How to Grow and Care for Osteospermum
Updated: Jun 12, 2022
African daisies (Osteospermum spp.) look a lot like common daisies, with petals radiating around a center disk. They are even members of the Asteraceae family, along with Bellis perennis daisy and zinnias. But their vivid colouring is not at all like the classic daisy. In fact, when African daisies were first introduced to the market, some people thought they must have been dyed. The center disks of the flowers even can look like they're coloured with metallic paint. Petals can be smooth and flat like a typical daisy, or they can radiate out in a tubular spoon shape. The leaves vary by variety; they can be lance-like or broadly ovate and smooth, toothed, or lobed.
These flowers are best planted in winter when night temperature reaches 20°C, and they have a fairly quick growth rate, blooming about three months after sprouting from seeds. These tender perennials are planted as annuals.
African daisy, cape daisy, osteospermum
1–1.5 ft. tall, 1ft. wide
Purple, pink, yellow, orange, white, bicolour
African Daisy Care
African daisies work equally well in the ground or in containers. Blooms peak in late spring to early summer. Because African daisies stop blooming during hot spells, they are best grown in combination with other plants that will have visual interest in the peak of summer.
These flowers are fairly low-maintenance when grown in an environment they like. Make sure they have lots of sun and soil with good drainage. Plan to water and fertilize regularly throughout the growing season (spring to fall). Also, deadhead the plants (remove the spent blooms) to encourage reblooming.
African daisies bloom best in full sun. They can tolerate partial shade, but this will likely cause them to produce fewer flowers. The blooms generally open in response to light and close at night and during overcast weather. However, some newer cultivars, including '4D Pink', '4D Silver', and '4D Berry', remain open at night.
African daisies prefer organically rich soil with sharp drainage and a slightly acidic soil pH. Add compost or other organic matter to the soil at the time of planting to improve drainage and add nutrients.
Although somewhat drought-tolerant once established, African daisies still need at least 1 inch of water per week to grow their best. During periods of drought or intense heat, the plants will slow down and go dormant. Aim to keep the soil evenly moist. But don't overwater, as soggy soil can encourage diseases such as root rot.
Temperature and Humidity
African daisies prefer mild weather, which is when they bloom most profusely. They can handle nighttime temperatures down to about 40 degrees Fahrenheit, though frost will damage or kill them. Humidity typically isn't an issue for them, as long as they have good air circulation and proper watering and soil drainage.
These flowers like a lot of food to grow and bloom at their best. Besides mixing compost into the soil, apply a balanced fertiliser for flowering plants monthly throughout the growing season. Potted plants may require even more frequent feeding.
How to Get African Daisies to Bloom
African daisies generally don't need a lot of encouragement to bloom, but like many flowering plants, regular deadheading of spent flowers will prompt additional blooming. Several conditions can cause reduced blooming:
Poor nutrition: If your plants don't bloom well, try increasing their feeding to every two to three weeks. Potted plants in particular require more fertiliser.
Extreme heat and extreme dryness: Try shading your plants and giving them extra water if they don't bloom adequately.
Insufficient light: African daisies generally tolerate partial shade, but too little sun will result in leggy plants that don't bloom very much.