Melampodium Plant Care - Tips On Growing Melampodium Flowers

Orange Melampodium Flowers
(Image credit: Yusber Simbolon)

Melampodium is a genus of flowers whose sunny yellow flowers bring a smile to the most confirmed curmudgeon's face. What is Melampodium? The genus supports over 40 varieties of North American and Mexican annuals and perennials. Two of the most common are Butter and Blackfoot daisy, which form bushy plants. Many specimens in the genus have honey-scented flowers lasting from spring until the first cold temperatures of winter. Growing Melampodium flowers provides durable lovely color combined with ease of care.

What is Melampodium?

Most of the plants in the species are native to tropical to sub-tropical regions from the Caribbean to South America, and in parts of Central America to the southwestern United States. They are not fussy plants and produce prolific blooms all season long. The majority of the species grow as bushes or small shrubs with thick almost twiggy stems. A few are lower and herbaceous, more suited as ground covers or in pots. Melampodium plants are perennials but grow as annuals in USDA zones below 8. They readily re-seed themselves so that even annuals present like perennials, coming back each season to brighten the flower garden. The plants range from dwarf species just a few inches (7.5 to 13 cm.) tall to the larger varieties that grow up to 1 foot (0.5 m.) in height and 10 inches (25.5 cm.) wide. The taller species tend to get floppy unless they have support, but if you plant them in masses, they help hold each other up. The plants attract butterflies and add interest and color to borders, containers, and perennial gardens. The plants are related to asters and naturalize well in sunny garden beds. The bright green, oblong leaves and purplish stems add to the attractive nature of this plant.

Growing Melampodium Flowers

These plants are extremely tolerant of a range of conditions but they prefer full sun and well drained soil. Melampodium plants thrive in USDA zones 5 to 10 but are killed by freezing temperatures. If you wish to start the plants from seed, sow them indoors in flats six to eight weeks before the date of the last frost. Set plants outside after all danger of frost has passed and soil temperatures are at least 60 F. (16 C.). You will need to keep new plants well watered until they are established, but thereafter the plants are very drought tolerant.

How to Care for Melampodium

Melampodium plant care is very similar to most sun loving perennials. They are very drought tolerant, although some stems may flop over in overly dry soils. They thrive in any type of soil except perhaps heavy clay. The flowers do not have any serious pests or disease problems. You may also grow these sunny plants inside in a southern or western window. Provide them with average water but allow the soil in the container to dry out between water periods. There is no need to deadhead as part of Melampodium plant care, but you will find little seedlings everywhere if you don't. For a wonderful sea of golden color, let the little guys go and you will be amazed by their consistent sun colored blooms.

Bonnie L. Grant

Bonnie Grant is a professional landscaper with a Certification in Urban Gardening. She has been gardening and writing for 15 years. A former professional chef, she has a passion for edible landscaping.