Here in zone 7a, our Montauk daisies (also known as Nippon daisy) tend to get pretty leggy by mid-June. If left untrimmed we would still get a pretty, but sparse, flush of blooms in early fall. Some people prune them by mowing the plants down, but we prefer to prune them by hand so that we can root up the cuttings.
When To Prune Montauk Daisy
Montauk daisies can be pruned both in the early spring and again in late summer. We prefer to prune them once in late June, which gives them 2 months to fill out before the September bloom. This also allows the rooted cuttings to get established in the soil before the onset of winter.
The plant will begin to develop new shoots within a week or so after pruning.
How Much To Prune
Trim Montauk daisy down to approximately 12 inches. Older stems tend to get woody, and leaving a portion of the woody stem unpruned will provide a strong supportive base for the new plant shoots.
How To Propagate and Root Montauk Daisy Cuttings
After you have pruned your plants, trim your cuttings back to about 8 to 10 inches. Strip off all the lower leaves, leaving about 5 to 7 of the top leaves intact.
You can plant your cuttings in a sandy soil mixture, but because we have so many cuttings we just set them inside in a container of fresh water. The leaves need a lot of humidity, which the water provides.
Keep your daisy cuttings in a cool location and out of direct sunlight. Change the water every couple of days.
It takes about 4-5 days for a callus to form on the end of the stem. Once the callus is formed, the cuttings will start working on setting out roots. Keep the cuttings in fresh water for a total of about 10-14 days, after which they can be planted in small pots to root out in, or you can plant them directly in the ground in a shaded location.
When you first plant the cuttings, they will wilt and look a bit sad. But after about 2 weeks, rooting will have begun and they’ll begin to perk up again. And you’ll begin to see signs of growth. These photos shows the cuttings 2 weeks after being planted outside in a shaded garden bed. The Montauk Daisies still look a little wilted, but the leaves closer to the top bounced back. If you look closely, you can even see signs of new growth.
In about a month, the plants will be well rooted and ready for transplant into their permanent location. Pinch them to encourage branching once they have several sets of new leaves.