How to Grow and Care for African Daisy

African daisies (Osteospermum spp.) have petals that radiate out from a central disk, similar to ordinary daisies. They belong to the same family as zinnias and shasta daisies, the Asteraceae. However, their vibrant colour is nothing like the traditional daisy. In fact, several consumers believed African daisies must have been coloured when they were initially brought on the market. Even the flower's core disks can have the appearance of being painted with metallic paint. Petals may either radiate out in a tubular spoon form or be smooth and flat like those on a regular daisy. The leaves may be lance-shaped or widely oval, smooth, toothed, or lobed, depending on the cultivar.

These flowers grow rather quickly, flowering around two months after emerging from seeds, and are best planted in the spring once the risk of frost has gone. These delicate perennials, which are reliably hardy in zones 10 to 11, are grown as annuals in other temperate zones. The majority of African daisies marketed in the marketplace are cultivars and hybrids developed from O. ecklonis, O. jucundum, and a few other species, despite the fact that the genus has more than 70 species.
Care for African Daisy
Whether planted in the ground or in containers, African daisies thrive. In late summer to early autumn and again in late summer to early spring, blooms are at their height. African daisies are best cultivated in conjunction with other plants that will have visual attraction in the height of summer since they cease flowering during hot periods.

When cultivated in a setting they like, these flowers need very little upkeep. Make sure the soil has adequate drainage and receives a lot of sun. Plan to consistently water and fertilize throughout the growth season (spring to fall). In order to promote reblooming, you should also deadhead the plants (remove the wasted flowers).

In broad sunlight, light African daisies bloom best. They can withstand some shade, but they'll probably have fewer blooms as a result. The flowers often respond to light by opening, and they tend to shut at night and during cloudy conditions. Some more recent cultivars, such "4D Pink," "4D Silver," and "4D Berry," stay open late.
African daisies prefer acute drainage, biologically rich soil, and a pH that thrives just slightly acidic. When planting, add compost or other organic matter to the soil to enhance drainage and supply nutrients.

Even after being established, African daisies still need at least 1 inch of water every week to develop to their full potential. The plants will slow down and enter a dormant state during times of drought or extreme heat. The soil should be kept equally wet. But be careful not to overwater, since moist soil might promote illnesses like root rot.

Thermodynamics and Humidity
The time of year when African daisies bloom most abundantly is when the weather is moderate. Although frost may harm or kill them, they can withstand overnight lows of roughly 40 degrees Fahrenheit. For the most part, they don't have a problem with humidity as long as they have excellent air circulation, appropriate watering, and good soil drainage.

To develop and blossom at their best, these flowers need a lot of sustenance. Along with incorporating compost into the soil, monthly flowering plant fertilizer applications should be made throughout the growth season. Potted plants may need to be fed even more often.

African Daisy varieties
There are several species and variants of African daisies, including:

Osteospermum 'Passion Mix': This little plant grows to a height of about a foot and has flowers that are different shades of pink, purple, rose, and white with blue centers. This type is well renowned for its ability to withstand heat and is simple to cultivate from seed.
Osteospermum "4D": Despite the heat, these blooms are known for their fluffy, tufted centers and stay open all day. The plants may reach a height of 14 inches.
Osteospermum "Flower Power Spider White": This plant produces flowers with unusual, spoon-shaped white and lavender petals with a gold center. The plants reach a height of around 14 inches.
Osteospermum 'Lemon Symphony': The butter-yellow petals of this plant feature an orange eye and a purple core. This cultivar reaches a height of around 14 inches.
The stunning light apricot blooms of the Osteospermum 'Sideshow Copper Apricot' variety have a purple disk in the center. It may reach a height of 12 inches.

Developing African Daisy Plants
The majority of African daisy kinds are hybrids, thus seeds collected from the plants won't produce genuine offspring. However, you may simply spread your plants by taking cuttings. To accomplish this:

First, put a sterile seed-starting mixture onto a shallow tray. gently dampen the mixture.
Then, using a pair of sharp bypass pruners, cut plant cuttings 2 to 3 inches long that contain at least two pairs of leaf nodes. Remove the lower leaves and pinch off any bloom buds that are already present.
Plant the cut end in the seed-starting mixture after dipping it in rooting hormone.
Place the tray somewhere with strong indirect light and temperatures between 60 and 68 degrees Fahrenheit. Cover the tray with a plastic dome.
The plants should be well-rooted enough to be transplanted into separate pots filled with potting soil or into an outdoor garden area in four to six weeks.
African Daisy Seed Growing Instructions

You may be able to get seeds for some of the pure species kinds of African daisies, including Osteospermum ecklonis, but hybrids offered by garden centers are often not easily accessible as seeds. How to start the plants from seeds is as follows:

Directly plant the seeds in a container filled with regular potting soil eight to ten weeks before the final winter or spring frost. Cover the seeds very loosely (light is necessary for the seeds to germinate). Till they begin to sprout, keep the seeds wet. Up to the time for outdoor planting, the seedlings should be grown in bright indirect light. Before putting indoor-started plants outside, they should be hardened off for a full two weeks. As soon as possible after planting, pinch back the seedlings to promote bushier growth.
Typical Pests & Plant Illnesses
If the plants are maintained stress-free in the appropriate habitat, there aren't many pests or illnesses that harm African daisies. However, be alert for fungi infections like gray mold in wet or humid environments. 1 The symptoms of such illnesses include damaged or discolored foliage. If required, apply a fungicide and work to increase the airflow around your plant, which may help prevent fungal illnesses.

Whiteflies and aphids are two common plant pests that may cause trouble, particularly for stressed plants.

2 However, if discovered early enough, they may be managed with an insecticidal soap or chemical spray.

Methods for Making African Daisies Bloom
The most of the time, African daisies don't need much encouragement to bloom, but similar to many other flowering plants, routinely removing the wasted blooms will stimulate new blossoming. Reduced blooming may result from a number of factors:

Poor nutrition: Try increasing your plants' feeding schedule to every two to three weeks if they aren't blooming properly. Particularly in pots, plants need extra fertilizer.
Extreme heat and dryness: If your plants aren't blooming properly, try shading them and giving them more water.
African daisies can usually take some shade, but too little sun will make the plants leggy and produce fewer blooms.
Typical Issues With African Daisies
Although African daisies are generally trouble-free plants, they might sometimes have the following concerns in addition to the usual pest and disease problems:

Animal Injury
African daisies are particularly favored by groundhogs, yet there is no apparent explanation for this. African daisies are a favorite food of these hooved animals in areas where deer are present. Strong fence is the sole kind of real defense against animals that are fed.

Midsummer's Blooms are Less Abundant
African daisies typically bloom continuously from spring through autumn in colder areas, but in really hot and humid locations, you could notice that your plants lie dormant during the warmest weeks of July. This is typical, and when the weather cools, the plants will often recover. The ideal place to grow African daisies in these areas is in some shade.
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