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How to Grow, Care & Plant Osteospermum (African Daisy)

Osteospermum flowers or commonly called African daisies have the recognizable daisy shape, with vibrant colored petals radiating out and around from a center disk.

These popular flowers are relatively easy to grow, but there are some key secrets for excellent Osteospermum care and prolific flower production!

African daisy - osteospermum bright purple with a black center

What Are Osteospermums?

Osteospermums or African Daisies, are members of the large Asteraceae family, along with other daisies like shasta daisy and swan river daisy.

But their dazzling coloring is not at all like many classic daisies.

These cheerful flowers have been hybridized and are now available in an array of colors, but what makes them unique is the bi-color combos and almost metallic sheen to the petals.

The leaves vary by variety; some have toothed leaves that are lance-like, while others are more broad, smooth, and ovate. The color of the leaves is fairly consistent, being a medium green color with no variegation.

Osteospermum plants are fast-growing, and will nicely fill in as a clumping plant within your garden.

These flowers are best planted in the spring when the risk of frost has passed. You can expect to see these flowers for sale in nurseries as early as April in colder climates.

African Daisy - Osteospermum in container arrangement with dalhia
Osteospermum -African Daisy paired with white dahlias and blue grape hyacinth

QUICK LOOK FACTS: Osteospermum

When & How Long Do Osteospermum Bloom?

You can expect to enjoy the peak bloom period in early spring and into early summer and again in late summer to fall.

African daisies will stop blooming during higher, hot temperatures.

But, you can expect them to return full of blooms again in fall when the hot summer temperatures cool down.

If you live in a mild, more tropical climate like Florida, other southern states, and parts of California you will have good luck growing Osteospermums for most of the year! The key will be disease prevention and proper watering.

How & Where to Plant Osteospermum

Osteospermum will grow great when planted directly in the ground of your garden, but will also thrive in containers or potted arrangements on your deck, patio, or entryway.

They look best grown in combination with other plants that too have visual interest in the peak of early summer. Some recommended plants to pair are pansies, violas, grape hyacinth, snapdragons, salvia, and other daisies.

Container Planting

African Daisy - Osteospermum in a container arrangement
Osteospermum (African Daisy) grows well in a container and can be beautiful with other plants

These daisies look wonderful in containers! The key is to start with the right container or pot, good soil mix, and water.

  1. Select your container – the deeper the pot and bigger around the better, and it must have drainage holes in the bottom. Any type or shape of container will work, just know that long, shallow pots will dry out very quickly.
  2. Choose the best location for your container based on the sun requirements.
  3. Select your Osteospermum plants
  4. Add well-draining potting mix soil to your container. Add organic material such as a compost mix or manure, this should be about 10% of the total mix volume.
  5. Dig holes for your plants and plant them. Holes should be 2 inches deeper and wider than the pot they are in. Backfill the hole, lightly pressing the soil around the base of the plant.
  6. Water deeply making sure you water at the base of the plants and avoid watering the leaves and flowers.
  7. As they become established for the next 3 weeks, water extra. Water as soon as the top layer of soil becomes dry. Then once they are established resume minimal recommended watering requirements.

Ground Planting

Beautiful garden design where different colored Osteospermum is planted throughout (marked by arrows). Also in this garden: tall white lupine on either side of bright pink penstemon, bright green heuchera on the top ledge between the magenta osteospermum.

It’s likely you will start with a nursery plant and will buy your plants in 4″ or 6″ pots. These plants are small – so design your flower garden for the future!

When planting Osteospermum, it is important to space the plants far enough apart so that they have room to grow.

Osteospermum can spread 12-24 inches (30-60 cm) wide in wonderful round clumps.

To measure proper spacing, you will start from the center of one plant, measure out 24 inches, and that point will be the center of the second plant. This will ensure they grow together nicely and blend beautifully, but will not be overcrowded.

  1. Choose a suitable spot in your garden that meets the needed sun requirements of your plants. If you are unsure, track the sun exposure from sunrise to sunset and mark where and how it moves across your garden.
  2. Prepare the soil. Remove weeds, and loosen the soil, breaking up clumps. Add some organic material, such as compost or manure to it in order to help with drainage and provide extra nutrients.
  3. Dig holes for your plants that are 3 inches wider and deeper than the pot they come in. Leave sufficient spacing between each plant if planting more than one.
  4. After your plants are in the ground, backfill the soil into the hole and water deeply.
  5. As your plants become established, give them a little extra water. Once they are established, you can switch to a regular minimum watering schedule. Do not fertilize for the first 4 weeks after planting.

Ideal Growing Conditions for Osteospermum

Now that you have your Osteospermum plants, planted let’s discover the ideal conditions for healthy growth and beautiful blooms!

☀️ How Much Sun Do Osteospermums Need?

Osteospermum prefers full sun but can tolerate partial shade.

However, if they are in partial shade, this might cause them to bloom less.

Like all daisies, Osteospermum flowers open in response to daylight and will close at night or if it’s excessively overcast.

African Daisy - Osteospermum patch of several plants light pink, purple and white
Several large clumps of Osteospermum -African Daisy growing in a sunny garden

? Temperature Requirements for Osteospermum:

They are heat tolerant once they are established, and do prefer a warmer climate making them reliably hardy as perennials in zones 10 to 11.

But, Osteospermum is grown as annuals in all other climate zones (1-9).

They are vulnerable to freezing temperatures below 25 degrees F, therefore they will not survive winters in many areas.

So for most of the USA, we can enjoy them as annuals, planting new ones every year in spring once frost has passed.

If you live in an area with high heat and humidity, Osteospermums may be best grown in containers so that they can be moved to a location with better air circulation.

? How Much Water Do Osteospermum Need?

Water Osteospermum plants regularly, especially during the hotter months. They should be watered about once a week, or when the soil is dry to the touch.

They are heat tolerant and drought resistant once they are established, but will appreciate some supplemental watering during prolonged periods of dry weather.

Don’t let Osteospermums sit in water for too long as this will cause root rot and encourage diseases.

What Type of Soil is Right for Osteospermum?

Osteospermum will do best in well-draining soil, that is not too moist. If the soil is too wet, this can cause the roots to rot.

Amend your soil with organic matter such as compost or manure to help improve nutrient richness and drainage.

Osteospermum prefers a slightly acidic soil pH. You can test the soil with an at-home pH kit to be exact, or hand mix in a small amount of fertilizer that is for “acid-loving” plants. Oftentimes the addition of organic compost will naturally lower the pH.

How to Fertilizer Osteospermum

Osteospermum likes a lot of “food” to grow and bloom to the fullest.

You can fertilize your Osteospermum plants every few weeks using a water-soluble fertilizer or a balanced, all-purpose fertilizer. This is in addition to mixing compost into the soil.

Potted container plants may require more frequent fertilizing as well, so plan to feed these plants every other week.

Osteospermum Flower Pictures & Recommended Varieties


How To Care for Osteospermums

✂️ How to Deadhead and Prune Osteospermums

Once the flowers have finished blooming and have wilted, remove them at the top of the stalk. This is called deadheading and will help stimulate your plant to produce more blooms.

At the end of their growth period going into winter, prune the entire plant down to only a few inches tall, leaving several stalks.

If you live where Osteospermum is an annual plant, simply pull up the entire plant with the root ball and discard it.

⚠️ Are Osteospermum Vulnerable to Pests & Diseases?

Osteospermum is relatively pest and disease-free.

The most common pests are aphids, and whiteflies, These can all be controlled with insecticidal soap or neem oil if caught early.

Diseases are also not overly common, but Osteospermums can be susceptible to fungal diseases such as powdery mildew and rust.

This is more common in humid, damp conditions. These fungal diseases will look like damaged or discolored leaves.

Prevent these by planting in well-draining soil and watering from below so the leaves do not stay wet for too long.

Try to improve air circulation around the plant if possible, and you can use either a chemical or organic-based fungicide to help fight fungal diseases.

How to Start Osteospermum From Cuttings

Osteospermum varieties are hybrid plants, therefore they will not grow from seed with much success, but they can be easily propagated from a cutting off the plant. This propagation process is making a clone of your original plant.

What you will need:

  • Shallow tray with a plastic dome. Specifically for plant starts or DIY it and recycle a take-out food container
  • Seed starting soil mix or seed starting expandable pods. (If growing in a hydroponic growing system; you’ll need new grow sponges)
  • Sharp pruner, knife, or scissors
  • Rooting hormone gel

Steps:

  1. First set up the seed starting tray or hydroponic system by adding the seed-soil mix, or pods. Dampen it slightly.
  2. Second, using a sharp, sterilized knife or pruners take a 2 – 3 inch long cutting from the plant. Cut at the base stalk, and select a section that has at least two leaf node branches.
  3. Next, dip the cut end into the rooting hormone gel. Dip up to 1/4 inch up the stem, and until it is well coated.
  4. Then, take the cutting, with the rooting hormone on the end and “plant” it into your soil mix or soil pod.
  5. Cover your seed tray with the dome and place with indirect bright daylight that maintains a temperature of 60 to 68 degrees F.
  6. Lastly, it’s time to sit back and wait 4 to 6 weeks for the plants to sufficiently root and you can transplant them into new larger pots.

That’s it – time to slip on those gardening boots and plant some roots! But most importantly, love every minute spent in the garden amongst your plants. Plants make the best company.


Plant Pairing Ideas