Gazania is a warm-weather perennial with large composite flowers in vibrant shades of yellow and orange. Because of its daisy-like flowerheads it is sometimes referred to as the African daisy, though other plants—especially those of the Osteospermum genus—also use that name.
With its vibrant color spectrum, this low-maintenance flower is excellent for brightening up hard-to-landscape spaces. The plant is a prolific bloomer that attracts butterflies.
Plant gazania in mid- or late spring when the soil has warmed. They'll bloom about 12 weeks after planting from seed. When grown in zones 9 to 11, they may perform as perennials, blooming through fall and winter and into spring. The flowers can bounce back from light frosts.
|Common Name||Gazania, treasure flower, African daisy|
|Botanical Name||Gazania rigens|
|Plant Type||Perennial, herbaceous|
|Mature Size||1 ft. tall, 1 ft. wide|
|Soil Type||Sandy, well-drained|
|Soil pH||Acidic, neutral|
|Bloom Time||Spring, summer|
|Flower Color||Red, orange, yellow, white, pink|
|Hardiness Zones||9—11 (USDA)|
|Native Area||South Africa|
Gazania flowers are ideal for any gardener who is looking for an eye-catching 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. Their preference for well-drained soil makes them a natural choice for a rock garden.
Plant young gazanias about one foot apart, allowing them spread properly.
Deadhead gazania flowers to extend the blooming time of 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 six to 12 inches.
Gazanias do best in sandy, well-draining soil but will tolerate many soil types and conditions. Its preferred pH is neutral (near 7.0 pH) but it will also tolerate acidic soil up to 5.8 and alkaline soil.
The leathery foliage of gazania plants is a clue to the high drought tolerance of this flower. Let the soil dry out between waterings.
Temperature and Humidity
Gazanias like hot, dry conditions and work well with similarly adapted flowers, such as vinca, cosmos, verbena, or globe amaranth.
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': 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' series: Silver foliage which contrasts vividly against bright flowers
- 'Tiger Stripes': Red or hot pink stripes on white or gold petals
If you're growing gazanias as a perennial, prune them 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.
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.
- Using a sharp knife or pruners, 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 gazanias from seed, start them indoors about 10 weeks before the average last frost date 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. Keep the area moist (not wet) until germination takes place.
Potting and Repotting Gazanias
Gazanias shine in containers on your deck or patio, where they will attract butterflies for up-close observation. Growing gazanias in pots is also an excellent solution if your soil is heavy.
If desired, plant gazanias at the edge of the pot so their trailing habit softens the container's edges. Plant your gazanias in containers with a companion planting of lantana, which has similar growing conditions and complementary colors.
Gazanias 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 in the fall before the first frost. Plant it in pots filled with potting mix and large enough to accommodate the roots. Make sure the pots have large drain holes. Cut the plants back by about two thirds. Keep the pots in a cool, sunny window. Water when the soil surface is dry. Gazanias go dormant and won't need much water but 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 rot. Leaf spot and powdery mildew can be a problem in humid environments. Mealybugs sometimes infest the plants.
Are gazanias invasive?
Gazanias are considered invasive in Australia. In California, Gazania rigens is not classified as invasive, unlike its close cousin, G. linearis. Most gazania seeds sold by nurseries and seed companies are G. rigens but it's always a good idea to double-check which species you are buying.
Do gazania flowers close up at night?
The flowers are light-sensitive and don't open at night or on cloudy, overcast days.
Do gazanias self-seed?
They often self-seed, but if you don't want to leave it up to chance, collect the seeds after they have fully dried and start them under controlled conditions in seed pots or flat in the spring.
Perry, Leonard. Gazania. University of Vermont.