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white and purple osteospermum daisies in a garden
With happy-faced blooms in a vast array of colours and shades, the easy-care osteospermum offers the gardener maximum impact for minimum effort.

What you need to know about a osteospermum

Name: African daisy, South African daisy, Veldt daisy (Osteospermum ecklonis cvs).

Plant type: small, short-lived (2–3 years) flowering perennial.

Height: around 50–75cm tall by up to 1.3m across, mounding or sprawling form.

Foliage: narrow to slightly elongated oval shape, around 8–15cm long, width variable. Soft feel, sometimes slightly furry, light to mid-green. Strongly aromatic.

Climate: arid, tropical, sub-tropical, warm temperate and sheltered areas of cool temperate.

Soil: adaptable to most types, tolerates poor soil including sandy or gravelly soil. Will not tolerate heavy, clay soil or wet soil conditions.

Position: full sun; will become very straggly in shade, and unlikely to flower.

Flowering: late winter through to summer. Spot flowers year-round. Flowers are a classic daisy type, around 8cm across on slender stems. Species form has white petals, darker beneath with blue/purple eye. Vast range of colours available in cultivars—white, mauve, purple, yellow and mixes. Some have “fancy” petals.

Feeding: application of quality controlled-release fertiliser at planting time and then annually in spring. Regular applications of seaweed-based product during growth and flowering periods.

Watering: little required once established. Supplementary watering during very hot or dry periods will improve performance.

Appearance and characteristics of osteospermum

Hailing mainly from South Africa and sometimes called African or cape daisies because of its daisy-like blooms, osteospermum can flower almost year-round. It copes well in heat and is not too fussed about the quality of soil it is grown in. It prefers full sun to encourage its daisy-like flowers to fully open, but can cope with some shade.

Depending on the variety, osteospermum is generally low-growing and can spread a metre or more, with evergreen grey-green foliage. Modern plant breeding has produced a gorgeous array of more compact plants with a vast selection of vibrant colours, including oranges, pinks, reds, carmines, terracottas, mauves, yellows, purples, whites and combinations. Some muted pastel tones make excellent decorator plants when teamed with other colours around a house. Many also boast a deep purple or blue “eye” (centre) that contrasts brilliantly with the outer petals, while others have yellow centres.

A popular newer variety is the buttery yellow and blue-centred Blue Eyed Beauty. Other osteospermums have pinched petal ends that give them a highly architectural look. These newer osteospermums tend to flower from spring to autumn, although some can flower as early as late winter.

macro image of a purple osteospermum daisy

Uses for osteospermum

Osteospermum can play a multitude of roles in a garden. The plants are stunning when massed, can be grown in pots and planters, work well as groundcovers to prevent weed growth, and shine in seaside gardens. It makes an excellent rockery plant, beautifully filling out the undulations between rocks. Most of the more compact, newer varieties are perfect for growing in pots and hanging baskets on patios, adding a fabulous splash of colour. Osteospermum also makes a wonderful cut flower for indoor display.

How to plant and grow osteospermum

  1. Plant your osteospermum in spring, summer or autumn. Water regularly when the plant is young. Once established, it will become quite drought hardy, although it will appreciate watering over particularly dry periods.
  2. Avoid watering to the point where the soil around the plant is sodden. Osteospermum roots are prone to rotting in excessively wet conditions.
  3. Feed with a slow-release fertiliser in spring.
  4. Liquid fertilise during the flowering season to encourage continuance of blooms.

Osteospermum copes with moderate frost but can be affected by extreme winters.

How and when to prune osteospermum

Osteospermum is best pruned of older foliage in early spring or autumn to eliminate leggy growth and to encourage fresh new foliage. Some gardeners like to snip off wilted blooms to extend flowing.

Diseases and pests

Osteospermum is affected by few diseases and pests, although it can attract snails. Laying snail bait will quickly fix the problem. In humid or wet conditions, grey mould can become a problem. This can sometimes be contained by spraying a fungicide.

How to propagate osteospermum

Growing osteospermum from seed

Some varieties can be grown from seed, but most people prefer buying seedlings or small plants.

Growing osteospermum from cuttings

New plants can be propagated from tip cuttings taken in mid to late summer.

If you like this then try

Lavender: long-flowering shrubs with scented foliage and flowers.

Chrysanthemum: showy daisy flowers on a perennial plant.

Hebe: long-flowering, easy-to-grow evergreen shrub.

Start planting today

Check out our huge range of plants now and get your garden growing.

 

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Health & Safety

Asbestos, lead-based paints and copper chromium arsenic (CCA) treated timber are health hazards you need to look out for when renovating older homes. These substances can easily be disturbed when renovating and exposure to them can cause a range of life-threatening diseases and conditions including cancer. For information on the dangers of asbestos, lead-based paint and CCA treated timber and tips for dealing with these materials contact your local council's Environmental Health Officer or visit our Health & Safety page.

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