Dictionary of Flowers: Osteospermum (Cape Daisy, African Daisy)

The stunning Osteospermum (African or Cape Daisy). Image used under a Creative Commons licence with the kind permission of Adam Wyles and Flickr

The stunning Osteospermum (African or Cape Daisy). Image used under a Creative Commons licence with the kind permission of Adam Wyles and Flickr

  • Osteospermum
  • Common name: Cape daisy, African daisy
  • Family: Asteraceae
  • Category: frost sensitive annual, perennial in USDA zones 9 -11
  • Height: 18" to 36"
  • Width: 12" to 36"
  • Sun
  • Blooms: spring to early fall
  • Growth habit: clumping. Used as a filler in container combinations
  • Maintenance: easy
  • Soil: average to slightly fertile, well drained. Water regularly if grown in containers. Drought tolerant
  • Garden uses: containers, hanging baskets, mixed border, rock garden, indoor plant
  • Diseases: disease resistant
  • Pests: aphids

Osteospermum is a genus of daisy like frost tender perennials, grown as garden annuals.

There are lots of hybrid varieties grown for their striking colors and interesting petal shapes, some single blooms, some semi double with a ruffled center.

Cape Daisy's eye can be several colors, among them a deep azure blue and flowers range in color from white, to pink and yellows and shades of purple and burgundy. 

They open during the day and close at night and during cloudy days. 

The leaves are lance shaped, blue-green. 

Most of the osteospermum hybrids can tolerate a light frost. 

They are native of Africa.

Osteospermum requires full sun and average to slightly fertile soils. They can handle sandy soils and are somewhat drought tolerant once established.

Deadheading to the stems prolongs blooming period. Container plants should be watered on a regular schedule for best blooming.

Fertilize every other week with a bloom boosting formula. They bloom better when evenings are cool.

Excessive drought will make plants go dormant and stop blooming until they recover. Pinching back before bloom helps maintain the plant bushy.

IWILLWRITECAPTION. Image used under a Creative Commons licence with the kind permission of NAMEOFFLICKRUSER and Flickr

Cape daisy is available in nurseries during spring and summer. Since most varieties of osteospermum are hybrids, seeds saved and grown from them will result in plants that don't look like the parent plant.

Seeds are available for two varieties, 'Passion Mixed' and 'Asti' series. They need to be sown indoors in moist growing mix in late winter.

If kept at around 65F, they will germinate in about two weeks. Do not cover seed. When seedlings have developed true leaves, transplant into individual pots. Wait to plant outdoors until all danger of frost has passed. 

Osteospermum hybrids can be propagated by softwood cuttings in spring. Select non-blooming cuttings, about three inches long. Remove bottom leaves, dip in rooting hormones and place cutting in moist sterile potting mix.

Cover to maintain moisture. In bright light, they will produce roots in about four weeks. Cuttings can be taken to overwinter as indoor plants during winter.




IWILLWRITECAPTION. Image used under a Creative Commons licence with the kind permission of NAMEOFFLICKRUSER and Flickr

Osteospermum is not prone to disease or pests if grown in well drained soils in full sun. 

Popular varieties:

  • Osteospermum hybrid 'Symphony' series - available in shades of yellow and orange with a deep blue eye. Compact variety up to a foot tall
  • Osteospermum hybrid 'Soprano' series - compact variety, white to purple flowers. Spoon shaped petal varieties available in this series
  • Osteospermum hybrid 'Flower Power' series - double varieties available as well as spoon shaped petal varieties. Large color range
  • Osteospermum hybrid 'Sunadora' series - eight varieties, vivid colors. Colors range from bright yellow to white, pinks, orange shades and purple
  • Osteospermum 'Akila' - can be grown from seed. Compact, reaching a foot and a half. Available in lavender, white and purple
  • Osteospermum 'Side Show Copper Apricot' - pink to apricot petals. Single blooms on a compact plant about fourteen inches tall
  • Osteospermum 'Zion' series - intense colors, some bicolored flowers. Ten to sixteen inches tall, good branching habit

IWILLWRITECAPTION. Image used under a Creative Commons licence with the kind permission of NAMEOFFLICKRUSER and Flickr

Full List of Dictionary of Flowers Entries

Annuals For Containers

Perennials For Containers

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