Growing African Daisies.

Latest Update 6th October 2016.

African Daisy
  • Binomial Name:                                      Osteospermum x hybrida.
  • Family:                                                   Asteraceae. 
  • Classification:                                         Evergreen perennial.
  • Garden bed type:                                     Drip line irrigated. 
  • Recommended soil pH:                            5.5 - 6.5.  
  • Plant Spacings (centres):                         2000mm.
  • Climate:                                                  Warm Temperate.
  • Geography:                                             Southern Hemisphere. 
Notes.
  • My original African Daisies were bought over 15 years ago.   They are extremely hardy and tolerate neglect.
  • They grow rapidly as a ground cover in winter and flower profusely in late winter and spring.  
  • They get straggly in summer and go dormant to cope with the high temperatures and dry conditions.
  • I trim the plants back after flowering and, if I need new ones, take cuttings at the same time.  They are perennial in our climate and regrow every year with very little attention.
  • I grow them next to Marguerite Daisies because they require similar conditions and flower at the same time.  They look great together.
  • African daisies are not usually effected by insect pests and diseases in my garden.
Growing Conditions:
  • Full sun. 
  • Frost tender.  
  • Minimise soil disturbances to maintain a natural soil structure.  
Feed the Soil.  
  • In September, remove old mulch, fallen leaves and other decaying organic material.  Dispose of them in the compost heap.   
  • Apply a 60mm top dressing of home made compost and cover with fresh straw mulch.
Growing Instructions  
  • They can be propagated from softwood cuttings on a mature plant in spring.  
  • I cut off shoots about 100mm long and strip them of their leaves until there is only one small leaf cluster left at the top of each cutting.
  • I push these cuttings 50mm into the compost version of my Mini Ecobeds, water them in and forget them until Summer when they are ready to plant out.
  • Move some of the mulch in the prepared bed to one side and dig a hole twice as big as the new plant's root ball.  Place the plant in the hole and back fill with compost.  Water it in well and then allow the drip irrigation to take over. 
  • They must be kept well watered during the summer months when the weather is hot and windy. 
  • As soon as the first flush of flowers die back, trim the plant to encourage a second showing of flowers. 
  • Spray the foliage every month with aerated compost tea to help feed the plant and help resist pests and diseases.
Organic Pest Control.
  • My African Daisies have been pest and disease free for many years, but can be effected by the following:-
  • Caterpillars.  
    • When mixed with water, Bacillus thuringiensis becomes a potent (organically certified) killer of butterfly caterpillars.  It is sprayed onto the plants leaves, and when ingested, kills them by releasing toxins into their gut.  They stop feeding and die within a few days. 
    • I use aerated compost tea as a foliar spray on all my ornamental plants.  I don't claim this is as effective as the bacillus, but after one year using this spray, I seem to have less pests of any kind on my plants.   
  • Aphids (greenfly). 
    • I usually just rub them out when I find them with my fingers, but if there are lots of them, I remove them with a jet of tap water.
    • I spray my African Daisies with aerated compost tea every month, and I am sure this increases the plants resistance to aphids, but I still get some on the new shoots in between sprays.
  • Slugs and Snails.
    • Snails love the shelter of an African Daisy.  They tend to feed on fallen leaves and other debris more than the plants themselves, and I dont really regard them as a pest in this situation.
    • However, from time to time I lay organically approved iron chelate baits to keep them under contol and protect surrounding plants.
  • General:
    • Regular foliar sprays of aerated compost tea boost the natural defences of African Daisies by colonising the leaf surfaces with beneficial microbes.  These microbes defend the plant against airborne pests and diseases.
    • Similarly, proper soil preparation including regular applications of home made compost boosts the community of beneficial microbes, which defend the plants roots against plant pathogens.