African Daisy: How to Grow This Flowering Plant

By: C. Colston Burrell  | 
Several orange African Daisy plants blooming outside.
African Daisies, native to South Africa, are as pretty as they are hardy.

The African daisy, scientifically known as Osteospermum, is a vibrant and eye-catching flower that has captured the hearts of gardeners and flower enthusiasts alike. Native to the sunny landscapes of South Africa, this hardy plant has traversed the globe, adorning gardens with its spectacular array of colors.

This flower is a close relative to the blue eyed daisy, the cape daisy, and the South African daisy. In this article, we'll not only explore what makes the African daisy special, but we'll also explain how to grow and care for African daisy plants.


A Closer Look at African Daisies

African daisy flowers stand out with their unique floral structure. Each flower comprises a central disc, often a contrasting shade to the petals, which can be simple or double-layered in some varieties. These plants typically grow to about 20-60 cm in height, with spoon-shaped leaves that form a lush backdrop to the vibrant blooms.

The native species has pearly white flowers centered with steel-blue and encircled with a narrow, yellow band. The flowers are held well above the plant, which forms a compact mound. The leaves are a handsome shade of grayish-green that combines well with other colors in the garden. Hybrids with flowers up to 4 inches in diameter have brought warm colors — yellow, orange and pink flowers — as well as cooler tones like purple flowers.


African daisy varieties are as diverse as their color palette. For instance, the 'Voltage Yellow' boasts bright yellow petals that seem to capture the essence of sunlight, while 'Serenity' offers a more subdued elegance with its lavender hues. Each variety not only differs in color but also in the size and shape of the blooms, making the African daisy plant a versatile choice for gardeners seeking variety.

Blooming Periods

In its native South Africa, the African daisy bursts into bloom when the spring rains come. However, in a controlled garden, the plant blooms all summer. A tender perennial, it is grown most commonly as an annual. Like many of the plants in the daisy family from South Africa, it's tough enough to live in hot, dry conditions, but a modicum of moisture will bring out stellar blooms.

Bright sunny days and cool nights are ideal. On dull days and at night, arctotis closes its flowers. The plant needs full sun and will tolerate lots of abuse. Richer soil and moderate moisture will encourage bushier growth. Fertilize only lightly. Where summers are very hot, arctotis may cease flowering but will resume again when cooler weather prevails.


When and Where to Plant African Daisies

The African daisy is propagated by seed primarily, although cuttings of choice kinds will root quickly. It's best to sow indoors 6 to 8 weeks prior to last frost at 65 degrees Fahrenheit. Seeds tend to germinate in 15 to 20 days.

Plant African daisy plants 8 to 10 inches apart at the same depth they were growing in the flat or pot. For later flowers, sow outdoors after danger of frost has passed and the soil has warmed somewhat. Thin garden seedlings to 8 to 10 inches apart. Plant arctotis in beds or borders where full sun is available. They will tolerate growing in dry rock gardens for early season bloom. Potted African daisies will also bloom indoors in cool sunrooms or greenhouses.


When planting African daisies, consider the timing and spacing. Planting in early spring, after the threat of frost has passed, is ideal. Space the plants about 20-30 cm apart to give them room to grow and spread. This spacing ensures adequate air circulation, which is vital for preventing fungal diseases.

Growing African Daisies

To ensure your African daisies flourish, understanding their growing needs is crucial. These flowering plants thrive in well-draining, nutrient rich soil, as waterlogged conditions can lead to root rot. They prefer a sunny spot in the garden, although they can tolerate light shade.

However, for the best blooms, abundant sunlight is recommended. In terms of climate, most African daisies grow best in mild temperatures but can withstand brief periods of frost, unlike some other plants.


African Daisy Care and Maintenance

Watering and fertilizing are key components of African daisy care. These plants prefer a moderate watering schedule - allowing the soil to dry out slightly between waterings promotes healthy root growth. Over-watering can cause root rot, so it's essential to keep the soil evenly moist.

Fertilize your African daisies once per month during the growing season with a balanced, water-soluble fertilizer. This regular feeding will support robust growth and vibrant blooms.


Pruning is another important aspect of maintenance. Deadheading, or removing spent flowers, encourages the plant to produce more blooms. Regularly check for pests such as aphids and treat them promptly to prevent infestations. Also, be on the lookout for common diseases like powdery mildew, which can be managed with proper air circulation and fungicide treatments if necessary.

Why Incorporate African Daisies?

African daisies are not just beautiful; they are also versatile in garden design. Their range of colors and forms makes them perfect for various garden styles. They can create stunning borders, enliven container gardens, or add splashes of color to rock gardens.

When planning your garden, consider pairing African daisies with plants that complement their growth habit and color palette. For a vibrant display, combine them with other sun-loving plants like lavender or salvia. In a container garden, mix African daisies with trailing plants like petunias for a multi-dimensional display.


Embracing the African Daisy Plant In Your Garden Beds

The African daisy is a remarkable addition to any garden, offering a blend of aesthetic beauty, diversity, and ease of care. These flowers not only bring a burst of color to your outdoor space but also allow gardeners, whether novices or experts, to experiment with various gardening styles. From creating vibrant borders and mixed beds to enhancing container gardens, the African daisy is versatile.

Their relatively straightforward care requirements make them a joy to cultivate. By providing the right soil, ample sunlight, and regular watering, these plants will reward you with a long-lasting display of blooms. Regular maintenance, including deadheading and monitoring for pests, will keep your African daisies healthy and vibrant.


The African daisy is more than just a plant; it's a testament to the beauty and diversity of nature. Its ability to adapt to different environments and its stunning variety of colors make it a favorite among gardeners worldwide. As you embark on your gardening journey, consider the African daisy as a symbol of joy and resilience, a flower that not only beautifies your garden but also enriches your experience as a gardener.

This article was updated in conjunction with AI technology, then fact-checked and edited by a HowStuffWorks editor.


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