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What is an African Daisy?

Anna T.
Anna T.

The African daisy, belonging to the family dimorphotheca, is a brightly colored annual flower native to South Africa. Its blooms are daisylike and usually white, yellow, apricot, pink, or orange in color. These flowers grow to an average height of one and a half feet (46 cm), and the typical bloom size is two to four inches (5 to 10 cm) in width. The African daisy normally takes 10 to 30 days to germinate and blooms between April and August each year. Other flowers closely related to it are the arctotis, gazania, and gerbera daisies.

African daisies are normally planted in spring just after the threat of frost has passed for the season. They can also be started indoors in containers two months before the last frost and transplanted outside when the weather is warm enough. The ideal site for planting is in full sun with rich, well-draining soil and a neutral pH level. Climates with low humidity, hot days, and cool nights are considered most favorable for the African daisy. Weather conditions throughout much of the southwestern United States meets these requirements, making the area ideal for growing these flowers.

Man mowing the grass
Man mowing the grass

The recommended depth for sowing African daisy seeds is 1/16 of an inch (1.6 mm). Flowers should be spaced apart eight to ten inches (20 to 25 cm) so they won't crowd each other out once they begin to spread. Consistently moist soil is important, but over-watering should be avoided. Weekly watering is usually sufficient for African daisies, but more water may be needed if the weather becomes extremely hot and no rain falls for over a week. Once planted, the application of a general purpose fertilizer each month may also be beneficial.

Very little maintenance is needed on African daisy flowers because they are normally hardy plants that attract few pests. If an insect problem develops, it can usually be eliminated with insecticidal soap. Fungus might be an issue if too many dead or spent leaves are left on the plant, but fungicidal soap will take care of it in most cases. Mulching around the base of the flowers with organic compost is helpful for maintaining soil moisture and preventing weed growth.

African daisies are often popular choices for flower arrangements because of their bright, vivid colors. It is not uncommon to see these flowers displayed in rock gardens in addition to beds and borders. They will also do well as house plants if they are placed in an area that receives lots of sunlight.

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