African Daisies are fantastic flowers. They bloom profusely over a long season, they’re easy to care for and will tolerate quite a bit of mistreatment, and over the last 25 years or so they’ve become extremely popular, especially as bedding plants. The more common genus of African Daisies, Osteospermum, is made up of perennials, but because they’re native to Southern Africa, they’re generally grown as annual flowers in most of the US.
Like many non-hardy perennials, African Daisies can be grown as a container plant and overwintered somewhere that is protected from the frost, and many Osteospermum enthusiasts swear by this method. However, because they require a great deal of sunlight, it is unlikely that they would do very well as an indoor plant year-round. Besides, who can resist setting pots of brilliant blooms all over the deck, porch, and patio?!
Last year’s sensation in 6-packs was Zion Copper Amethyst, and it’s back for an encore this season, along with an exciting newcomer: Blue-eyed Beauty. Also available as annual plant in 6-packs, this ravishing daisy doesn’t mind drying out in the summer sun, and like its cousin Zion will keep blooming all season as long as the flowers are cut or deadheaded promptly. No matter how hot and dry the weather gets, these African Daisies smile right through!
For some time we assumed that Osteospermum was a challenge to begin from seed. Perhaps it was because annual plants dominate the market! But in fact it’s surprisingly easy! If you want to try a seed variety, the Asti series won an All-American Selection, and has brilliant separate colors as well as a mix. Akila is another award winner, with soft yellow-eyed white blooms that complement every other color in the planter or vase.
Whether you choose plants or seeds, do make African Daisies part of your sunny garden this season. No other flower can match the sheer neon intensity of their petal colors. They hold up well in the vase, and make a showstopping container choice. Every garden needs one “wow” plant, and you can’t miss with African Daisies!