The African Daisy (Osteospermum) is a half-hardy perennial or subshrub which is most commonly grown as an annual. It self-seeds, so if it is grown in a garden bed, you are virtually guaranteed of seeing them in that spot year after year.
African daisy is delightful as it comes in a variety of colours, so you can create a colourful garden with african daisies. They do not like extreme heat and will flower sparsely in hot weather. They usually flower en mass in winter, providing a nice prelude to spring.
Common Problems with African Daisy
- Diseases such as root or stem rot, powdery mildew – These can be prevented by not over-watering, reducing humidity or ensuring good air circulation around the african daisy plant.
- Attack by pests eg. whitefly, fungus gnats, or aphids – Spray with pesticide if this happens. However, it is uncommon if african daisies are in good health.
Common Mistakes with Osteospermum
- Over watering – African daisies are drought-tolerant when established, so just a moist soil will suffice.
- Planting in an overly shady spot – This may result in less flowers.
- Not pruning regularly – The african daisy plant may become leggy if not pruned regularly. Trim it to encourage its lush green leaves to grow closer to the ground.
Watering: African daisies are drought-tolerant once they are established. Therefore, is important to keep the soil evenly moist but not soggy. Overwatering may result to fungal disease or rot.
Light: African daisies prefer a sunny to lightly shaded location and will flower best in full sun.
Temperature: Osteospermums prefer cooler weather. They are not fond of the combination of hot and dry. During periods of drought, it is common for the plants to gradually cease blooming and go dormant. Keep them well-watered during this time. They will bounce back in cooler months.
Soil: The african daisy prefers lightly acidic soil which is well-drained.
Fertiliser: African daisies are not fussy once established, so a light feed once a year usually suffices.
Pruning: If you want your african daisy to look a healthy lush green, trim it regularly to remove skinny stems. That will help to maintain it as a neat small bush.
Propagation: You may grow African daisies from cuttings. Just take a short cutting with stem and leaves, dip it into rooting hormone and grow it in moist soil. Alternatively, you can also grow african daisies from seeds. Let the seeds to dry on the flowers, then harvest them at the end of the growing season directly from the flower heads. The seeds need light to germinate, so cover the seeds with a thin layer of moist soil either directly where you want them to grow or in starter pots since they transplant easily.