Gazania

 

If you’re looking for a low maintenance flowering plant that has vivid, colorful blooms, you should check out Gazania. It has daisy-like flowers that come in a huge variety of colors. Though there are solid colors, most of them have multicolored petals surrounding a yellow center. Many Gazania flowers have a dark ring around the center, and some also have striped petals. Each flower is slightly different, and many varieties have more than one color of bloom on a single plant. As an added bonus, Gazania are easy to grow. They don’t need much care, only water when the soil dries out, and a sunny spot. Native to southern Africa, heat, little water and poor soil are not a problem for this plant. 

 Gazania grows about 12-15 inches tall and wide, with leaves in shades from dark green to silver, some with grey or silver on the undersides. Flowers can be 4 inches wide, turn towards the sun, and close at night and on cloudy days. Because the blooms close, they do not make good cut flowers. New varieties are being introduced which stay open all the time, and have double flowers. Bees, butterflies and birds are attracted to Gazania, though it is mildly poisonous to humans who eat it. Outdoors, it blooms from early summer until the first hard frost. I’m told it can be brought inside for the winter, or just grown indoors as a houseplant.

Gazania is treated as an annual where I live in Michigan, but grows as a perennial in the warmer zones 9-11. New plants can be grown from seed, or cuttings, or the clumps divided.  If seedheads are left to dry on the plant, seeds can be collected and stored for next year. Gazania seems to thrive on little water, and overwatering has a negative impact on the blooms. Sandy soil is preferred, as a soil that is not well drained can cause rot. Apparently, regular dead-heading also improves the number and quality of the flowers. Some sources say that throwing deadheaded flowers on the ground will lead to new plants. In warm areas, Gazania is used as a ground cover. It grows quickly and does not need much care. It also works well in containers or window boxes. Gazania varieties can be classified as either Trailing or Clumping. As you might imagine, the type used for ground cover is Trailing. The kind found around my house is Clumping, which is better suited to planting alone.

A member of the Asteraceae family along with chrysanthemum, osterspermum, feverfew, and daisy, Gazania is also called African Daisy or Treasure Flower. I’ve had them in my yard off and on over the years, though not lately. After learning more about them, I have definitely put Gazania on my shopping list for the spring.

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2 Responses to “Gazania”

  1. Aunt Mary Says:

    These are pretty cool. Are they easy to find….to buy?

    • margaretsgarden Says:

      Most years, around here, you can find the plants at any nursery. I’ve never grown them from seed, but you can do that too.

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