If you love Daisies as much as I do you might want to take a look at Osteospermum flowers. This bright and colorful flower is from Africa and enjoys the cool weather, similar to Snapdragons or Pansies. It is also known as African Daisy, Cape Daisy, or Blue-eyed Daisy. This plant has grown in popularity in the last decade. They are used in flower beds and can be grown as a border or in containers.
There is some confusion as there is an annual of this plant called Dimorphotheca. You will find many Osteospermums are labeled as annuals but they are really tender perennials. This means they will not survive persistent frosts, but they can be propagated by cutting or overwintered in a frost-free environment. So if you are in a cooler part of the country consider them an annual.
Osteospermums come in many varieties and colors including single and double-flowers. These flowers grow 15 to 24 inches tall. What has captured my attention in the last few years is all of the new varieties breeders have been introducing. The Zion varieties are inspired by the distinctive colors of Zion National Park in Utah. Zion Purple Sun will be available next year as well as Morning Sun, and Magic Yellow. Another new variety is 4D™ Violet Ice 20, which has large-flowered white petals with a dark violet, anemone-type center floret which creates a bicolor effect. 4D™ Harvest Moon is another new Osteospermum. This plant has light orange petals with a dark orange floret center. Other interesting varieties include FlowerPower™ Spider Osteospermum and New Serenity™ Coral Magic.
Since the plant does come from Africa, it requires condition similar to Africa, which is a location, where the plant can get full sun. The plant does well in well-drained soil. Water the plant when the soil is dry. Once they are established Osteospermums are drought tolerant. Since they do enjoy cooler temperatures, plant them in the spring, but protect them from any potential frost. They will bloom in the spring through fall. They might languish when the weather is too hot but when it gets cooler in the fall they will revive.
It is good to fertilize Osteospermum plants to encourage growth. Remove the flowers when they diminish to stimulate more blooms. Osteospermum flowers close up at night, so don’t get concerned if you see them folding up when the sun goes down. These plants are hardy for Zones 10-11.
Let us know your experience growing these plants.