How to Grow and Care for Osteospermum

Osteospermum

Quick Overview

Plant Type: Perennials
Family: Osteospermum - African Daisies
Sun Exposure: Full Sun
Watering: Regularly, Moist and well-drained soil
Colors: Purple, white, pink, yellow, orange
Size: 1–3 ft. tall, 1–2 ft. wide
Hardiness Zones: 10-11
Soil Type: Chalk, Loam, Sand
Soil pH: Acidic
Propagation: Softwood cuttings in late Spring
Toxicity: Nontoxic

Summertime is a time to start planting flowers, and you can’t miss with the beautiful Osteospermum. It comes in a large variety of colors, and even different shapes. Osteospermum are native to Southern and Eastern Africa and the Arabian Peninsula. They are also known as African Daisies.

Osteospermum are a great summer plant, they love light. They thrive in sunny to light shade environments. Remember to water new plants and remove dead blooms consistently every day. You should also use abundant liquid fertilizer every two weeks. For the soil, use a mix of organic and crushed rock to facilitate water drainage. Plant most African Daisies in the spring after the last frost.

Osteospermum is part of the classification called subshrubs. This because of the way they grow in bunches. Some Osteospermum bloom every year in southern climates. It is common in areas that do not have persistent frosts. These hardy and colorful flowers attract butterflies, and are easy to plant and care for.

Osteospermum

How To Grow Osteospermum

Growing Osteospermum can be easy if you follow a few guidelines. Make sure the soil is well-drained and that your flower bed is in full sun. Having dense soil or soil with little drainage can be a problem. It may contribute to mildew and mold developing within the root system. This can damage your entire Osteospermum garden. Be careful that you are not overwatering. Too much water may also contribute to the destruction of your plants. Osteospermum don’t tolerate frost well.

If frost occurs, make sure you cover outdoor plants. You will need to plant most Osteospermum every year since they are an annual and will not overwinter well. If you plan to grow from seed, be sure to start them at least six to eight weeks before the last frost. If purchasing established plants, plan to buy them in the early spring.

Make sure to wait until the last frost to plant them in the ground if possible. If you plan to propagate your plants at the end of the summer; plan to do so in the early fall, before the first frosts begin. When planting, space the plants eleven inches or more apart in each direction. You may also wish to plant in pots with adequate drainage. Supplement the existing soil with organic fertilizer before planting and use a liquid fertilizer every couple of weeks.

Osteospermum

Propagation

If you wish, you can propagate Osteospermum each year. This will preserve your favorite plants over the winter. Take cuttings at the end of the summer season from shoots that are non-flowering. Use a sharp knife and cut a 45° angle about 3-6 inches from the tip. Remove the bottom leaves to make room for the new roots to form. Use a rooting gel or hormone rooting powder containing a fungicide. This will prevent the end from rotting.

Next place the cuttings into a small container. Use a soilless potting mix or cutting compost. It’s best to create a small hole before placing the cuttings into their new home. Many people recommend using a paintbrush or pencil to create a hole deep enough that you can put the cutting in. This will prevent the growing agent from rubbing off. Keep cuttings in a warm and well-lit area, but not in direct sunlight. You may wish to cover cuttings with plastic to create a greenhouse effect. Be careful to not over-water or under-water. Transfer new plants when they have established roots. You’ll want to put them in separate containers. Add multi-purpose compost to keep them until spring.

africa daisy

General Care for Osteospermum

Watering

Established Osteospermum plants are resistant to drought and neglect. Water new plants to make them stable. Water daily in the absence of rain. Feel the soil to measure dampness. If the soil is too damp, it may cause rotting at the root.

Pruning

Remove any spent blooms each day. This will ensure that the plants continue to flower for most of the summer. Pinch or cut the dead flowers off with pruning shears. Make sure you cut the entire flower off. Pinching only the petals off will not work. Pruning in this manner will help the plant produce more flowers. By cutting off the dead flowers, you are sending a signal. You want the plant to think that it needs to create more flowers so that it can spread more seeds. Of course, you don’t need seeds. You want beautiful flowers all summer long. The plant doesn’t need to know that you are thwarting its efforts to reproduce!

Fertilizer

Use generous liquid fertilizer once every couple of weeks.

Soil

Make sure the soil provides adequate drainage and is dense in nutrients. You may decide to add an organic fertilizing top soil before planting outside. Some places have soil which is very dense and clay-like. This may prevent your flowers from thriving. Try mixing crushed rock and organic soil into your flower beds. This will help break up the dense clay and give your plants enough water. It will prevent the soil from staying damp and growing mildew and mold.

Light

These plants love bright sun. Place in full sun to light shade.

Osteospermum Plant Details

Osteospermum have many different shapes and colors. They often have a similar shape and form to a traditional daisy. But, Osteospermum varieties often have gradient-colored petals in a multitude of colors. The traditional Daisy has a yellow center. The centers of African Daisies are often dark colored. Some Osteospermum even have a unique petal shape.

Each petal resembles the curled tube-like bloom of a calla lily. These flowers grow in bunches or small shrubs and their leaves resemble a smooth-edged mint plant. Osteospermum is not a fragrant flower, so you may want to add other flowers to have some fragrance. The many fun varieties of Osteospermum pair well with simple pansies. You may also consider planting some cute Dianthus, for a wild-grass look. Another great option is Heliotrope with its larger leaves and bunches of blooms.

africa daisy

Osteospermum Varieties

The traditional Osteospermum was usually white or peach colored. Yet, over the years, many other colors have emerged. Now you can now find African Daisies of every color of the rainbow. You can find many flowers which resemble a traditional daisy. These have white petals and purple centers. Others are pink and purple with dark blue centers. Still others have pink and red centers that complement petals of the same color.

One example of an African Daisy with traditional daisy shape are the 10-inch tall Mara. It has peach petals and pink centers. The 14-inch ‘Serenity Lavender Frost’ is another example. It has white petals and a purple center. The ‘Peach Symphony’ has soft apricot colored flowers. The ‘Serenity Purple’ has pinkish-purple petals and a yellow and blue center.

Some Osteospermum resemble the shape of a small sunflower. They have shorter petals and a larger center. Others have curled petals with a spoon-shaped tip. One example of these unique flower is the ‘Flower Power Spider White’ Osteospermum. It has white petals and centers of yellow around blue and purple. Another example is the ‘Soprano Vanilla Spoon’. It has white petals and yellow centers.

Osteospermum

Some Extra Tips

As with many plants, the threat of pests is a concern. You may discover that earwigs will eat the petals of the flowers. Or you have caterpillars or slugs which will eat the leaves. Butare the biggest threat. They can destroy your entire flower garden.

Aphids are also known as greenflies or blackflies. There are hundreds of species of these small bugs. They can occur on most plants. They vary in size and shape. They need warm and they thrive outdoors in spring and summer.

Aphids are a problem in large numbers. This is because they tend to transfer viruses from plant to plant. Viruses can cause a range of symptoms. Some of these include distorted or streaked foliage, and inhibited growth. There is no cure for plant viruses, so you must destroy infected plants. Aphids also secrete a sticky substance known as honeydew. This can lead to a growth of black mold. The black mold will stop leaves from photosynthesizing and will inhibit plant growth.

Birds feed on aphids and small numbers are rarely a problem. Wasps also feed on aphids, so leaving them around your flower beds is a good idea. Encourage birds and ladybugs into your garden by building a birdhouse. You may even want to add a trellis with dense shrubs and climbing plants.

If you notice aphids, wash them off with a jet of water from a hose. You can buy live predators such as ladybugs to deal with aphid infestations. Another option is organic and chemical free sprays.  Plant extracts or gentle soaps make up these sprays.  You spray them on the aphids. Because they are gentle and organic, you may need to apply again.

Osteospermum

The Takeaway

When you want a beautiful flower garden without the hassle, Osteospermum is a great flower to plant. African Daisies come in a variety of fun and beautiful varieties. The traditional Daisy form of Osteospermum is sure to please. But the variations with the thin, curled petals are definitely a show-stopper! Growing Osteospermum is easy and the flowers can last all summer long. Be sure to follow these tips so that you can enjoy these flowers year after year.