Felicia

Felicia flowers

A low growing bright tender annual from South Africa. One of the few true-blue daisy type flowers available. A popular container plant which needs warm, sunny and dry conditions to thrive.

Family: Asteraceae (daisy)
Botanical Name: Felicia
Common Names: Blue marguerite, blue daisy, kingfisher daisy

Foliage: Low growing domes of grey-green foliage.

Flowers: Attractive daisy like flowers on long stems, with slender blue petals arranged around a yellow central disc.

Flowering Period: June to September.

Soil: Well-drained, fertile soil (chalk, sand or loam). Any pH. Avoid waterlogged conditions.

Conditions: Best in full sun. Grow in a west or south facing aspect.

Habit: Bushy.

Type: Half-hardy Annual.

Origin: South Africa.

Hardiness: Tender in the UK. Protect from frost.

Planting and Growing Felicia

Grow in any ordinary well-drained garden soil or compost in a sunny, sheltered position. Provide shade from afternoon sun in very hot weather.

Drought resistant once established.

Excellent for pots and containers or in raised beds and dry walls.

They can be grown from seed but the easiest way is to purchase spring bedding plants from garden centers and nurseries. Do not plant outside until late spring, once all danger of frost has passed in your area.

Taking Care of Felicia

Shelter from strong winds. Do not over water.

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

Felicias are quite robust and can often be over-wintered successfully outside in mild areas, provided the soil is well drained and the plants are protected from winter wet.

Pruning

Dead-head by lightly trimming away the first flush of dead flowers to encourage a second display.

Pests and Diseases

Generally disease free. Can be affected by Aphids.

Propagating Felicia

Sow seeds in trays of seed compost under glass in late winter to early spring and keep at a temperature of 16°C (61°F). Once large enough to handle, prick out into pots or modules. Keep at 10°C (50°F). Harden off, before planting out in mid to late spring.

Cuttings can also be taken in spring from over-wintered plants.

Popular Varieties of Felicia

Most garden centers and nurseries sell Felicia plants ready to plant out in spring.

Felicia amelloides has sky-blue flowers above mid-green foliage. Height from 10-18in (25-45cm). For sale at Van Meuwen. Seeds available from Mr Fothergills. Cultivars include: 'Santa Anita' with large blue flowers and 'Variegata' with cream edged leaves.

Felicia bergeriana is a dwarf species around 6in (15cm) high with grey-green foliage and steel-blue flowers.

Felicia Felicitara Blue is a compact variety that needs no dead heading and is heat tolerant. Height to 1ft (30cm). For sale at You Garden.

Felicia Heterophylla is a compact reliable variety with blue flowers. Height to 10in (25cm).