A family of sun-loving tender annuals from Southern Africa, bearing striking daisy-like flowers with large vividly zoned centres.
Family: Asteraceae (Daisy family)
Botanical Name: Venidium
Common Names: African daisy, African marigold, Monarch of the veldt, Namaqualand daisy.
Foliage: Long, deeply lobed, grey-green leaves.
Flowers: Large flowers, measuring up to 4in (10cm) across, with white or orange ray petals and shiny, dark brown to black centres, encircled by a dark zone.
Flowering Period: Mid-June until late autumn.
Soil: Moist but well-drained, fertile soil (chalk, clay, sand or loam). Acid, alkaline or neutral pH.
Conditions: Best in full sun. Grow in an east, west or south facing aspect.
Habit: Broadly spreading, with erect, branching stems.
Type: Half-hardy Annual.
Origin: Southern Africa
Hardiness: Tender in the UK. Protect from frost.
This easy to grow annual flourishes in a well-drained, loamy soil, in a warm sunny position. Makes an excellent border filler or container plant. Monarch of the veldt looks best when planted in large drifts.
The blooms often close up in dull weather.
Long lasting as cut flowers.
Water regularly during dry weather and water container grown plants daily.
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.
Deadhead regularly to extend the flowering period.
Pull up and discard plants to the compost heap at the end of the season.
Generally pest and disease free.
Sow seeds at the beginning of April under-glass, at a temperature of 16°C. Prick the seedlings out into pots, then grow on and harden-off before planting out about 12in (30cm) apart, in early May.
In milder regions seed can be sown directly in a prepared bed, in late spring. Gradually thin to about 12in (30cm) apart.
Venidium Fastuosum has large, orange flowers with purple-black zones and shiny black centres. Straw, orange and cream hybrids are available. Height to 2ft (60cm). Variety 'Jaffa Ice' produces orange and white semi-double flowers, with a large purple to black centre. For sale at Thompson & Morgan.