixture of crushed marguerites and oil would turn grey hair dark again. In the 13th century, these flowers were used to treat wounds, fever and gout. Essences from marguerites have been used as a homeopathic treatment for bruising.

information from:
Año Nuevo Flower Growers; Pescadero, Calif.
The California Cut Flower Commission, www.ccfc.org
Dave’s Garden, www.davesgarden.com
Fernlea Flowers Ltd., www.fernlea.com
English Cottage Gardening, American Style, www.gardeningcd.com 
Missouri Botanical Garden, www.mobot.org
New Millennium Flower Essences, www.nmessences.com
Society of American Florists (SAF) Flower & Plant Care manual, www.safnow.org 
Sunny Gardens, www.sunnygardens.com



Steven W. Brown, AIFD, is a professor and department chair of horticulture and floristry at City College of San Francisco with 29 years of consulting and educational experience in the floral industry. You may contact him by e-mail at sbfloral@aol.com or by phone at (415) 239-3140.


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