A family of daisy-like annual wildflowers that produce a mass of attractive daisy-like flowers, from late spring until the first autumn frosts. The perennial form 'Osteospermum' was previously listed under the genus Dimorphotheca, which now only includes the annual species.
Family: Asteraceae (daisy)
Botanical Name: Dimorphotheca
Common Names: Star of the Veldt, Cape marigold, African daisy, Cape daisy.
Foliage: Deciduous, elongated, irregularly lobed green leaves.
Flowers: Brightly coloured daisy-like flowers with a darker centre. In shades of white, cream, yellow, apricot, pink and orange.
Flowering Period: June to September.
Soil: Well-drained soil (chalk, clay, sand or loam). Acid, alkaline or neutral pH. Avoid waterlogged conditions.
Conditions: Best in full sun. Grow in a west or south facing aspect.
Habit: Spreading to prostrate.
Origin: Southern Africa.
Hardiness: Semi-hardy in UK.
Dimorphotheca thrives in a warm sunny situation in a well-drained sandy loam. They are intolerant of damp wet conditions and flower poorly in shade. The flowers close up during dull weather and at night.
Suitable for sunny borders, bedding, dry walls and dry south-facing slopes. Most effective when planted in large drifts. Good drought tolerance.
Do not over water. Feed only occasionally as over fertilisation can lead to excessive leafy growth and fewer flowers.
Deadhead to extend the flowering period.
Slugs may attack young leaves.
Does not transplant well so Dimorphotheca are best sown where they are to flower. Sow in prepared ground at the end of April. Thin seedlings to a spacing of 8 to 10in.
Most modern hybrids are based on two species: D. calendulacea and D. aurantiaca. Height from 12 to 16in (30 to 40cm). Due to the popularity of the Osteospermum species, the seeds of annual Dimorphotheca are rarely available in UK garden centres, although they can often be found online at Dobbies, Suttons, and other outlets.
Dimorphotheca aurantiaca produces large daisy-like flowers in a range of colours with dark centres.
Dimorphotheca barberiae is a low spreading plant with aromatic, lance-shaped leaves and rose-purple flowers . Height to 18in (45cm), spread to 24in (60cm).
Dimorphotheca calendulacea is an erect bushy plant with narrow leaves. Orange, yellow or white flowers in july-September. Height and spread to 12in (30cm).
Dimorphotheca ecklonis (Cape marguerite) is a bushy plant with lance-shaped leaves. Pink and dark blue flowers in July-August. Cultivar 'Prostrata' is mat-forming. Height and spread to 24in (60cm).