Autumn is Copper Canyon daisy time in my garden. This tough, drought-tolerant shrubby plant has been a part of my garden for several years and this year it has been particularly floriferous.
This perennial shrub can grow to about three to four feet tall and five to six feet wide. That pretty much describes mine in its present form. It has feathery foliage which gives the plant an airy, rather blowsy appearance. At the height of its bloom (mine is a bit past that point now) the inch-wide blooms can completely cover and obscure the leaves, making the plant look like a big mound of yellow. It is quite a striking sight. This native daisy will grow in full sun or partial shade. Mine is in partial shade.
The original plant was native in the Sonoran Desert of Arizona and northern Mexico, but it has been introduced and naturalized in many parts of Texas and it grows extremely well even here in humid Southeast Texas. Yes, this is one tough and versatile plant!
One of the most noticeable attributes of the plant is its scent. It has a very strong "marigold" scent which some people might find objectionable, but which I actually enjoy..The scent may be one of the things that makes this plant deer-resistant, a very important trait in many areas.
Other names for this plant include Mexican bush marigold, Mt. Lemmon marigold, and mountain marigold. The plant was collected by John Gill and Sara Lemmon in southeastern Arizona in the 1880s. The Lemmons developed the plant and introduced it to the nursery trade in California. The botanical name, Tagetes lemmonii, recognizes that contribution.
As our climate changes and we have to deal with extended droughts, area gardeners search for plants that can thrive in such conditions and Copper Canyon daisy can be added to that list. Once established, it does not require any extra water and no fertilizer. It is a lazy gardener's dream plant.