The gazania flower, named after the 15th-century Greek-Italian scholar Theodorus of Gaza, is a low maintenance South African annual that will brighten up your hard-to-landscape spaces. The look-at-me color spectrum available in gazanias may not blend into a Victorian cottage garden, but butterflies will flock to these prolific summer bloomers.
Get to Know Gazania Flowers
Gazania flowers are a member of the daisy family Asteraceae, genus Gazania.
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 ten inches.
The leathery foliage of gazania plants is a clue to the high drought tolerance of this flower. Leaves are green to gray in color, and grow in a lance shape. The daisy-like flowers grow in a variety of hot hues on the color wheel, like red, orange, and yellow. Many flowers feature solids and horizontal or vertical variegation on petals, sometimes with splashes of white and bright pink.
How to Plant Gazania Flowers
Gazania is easy to grow to a fault: this ornamental is considered weedy in some parts of Southern California and Australia.
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 past, sprinkle the seeds in an area of raked soil. Scatter handfuls of soil to cover the seeds, as darkness helps to trigger germination.
Plant young gazania plants about a foot apart, allowing them to reach their eventual spread of 10 inches without crowding, which promotes mildew. If your soil is heavy, plant your gazanias in containers with a companion planting of lantana, which has similar growing conditions and complementary colors.
How to Care for Gazania Flowers
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. Deadhead gazania flowers to extend the blooming time of the plants.
Gazania plants are adaptable enough to overwinter indoors so you won’t need to purchase new plants or seeds for the next growing season. 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.
Garden Design With Gazania
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.
Gazanias shine in containers on your deck and patio where they will attract butterflies for up-close observation. Plant gazanias at the edge of the pot, where their trailing habit will soften container edges. Their preference for sharply drained soil makes them a natural choice for the rock garden. Gazanias also tolerate salt, so try them in your seaside garden.
Gazania Varieties to Try
- Chansonette Series: Flowers very early for those with short growing seasons
- Creamsicle: Ivory petals with a simple bronze center disk
- Daybreak Series: Early large flowers from seed in sunset colors or stripes
- Kiss Bronze Star: Two-tone petals of orange and gold
- Sunbather’s Sunset: Paprika petals stay open even after sunset
- Sundrop: Monochromatic gold petals and disks
- Talent Mix: Foliage appears particularly silver in contrast to bright flowers
- Tiger Stripe Mix: Red or hot pink stripes on white or gold petals creates a riot of color in your landscape