The Delight of Indigenous Daisies

The Delight of Indigenous Daisies

Picture a daisy and immediately the classic white daisy comes to mind, with its sunny centre and ring of single white petals.

But the daisy family (Asteraceae) is huge, one of the largest in the plant kingdom. The white daisy is just a small cog in a huge daisy chain of multi-coloured relations including Arctotis, Coreopsis, Dahlia, Gaillardia, Gazania, Helichrysum, Rudbeckia, Senecio, Ursinia and Zinnias.

South Africa has a wealth of indigenous daisies that are hardy, drought tolerant and grow easily in most parts of the country. They are an excellent choice for low maintenance gardens.

Different varieties flower at different times so it is possible to keep a daisy chain going throughout the year.

Spring daisies
For a spring daisy garden plant Namaqualand daisies (Dimorphotheca), gerberas, gazanias, arctotis, and Felicia. While most daisies grow in full sun, Felicia can take semi-shade. They like soil that drains well, either garden soil mixed with compost for good drainage, or more sandy soil.

Summer daisies
Felicia, gazanias and arctotis will continue to flower through the summer. During this midsummer in-between time when summer annuals are looking ragged, gazanias are excellent for filling in the gaps.

These hardy perennials come in a huge range of colours and are utterly dependable in hot, dry weather. Being low growers (20cm to 25cm high), Gazanias work well as edgings for beds, in rockeries, or in containers and hanging baskets.

Look out for the Daybreak gazanias that are available in a range of nine colours, from white and pink to a sunny yellow and bronze. The striped gazanias, the Tiger Mixed, are also spectacular.

If you favour the more classic white daisy look, opt for the Gazania Daybreak 'White' or the Gazania Kiss White, with silver foliage.

Autumn daisies
Autumn is Showtime for the wide range of Osteospermum. The new Osteospermum 'Serenity' develops into a compact, upright bush (30 -40 cm high), with glossy dark green leaves. Compared to its predecessors, this new variety is hardier; a tough, no fuss garden plant with a better shape. It comes in an array of colours; dark lavender, lavender frost, pink, purple, and white.

There is also the Osteospermum Chameleon that starts with white buds but as the flowers open they turn pink with a beautiful purple centre. Unlike other more upright Osteospermum, it has a spreading growth, up to 15cm high and 40cm wide. It flowers almost all year round and is drought tolerant, growing easily in full sun or semi-shade.

Winter daisies
The Osteospermum flower into winter until spring along with the African daisy (Dimorphotheca spp) 'Silver Hills', Namaqualand daisies, Euryops, and Ursinia.

Most of these varieties are available as seed except for the Osteospermum 'Serenity' and 'Chameleon' which are available from leading garden centres.

For more information phone the BallStraathof customer care line: 0861-blossom (or 0861-256776) or email .

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