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Osteospermum ecklonis (photo courtesy of Rob D. Brodman)
Osteospermum ecklonis (photo courtesy of Rob D. Brodman)

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Zone
Zones 8, 9, 12-24
Full Sun
Full
Regular Water
Moderate

Osteospermum ecklonis

African Daisy

Perennials, Flowers

OSTEOSPERMUM

Woody-based perennials native to South Africa; closely related to Dimorphotheca and often sold as such. Mounded or trailing in habit, bearing a profusion of daisylike flowers over a long season; blossoms are more profuse during cooler parts of bloom period. Grow them as summer annuals in areas beyond the hardiness range, as winter annuals in hot desert regions. Narrowish oval leaves are 2–4 in. long, smooth-edged or with a few large teeth. Flowers of most kinds open only in sunlight, but many have a second color on the backs of rays that shows on half-open flowers during overcast weather.

These tolerate drought and neglect but they look better with good garden soil and irrigation. Tip-pinch young plants to induce bushiness. Deadheading produces more blooms. Cut back old, sprawling branches to the young side growth any time from late summer to midautumn. Mass along driveways or paths or use in borders, rock gardens, or containers. Types that spread by rooting stems are good on slopes.

Osteospermum ecklonis

Grows to 2–5 ft. tall and 2–4 ft. wide. Long stems bear 3-in. flowers with dark blue centers and rays that are white above, lavender-blue on backs. Blooms in spring.

‘Lavender Mist’. Grows to 1 ft. high and 15 in. wide; 3-in. flowers open white, age to soft pale purple. Blooms from midspring until fall.

‘Passion Mix’. Compact growth to 1–1 1/2 ft. high and about as wide, with 2–2 1/2-in. flowers in a variety of colors (pink, rose, purple, white), all with sky blue centers. Blooms throughout the year, more heavily in spring and fall. Blossoms stay open in low light better than those of many nonhybrid varieties.

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