Angelita daisy (Tetraneuris acaulis) is a tough little clumping plant that produces clusters of bright yellow blossoms.
Depending on the variety, it can grow in a number of regions in the Southwest, Inter mountain West, and Great Plains. In the wild, you’ll often see these clumps in clusters, in drier areas, you see them more in depressions where water runoff can reach them.
The plant is drought-resistant but does need some water.
The Different Varieties of Angelita Daisy
Angelita daisy is one of those plants that has a few varieties known by various common names, with some common names applying to more than one variety. T. acaulis has five varieties: var. acaulis, var. arizonica, var. nana, var. caespitosa, and var. epunctata. All five are sometimes called stemless four-nerve daisy, and most are also occasionally called bitterweed. “Angelita daisy” sometimes refers to all five varieties, but it’s more often applied to var. arizonica and sometimes to var. caespitosa when you look up the terms online. The varieties have additional names, such as Arizona four-nerve daisy for var. arizonica, so use the scientific name when trying to buy the plant for your garden.
The different varieties are native to different parts of the country, too, and because some of the varieties can handle much different weather than other varieties – for example, Arizona native var. arizonica needs warmer conditions than var. acaulis, which can grow as far north as Canada – take care if purchasing online from a non-local nursery to ensure you buy the correct variety for your region.
There is some geographic overlap between varieties. In general, var. arizonica grows well in California and the Desert Southwest (it’s perfect for hot Arizona desert summers); it can grow as far north as Idaho. Var. acaulis is native to New Mexico and Texas up through Alberta and Saskatchewan in Canada; var. epunctata is native to Utah, Colorado, and Wyoming, and var. nana is native to Utah and New Mexico. Var. caespitosa is native to Wyoming and the Four Corners states except Arizona.
Blooming times for each variety tend to start in April or May and go through September. Var. arizonica starts blooming in April. Some varieties are said to bloom in winter, too, but assume that spring, summer, and early fall will be the main blooming seasons. T
he plants can vary in height but tend to stay short, below a foot tall or so. They can spread out to as much as 1 1/2 feet. Bright golden-yellow rays extend out of a slightly more orange center; the blossoms don’t have leaves on the stem and tend to grow upright out of a clump of dark green foliage.
Soil & Watering
They need well-draining soil, and they are remarkably drought-tolerant, with var. arizonica doing quite well on no more than what rain falls naturally in the desert regions (be that from winter storms or summer monsoon rains). Nevertheless, occasionally adding some water, especially in drier seasons, will help the plant. Just let the soil dry out completely before adding any water.
Light and Temperature Requirements
Angelita daisies love full sun; even the variety from Arizona won’t shy away from summer light. These are fast-growing perennials that can send the occasional seed into neighboring parts of the garden. They’re perfect for rocky gardens, too. The varieties tend to be cold-hardy down to about 20 degrees Fahrenheit and don’t have much in the way of pest problems. However, root rot can take hold if soil drainage isn’t good.
Growing From Seed
These plants are best grown from seed. Their drought resistance is partly due to a long taproot that makes uprooting and dividing difficult. However, these are such tough and fast-growing plants that starting them from seed shouldn’t take that long.
Deadheading and Pruning
Do deadhead the flowers; they don’t “self-clean,” and the plant leaves little litter on the ground. The foliage will die back in winter, and the plant doesn’t really need pruning.
Angelita daisy is one of those plants that, once established, is so low maintenance that sometimes you may not have to touch the plant to let it grow well.