The gazania flower, named after the 15th-century Greek-Italian scholar Theodorus of Gaza, is a warm weather perennial native to South Africa that is usually grown as an annual. It is sometimes referred to as the African daisy, though other plants—especially those of the Osteospermum genus—also use that name. It is a low-maintenance flower that is excellent for brightening up hard-to-landscape spaces. The look-at-me color spectrum available in gazanias may not blend into the look of a Victorian cottage garden, but butterflies will flock to these prolific summer bloomers.
Gazania flowers are a member of the daisy family Asteraceae, genus Gazania. Also known as the treasure flower, gazanias will bounce back from light frosts. When grown in zones 9 to 11, they may perform as perennials.
Plant gazania in mid or late spring when the soil has warmed. They'll bloom about 12 weeks after planting from seed.
|Botanical Name||Gazania rigens|
|Common Name||Treasure flower, African daisy|
|Mature Size||6–10 in. tall, 10 in. wide|
|Soil Type||Sandy, dry, well-drained|
|Soil pH||Neutral (near 7.0 pH) but will tolerate acidic and alkaline soil|
|Bloom Time||Late spring, early summer|
|Flower Color||Red, orange, yellow, white, pink, variegated|
|Hardiness Zones||9—10 (USDA)|
|Native Area||South Africa|
Gazania flowers are ideal for any gardener who is looking for a high-impact bloom that doesn't require much maintenance. Gazania plants don’t mind the heat that radiates off the pavement, so you can include them in your sidewalk garden or alongside your driveway.
Gazania is easy to grow to a fault: This ornamental is considered weedy in some parts of Southern California and Australia. Plant young gazania plants about a foot apart, allowing them to reach their eventual spread of 10 inches without the crowding that promotes mildew.
Gazania may be considered invasive in some areas of the world. In the United States, California does not classify Gazania rigens as invasive but the state does consider its close cousin, Gazania linearis, to be invasive.
Gazania flowers thrive in full sun. Morning or afternoon shade may cause the flowers to stay closed for a portion of the day and may cause the plants to grow lanky, exceeding their normal height of 6 to 10 inches.
Gazanias do best in sandy, well-draining soil but will tolerate many soil types and conditions.
The leathery foliage of gazania plants is a clue to the high drought tolerance of this flower. Let the soil dry out between waterings. Overwatering can lead to root rot and promote fungal diseases.
Temperature and Humidity
In their native habitat of the rocky cliffs of South Africa, gazanias grow in soils of low fertility. Compost and supplemental fertilizer aren’t necessary.
The daisy-like flowers of gazania come in a variety of hot hues on the color wheel— red, orange, and yellow. Many flowers feature solids and horizontal or vertical variegation on petals, sometimes with splashes of white and bright pink.
- Chansonette series: Flowers early, ideal for short growing seasons
- Creamsicle: Ivory petals with a bronze center disk, ideal for white flower gardens
- Daybreak series: Yields large flowers quickly from seed in sunset colors or stripes
- Kiss Bronze Star: Two-tone petals of orange and gold
- Sunbather's Sunset: Paprika petals which stay open into the evening, rather than shutting tight as most varieties do at twilight
- Sundrop: Monochromatic gold petals and disks
- Talent Mix: Silver foliage which contrasts vividly against bright flowers
- Tiger Stripe Mix: Red or hot pink stripes on white or gold petals
If you're growing gazanias as a perennial for your landscape, prune it in late winter or early spring. During the plant's second season and if necessary, you can cut back the foliage to a couple of inches above the ground. Deadhead gazania flowers to extend the blooming time of the plants.
Although normally grown from commercial seeds or nursery seedlings, it is possible to propagate gazanias by taking basal cuttings in the fall and overwintering them indoors.
- Take several cuttings of areas around the base of the plant where new growth is forming (each with three to five shoots).
- Plant them in pots filled with good-quality potting soil.
- Keep the basal cuttings growing indoors in a bright location.
- Transplant the cuttings outdoors in spring.
How to Grow Gazanias From Seed
If you grow your gazania flowers from seed, start them indoors about 10 weeks before the last frost in your area. Cover the seeds with a thin layer of soil and keep them moist throughout the germination and transplant stage. Harden them off and set them outdoors two weeks after the average last frost.
If you prefer no-fuss seed starting, try sowing gazania seeds directly in the garden. After all danger of frost has passed, sprinkle the seeds in an area of raked soil. Scatter handfuls of soil to cover the seeds, as darkness helps to trigger germination.
Potting and Repotting Gazanias
Gazanias shine in containers on your deck or patio, where they will attract butterflies for up-close observation. If desired, plant gazanias at the edge of the pot so their trailing habit softens the container's edges. Their preference for sharply drained soil makes them a natural choice for a rock garden, either in a container or on the ground. If your soil is heavy, plant your gazanias in containers with a companion planting of lantana, which has similar growing conditions and complementary colors.
Gazania plants are adaptable enough to overwinter indoors so you won’t need to purchase new plants or seeds for the next growing season. You can dig up the plant at autumn's end while they are still in bloom, bringing the beauty of the outdoors inside. However, the plant won't be able to maintain its flower output indoors, so cut the plant back and keep it in a cool, sunny window. Water when the soil surface is dry. Check the plants regularly for pests like mealybugs that may proliferate on indoor specimens.
Common Pests & Diseases
Gazanias are largely trouble-free, although overly moist soils can lead to root and stem rot. Leaf spot and powdery mildew can be a problem in humid environments, and mealybugs sometimes infest the plants.