Tidy tips (genus Layia) is a North American native. This hardy plant can survive heat, drought, sandy soil, and even salty conditions.
These bushy plants typically grow no more than 2 feet in height. The blooms resemble that of the daisy, and are generally yellow or white in color. Foliage is grey green. Tidy tips enjoy a long growth and blooming season, stretching from late spring to early autumn.
Tidy tips are hardy in USDA plant hardiness zones 3 through 10. They can be successfully grown across the United States, from the cold northern reaches to the hot southern extremities of Florida, California, and Texas. Coastal tidy tips is even known to grow in the Mojave Desert.
Some varieties of tidy tips are sold commercially, while others are generally only found in the wild. Seeds may be acquired from seed exchanges or specialized growers.
L. platyglossa, sometimes called coastal tidy tips, sports daisy like flowers emerging from thick-stemmed, leafy foliage. The petals are bi-color, yellow in the center, and white on the tips. This coloration likely garnered the name “tidy tips.”
Beach tidy tips are indigenous to the shores of California. This species is endangered.
Smooth tidy tips is a classic yellow and white variety native to California.
Fremont’s tidy tips sport more white than yellow on their petals. This variety is also native to California.
Woodland tidy tips may be the largest variety, reaching more than three feet in height. This California native makes its home on both the coast and in mountain ranges.
White daisy tidy tips maintain a large range, from British Colombia to southern California. As its name suggests, its petals are white in color.
Pale yellow tidy tips is, as its name suggests, light yellow in color with a yellow center. This variety is native only to California.
Other, very rare, wild species include tall tidy tips, Jones’ tidy tips, Comanche Point tidy tips, Munz’s tidy tips, Sierra tidy tips, and Colusa tidy tips.
Tidy tips are annuals; therefore, they must be replanted each year. Most gardeners prefer to direct sow seed after danger of frost has past. A second round of seeds can be sown in late June. Seeds will germinate in one to five weeks. Thin the plants to a spacing of 4 to 18 inches, as desired. Alternatively, seeds can be started indoors several weeks before the last frost and then transplanted outdoors.
Plant in well drained soil, in full sun or partial shade. You may use a general garden fertilizer monthly, and water as needed during the driest months. Deadhead spent flowers to prolong the blooming period.
As a native plant, tidy tips is unlikely to become a bothersome or invasive species. Being a North American native, tidy tips are well adapted to various environments, including sandy soils, and will thrive in the drought garden. The plant grows quickly, and is very drought tolerant once established. The plant is also very helpful in habitat restoration. Its flowers provide a food source for native pollinators, and its seeds for birds.
Tidy Tips Quick Facts
Height: About 2 feet
Flowers: Yellow, white, and daisy-like ray florets and disc florets
Seeds: Dry fruits
Leaves: Grey green and toothed
Regions: Zones 3 to 10
Species: L. platyglossa, L. carnosa, L. chrysanthemoides, L. fremontii, L. gaillardioides, L. glandulosa, L. heterotricha, and others
2017 Wildflower Reference Guide and Seed Catalog. Wildseed Farms.
Hattatt, Lance. Encyclopedia of Garden Plants and Flowers. 1998.
“How to Grow Layia Plants – Guide to Growing Tidy Tips.” Gardeners HQ.
“Layia Carnosa.” Wikipedia.
“Layia Chrysanthemoides.” Wikipedia.
“Layia Fremontii.” Wikipedia.
“Layia gaillardioides.” Wikipedia.
“Layia glandulosa.” Wikipedia.
“Layia heterotricha.” Wikipedia.
“Layia platyglossa.” Wikipedia.