Updated: Oct 7, 2022
Photo Credit Deb Carr
The African Daisy offers an eye-catching summer show used as ground cover in pots or an open border. Flowers can be semi-double or single. Today, I'm showcasing the spectacular "Whirligig" African Daisy first. The difference with this daisy is petals resemble rays and are spoon-shaped at the margins. Colours can be purple, white, grey/white, or tan and cream. At night, they close. The photo featured in this post is of my own Whirligig African Daisy that I propagated from a mature plant.
Large perennial flowers that resemble daisies are called Osteospermum.
Early to late spring is the best time to plant young seedlings outdoors. Once the last frost has passed, you can do so. To prevent drying out, new plants should receive regular irrigation and general fertiliser to aid in their growth.
Osteospermum blooms vigorously and with vivid colour from mid-spring through the entire summer. A sunny location will provide the best display because their flower heads will open wide in the brilliant sun. The photo below is another one of my beautiful African Daisies.
Propagation - softwood
In the spring and early summer, take softwood cuttings. Cleanly cut stems up to 10 cm long, remove lower leaves, pinch the tip out, dip the stem in rooting hormone, fill a container or pot with suitable compost, make holes around the edge, and plant the cuttings. Water well, cover with a polythene bag, and place somewhere warm. Remove the bag twice a week to allow the cuttings to breathe. Once firmly planted, harden off and transplant into separate pots while boosting airflow to encourage the growth of the leaves. Regularly remove rotten, decaying, or dead cuttings.
Propagation - semi hardwood
From late summer to mid-autumn, semi-hardwood cuttings are obtained from the current year's growth; the cuttings have a firm bottom and a soft top. Cut a piece of compost to the size of a pot with a sharp knife, removing the lowest leaves before dipping the cut end in rooting hormone. Set the cut piece around the edge of the pot, watering well to keep it moist until it roots, and place it behind a glass panel but in partial shadow.
Osteospermum seed collection is not advisable. Since most Osteospermums are hybrids, the offspring won't be true to the parent plant. As a result, the offspring can never be named the same as the parent plant because they will never be identical. Read More
Photo Credit Deb Carr
Maintenance of African Daisy
Even while these plants can tolerate dry conditions, you shouldn't let them entirely dry out, especially within two weeks of planting. Make cautious not to overwater them, though.
The plant will provide the best display if you regularly feed it with a balanced fertiliser (weekly to monthly) from spring to autumn.
Overwinter in a covered area (such as a cold frame or frost-free glasshouse) to avoid the worst winter weather. Alternately, you may treat it as an annual and collect cuttings yearly to grow on in a covered area before planting out the following spring.
Aphids could be an issue. Verticillium wilt and downy mildew are potential threats. Osteospermums are also reported to be impacted by the lettuce mosaic virus.
Regular deadheading will help to extend flowering. To keep the plant looking neat, you might remove a portion of the flowering stem during deadheading.
To reshape the plant, prune down ragged or damaged stems in the fall or early spring.