How to Grow African Daisy — Osteospermum

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Osteospermumm — commonly called African daisy — is grown for its showy daisylike flowers in shades of yellow, white, or pink. Osteospermum makes an eye-catching summer display.

Osteospermum is closely related to Dimorphotheca. Both share the common names African daisy, Cape marigold, and star of the veldt.

Osteospermum has a spreading habit. It is well-suited as a groundcover in sunny, dry areas. It grows well in average, well-drained soil and can tolerate drought.

There are about 70 species in the genus. All are evergreen in Zones 9 to 11.

Purple Osteospermum flowers

Get to know Osteospermum

  • Plant type: Shrubby perennials or annuals
  • Growing zones and range: Zones 9 to 11
  • Hardiness: Not frost tolerant
  • Height and width: 12 to 24 inches (30-61cm) tall or taller depending on variety; plant spread via rooting stems
  • Foliage: Medium green, narrow oval leaves with smooth edges 2 to 4 inches long.
  • Flowers: Profusion of daisylike flowers open only in sunlight. Petal-like ray florets surround a dense cluster of disk florets that produce seeds.
  • Bloom time: Midsummer to fall.
  • Uses: Borders, mass plantings, slopes
  • Common name: Groundcover, mixed beds and borders, containers
  • Botanical name: Osteospermum
  • Family name: Asteraceae
  • Origin: South Africa

Where to plant Osteospermum

  • Plant Osteospermum in full sun
  • Osteospermum will grow in average, well-drained soil.
  • Osteospermum grows best in regions with a long growing season. Plants thrive in heat and tolerate dry soil. They do not grow well where summer is hot, humid, and rainy.
Osteospermum jucundum
Osteospermum jucundum

When to plant Osteospermum

  • Sow seeds indoors 6 to 8 weeks before the last frost in spring at 60° to 65°F (15.6-18°C). Barely cover the seeds.
  • Germination takes about 2 weeks.
  • In Zones 9 and warmer, seeds can be sown directly in the garden after the last frost.

Planting and spacing Osteospermum

  • Space Osteospermum 12 to 18 inches (30-45cm) apart

How to water and feed Osteospermum

  • Give Osteospermum regular to moderate water. Mature plants can withstand drought.
  • Fertilize lightly in spring with an all-purpose fertilizer

Osteospermum care

  • Deadheading spent flowers will prolong flowering.

Osteospermum pests and diseases

  • Osteospermum is usually trouble free.
Flowers of Osteospermum ecklonis
Flowers of Osteospermum ecklonis

Osteospermum propagation

  • Perennials can be propagated by cuttings taken in spring or summer.
  • Overwinter seedlings in a sunny, well-ventilated place at 50°F.

Osteospermum varieties to grow

  • Osteospermum ecklonis: Sprawling subshrub grows 2 to 4 feet tall; long stems bears 3-inch flower heads with white rays and dark blue centers; tender perennial or warm-weather annual.
  • O. fruticosum, trailing African daisy: Perennial trailing plant; will cover 2 to 4 square feet in a year with mat-forming stems; stems root as they trail; grows 6 to 12 inches (15-30cm) tall; ray flowers to 2 inches wide; cultivars include ‘African Queen’, ‘Burgundy’, and ‘Whirlygig.’
  • O. jucundum: mounding tender perennial to 24 inches tall; magenta-purple daisylike flowers; tender perennial or warm-weather annual.

Written by Stephen Albert

Stephen Albert is a horticulturist, master gardener, and certified nurseryman who has taught at the University of California for more than 25 years. He holds graduate degrees from the University of California and the University of Iowa. His books include Vegetable Garden Grower’s Guide, Vegetable Garden Almanac & Planner, Tomato Grower’s Answer Book, and Kitchen Garden Grower’s Guide. His Vegetable Garden Grower’s Masterclass is available online. has more than 10 million visitors each year.

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