Osteospermum

Osteospermum flowers

A colourful group of attractive frost-tender evergreens. These free-flowering perennials are topped by masses of large daisy-like flowers from late spring right through to the first frosts. Also known as Cape Daisy or African Daisy because many of the species originate from Southern Africa.

Family: Asteraceae (daisy)
Botanical Name: Osteospermum
Common Names: Cape daisy, desert daisy, African daisy

Foliage: Evergreen, simple or lobed, green leaves. Often aromatic.

Flowers: Large showy daisy-like solitary flowers, in a range of vibrant colours. Most species have single flowers but new strains with attractive double and semi-double blooms are now available.

Flowering Period: Summer to early autumn (June-September).

Soil: Well-drained, light fertile soil (chalk, sand or loam). Acid, alkaline or neutral pH. Avoid waterlogged conditions.

Conditions: Full sun is essential. Best grown in a south facing aspect, in a sheltered possition.

Habit: Spreading, low growing.

Type: Rhizomatous perennial.

Origin: South Africa.

Hardiness: Most species are half-hardy in the UK. Protect from frost.

Planting and Growing Osteospermum

Harden off and plant out in the spring, once all danger of frost has past. Grow them in full sun, in a warm sheltered spot, in a light, moderately fertile, well drained soil.

The plants are frost tender and should be protected from frost and cold winds. Most varieties are best treated as annuals or alternatively grown in pots and containers, which can be moved indoors in the autumn. However, there are few strains that are reasonably hardy in the UK such as O. jucundum - a low-growing species that provides good ground cover.

Taking Care of Osteospermum

Water regularly during dry weather and water container grown plants daily.

To improve flowering, apply an all purpose plant food for flowers (slightly higher in phosphorus and potassium) every few weeks, or use a slow release form. Do not over fertilize.

Pruning

Deadhead regularly to extend the flowering period.

Cut back hardy varieties in the spring to remove winter damage and encourage fresh new growth.

Pests and Diseases

Young growth is susceptible to attack by aphids. Can be affected by verticillium wilt.

Propagating Osteospermum

Semi-hardwood cuttings can be taken of non flowering shoots from mid to late summer. Root in a free draining compost using a propagator or greenhouse. Note: Plants protected by Plant Breeders' Rights (PBR) may not be propagated without a licence.

Popular Varieties of Osteospermum

Formerly classified as Dimorphotheca (although this designation is still used for the annual species). Average height 1ft (30cm). The daisy like flowers are 2 to 3in (5 to 7cm) across.

Semi-Hardy Varieties

Osteospermum 'Hopleys' is a semi-hardy spreading perennial (down to around -5°C) with olive-green leaves and purplish-pink flowers, with a white base and dark yellow central disk.

Osteospermum In The Pink is a semi-evergreen perennial. It is hardier than most and will produce a mass of hot pink flowers. Long-flowering and prolific. For sale at Crocus.

Osteospermum jucundum is a reasonably hardy form that will eventually form a spreading ground covering mat. Height and spread to 1ft (30cm). They may become invasive in sunny beds and borders but on a sandy bank they will spread freely and provide good ground cover. Hardy down to around -5°C, so they will still need protection in severe winters and colder regions. For sale at Crocus. The variety 'compactum' has purplish pink flowers. Height to 1ft (30cm), spread 18 to 24in (45-60cm). For sale at Van Meuwen.

Osteospermum 'Snow Pixie' has pure white flowers with a dark centre. Happy in hot, dry, neglected conditions. Long flowering period from June-October. Ideal ground cover for suppressing weeds. For sale at Van Meuwen.

Osteospermum 'Tresco Purple' produces masses of striking purple flowers over a long period. For sale at You Garden.

Osteospermum 'White Pixie' has beautiful pure white daisy-like flowers from early summer through to autumn. One of the hardiest osteospermums available. For sale at Gardening Express.

Tender Varieties

Osteospermum 'African Sun' is a bushy free-flowering form with eye-catching golden yellow and vibrant orange bicoloured blooms. Height up to 18in (45cm). For sale at Thompson & Morgan.

Osteospermum Akila Series are tender, bushy to mound-forming, evergreens with toothed mid-to dark green leaves and single flowers in a wide range of shades. Ideal for containers and borders. Good cultivars include:

  • Akila Berries & Cream Mixed produces daisy-like flowers in shades of white, purple and pink. For sale at Crocus.
  • Akila Grand Canyon Mixed produces daisy-like flowers in shades of yellow, pink, purple and mauve. For sale at Crocus.
  • Akila Sunset Shades produces flowers in a mix of rich brown, red, yellow and orange shades. For sale at You Garden.

Osteospermum Astra® Series is a compact, upright, borderline hardy evergreen, with aromatic, toothed spoon-shaped, dark green leaves. Flowers from late spring into autumn. Good cultivars include:

  • Astra White has white flowers with purple centres. For sale at Crocus.
  • Astra Yellow has yellow flowers with darker centres. For sale at Crocus.

Osteospermum 'Buttermilk' has yellow daisy-like flowerheads, fading to white at base, with a bluish-purple central disk. Height to 18in (45cm).

Osteospermum 'Blue Eyed Beauty' has lovely buttery yellow daisy blooms with a contrasting blue eye, from June to September. For sale at Gardening Express.

Osteospermum 'Bronze Medallion' has flowers in shades of pink and orange. They can often survive the winter in sheltered mild areas. For sale at Van Meuwen.

Osteospermum 'Erato Double Ice Blue' has nearly-white single petals which contrast with the blue-edged double centre. For sale at Thompson & Morgan.

Osteospermum 'Falling Stars' is a unique cascading/ trailing variety in a sunshine blend of five vivid colours. Ideal for baskets, window boxes and containers. For sale at Van Meuwen.

Osteospermum Flowerpower® Series is a compact, tender, evergreen with toothed oval, mid green leaves. Flowers from June to September. Height 1ft (30cm), spread 18in (45cm). Good cultivars include:

  • Lavender Pink has lavender-pink ray of petals with a central disk of purple and gold. For sale at Crocus.
  • Ice White has flowers with a circlet of pure white petals, surrounding a deep blue/purple central eye. For sale at Crocus.

Osteospermum 'Glistening White' is a classic, silky, pure white flowering form. For sale at Thompson & Morgan.

Osteospermum 'Nairobi Purple' has striped pink and purple flowers, flushed white on the reverse.

Osteospermum 'Pixie Bronze' produces pink-bronze flowers from late May to September. For sale at Van Meuwen.

Osteospermum Purple Sun produces two tone (orange-purple) daisy-like flowers over a long season. For sale at Crocus.

Osteospermum

Osteospermum Sunny® Series are tender, compact bushy, free flowering evergreen perennials with mid-green leaves and single flowers in a wide range of shades. Ideal for containers and borders. Height up to 12in (30cm), spread up to 20in (50cm). Good cultivars include:

  • Sunny Mary with magenta/pink blooms. For sale at Crocus.
  • Sunny Gaia with rich, velvety, burgundy blooms. For sale at Thompson & Morgan.
  • Sunny Glory with large citrus-yellow flowers. Available from Beekenkamp.

Osteospermum 'Whirligig' has unusually shaped white daisy flowers with crimped and spoon-shaped petals, blue beneath, and a blue disk.

Osteospermum 3D® Series is a tender, compact, mound-forming strain with colourful daisy-like flowers, comprising a single row of outer petals surrounding a set of double, tubular, central petals. A wide range of colours are available, including: '3D Yellow', '3D Purple', '3D Pink', (available at Crocus), '3D Berry White' and '3D Violet Ice' a white form with light purple centre petals. For sale at Van Meuwen.