Gazania (Gazania rigens) is a perennial plant from the daisy family (Asteraceae).
Although a low-growing species, Gazania stands out with its large and colorful flower heads attracting attention in every garden.
Long blooming season, adaptability, and almost a complete lack of care requirements are some other qualities that make Gazania a desirable and popular flower worldwide.
Name and Origin
Gazania grows naturally in southern Africa but has become domesticated in Australia, New Zealand, and parts of Southern Europe.
The German botanist Joseph Gaertner described the genus Gazania and named it in honor of the Greek humanist and translator Theodore Gaza.
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The species name, rigens, which means rigid, refers to the hard head that covers the fruit.
Sometimes you can find it under the name Treasure flower, or even the African daisy because of its homeland and flower shape.
Yet, the name African daisy is more common for Osteospermum – another plant from the Aster family.
Since it is salt-tolerant and can grow by sea, the plant is also named Coastal Gazania.
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Gazania rigens is a herbaceous plant that can reach only up to one foot in height and as much in width.
It has a large and branched root from which new shoots sprout, so it grows as a ground cover in its natural habitat, creating large mounds quickly.
What this plant lacks in size, it more than makes up with its vibrant blooms. Solitary, daisy-like flower heads, growing at the tips of the stem, stretch up to 4 inches in diameter!
They have a yellow, orange, bronze, or gold center (disc floret) around which brightly colored petals (ray florets) radiate. The ray florets appear in many colors: yellow, orange, gold, copper-red, white, and pink.
The multi-colored varieties with tiger stripes or dark spots at the base of each petal take the plant’s attractiveness to a new level.
The floral show begins mid-May and ends in October with the first cold fall days.
Pollinated flowers form achene containing several seeds.
Lanceolate, oblong leaves with bent edges grow directly from the root creating a dense ground rosette. The upside of the foliage is waxy, dark green, while the reverse is silverish and wooly.
How to care for Gazania
If this plant did not win you over with the long-lasting and almost unreal blooms, then its modest maintenance requirements will. Yet, to grow it successfully, you must fulfill a few conditions listed below.
Like other plants from the sunflower family, Gazania loves sunny places with as much daylight as possible.
This plant closes its beautiful flowers during the night and on cloudy days. You will notice a similar behavior if, by some accident, you plant it in a shady place.
Gazanias are not picky about their soil, as they will tolerate the ones with poorer quality. However, they are sensitive to ground that holds moisture for a long time because excess water causes rotting and the decay of the plant!
Therefore, they perform best in neutral, sandy soil with good drainage.
One of the advantages of this plant is that it does not need additional feeding! Yet, if you grow the plant in a container, it may benefit from potash-rich fertilizer in the spring or while the plant is blooming.
Gazania is quite a resistant species whose leaves are covered with a wax coating and will not be bothered by some drought.
Therefore, It is best to water it only when at least the top two inches of soil are dry.
In continental regions, heat-loving Gazanias grow as annuals since they can not survive outside winter.
So, if you do not live in USDA zones 9, 10, and 11, you should bring potted gazanias indoors during the winter, preferably in a place with around 50 F.
If you want to propagate gazania, you can choose one of the three methods below:
Sow the seeds early in the spring (some two to three months before the expected date of the last frost) indoors or directly in the garden after the danger of frost has passed.
Seedlings will appear in 7 to 14 days at 65 to 70F. When the new plants are big enough to handle, transplant them into individual containers or the garden at least 10 inches apart.
You could take four inches-long cuttings without flowers during the summer and put them in a porous substrate. If you keep the substrate moist, the cuttings will take root during the next two or three weeks.
You could dig large, branched gazania clumps from the ground in spring, divide them into several new plants, and plant them in the selected location at a distance of 10 to 12 inches.
Dividing is a reliable method of propagating the plant, but you can only use it in areas where gazanias grow as garden perennials.
- This gazania is a surefire winner in any flower bed due to its visual appeal and continual dependability. It boasts 4 inch flowers in a vast array of colors on a compact 8 – 10 inch plant which will also spread 6 – 8 inches.
- Gazanias grow as a perennial in USDA zones 8 – 11 reaching a low growing height of only 8 – 10 inches.
- You can grow gazania plants in clusters for a mass bedding ground cover or you can even use this gazania mix in hanging baskets or in patio containers which are in full sun. Gazania rigens is a native of South Africa that is easy and fun to grow.
- Flowers bloom in solid colors from bright yellow to orange, red, pink and white, or in wild color combinations with splashy stripes or rings of contrasting colors. Gazanias are considered an annual in the north but is a short-lived perennial in the south. If you deadhead the flowers and toss them where you want more, they will re-seed readily from their flower seeds.
- Sowing Rate: 2 – 3 seeds per plant. Gazania is a tough little plant that prefers full sun, will tolerate all soils and thrives with moderate watering. It will bloom profusely through fall, winter and into late spring in the south, then flower intermittently during the hottest months of summer before bringing forth another profuse flowering in the fall.
Do gazanias need to be deadheaded?
Yes, deadheading gazanias is recommended to promote continuous blooming and keep the plant looking neat and tidy. Deadheading involves removing spent flowers by cutting or pinching off the faded blooms. This encourages the plant to redirect its energy into producing new blooms instead of setting seeds. It also helps to prevent the plant from becoming too leggy or sprawling. Regular deadheading can extend the blooming season of gazanias and keep them looking their best.
Do gazanias bloom all year?
Gazanias are typically summer bloomers and will produce flowers from early summer to early fall. They may continue to bloom sporadically into the fall season if the weather remains warm. However, they are not known for blooming all year round, especially in areas with cold winters where they may go dormant or die back. It’s important to note that the blooming period of gazanias can vary depending on factors such as growing conditions and the specific variety of gazania.
Do gazanias like sun or shade?
Gazanias prefer full sun and thrive in hot, dry conditions. They require at least 6 hours of direct sunlight per day to grow and bloom properly. In fact, they may struggle to thrive and produce flowers in shaded or partially shaded areas. Gazanias are well-suited for planting in sunny spots such as rock gardens, borders, and containers. However, in extremely hot climates, they may benefit from some afternoon shade to prevent the plant from becoming stressed and wilted.
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