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 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.
|Botanical Name||Gazania rigens|
|Common Names||Treasure flower, African daisy|
|Plant Type||Warm-weather perennial, usually grown as an annual|
|Mature Size||6 to 10 inches tall and 10 inches wide|
|Sun Exposure||Full sun|
|Soil Type||Sandy, dry, well-draining soil|
|Soil pH||Neutral (near 7.0 pH) but will tolerate acidic and alkaline soil|
|Bloom Time||Late spring and early summer|
|Flower Color||Red, orange, yellow, white, pink, variegated|
|Hardiness Zones||9 to 10; grown as an annual elsewhere|
|Native Area||South Africa|
How to Grow Gazanias
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. Deadhead gazania flowers to extend the blooming time of the plants.
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.
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.
Potting and Repotting
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.
Growing in Containers
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.
Growing From Seeds
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.
Although normally grown from commercial seeds or nursery seedlings, it is possible to propagate gazanias by taking basal cuttings in 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), and plant them in pots filled with good-quality potting soil. Keep the basal cuttings growing indoors in a bright location, then transplant outdoors in spring.
Varieties of Gazania
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.
- Gardeners who live in areas with short growing seasons should try gazanias from the Chansonette series, which flower very early.
- Love the classic look of white flower gardens? The Creamsicle gazania cultivar sports ivory petals with a simple bronze center disk.
- Another early performer is the Daybreak series, which yields large flowers quickly from seed in sunset colors or stripes.
- Gardeners who work long daytime hours will appreciate that the paprika petals of Sunbather's Sunset stay open into the evening, rather than shutting up tight like most varieties do at twilight.
- The monochromatic gold petals and disks of Sundrop gazanias will bring a ray of sunshine to any flower garden.
- Some of the brightest gazania flowers grow in the Tiger Stripe Mix, which produce red or hot pink stripes on white or gold petals.
- Kiss Bronze Star gazanias are a riot of color when they unfurl two-tone petals of orange and gold.
- Get double the beauty when you plant Talent Mix, which has silver foliage that contrasts vividly against bright flowers.