Gazania plant (lat. Gazania), or treasure flower, or African daisy, relates to the family Asteraceae, presented by forty species that in nature grow in Mozambique and South Africa, as well as in the Australian coastal dunes. In the XVII century gazania flower was brought to Europe and got its current name in honor of the Italian priest Theodorus Gaza, famous for his translations of the works of Aristotle and Theophrastus. In Western Europe, this plant is called "Midday Gold" due to the fact that gazania flowers of warm shades open at midday.
- Description of gazania flowers
- Growing gazania from seeds
- Planting of gazania
- Care for gazania
- Gazania after flowering
- Species and varieties of gazania
Description of gazania flowers
Annual or perennial gazania reaches no more than 12 inches in height. Root leaves are collected in the rosette. The stem is either short or there is no stem at all. The leaves are dark green or grayish-green, dense, diverse in form, with thick silver fibers on the lower side of the blade protecting the plant from cold and retaining moisture in the dry season. Inflorescences are single flower-heads with the diameter of 2 to 3.5 inches consisting of ray florets that are of orange, red, yellow colors with dark spots at the base and forming a ring pattern around the yellow flower center that consists of disk florets. There can be about thirty-five inflorescences on one plant. The fruit is a hairy cypsela with pappus.
Sowing of gazania for seedlings
Many gardeners ask how to grow gazania from seeds and when gazania seeds are sown to receive seedlings. Dates of gazania seed sowing depend on what area you live. If you have a late, cold spring, then too early sowing of gazania seeds will require additional lighting for the growth of seedlings. Otherwise they will develop very slowly. On the other hand, if the seeds are sown later, for example, in May, gazania will bloom later. Therefore gazania seeds are sown not earlier than mid-March, or even mid-April, in deep containers for a long taproot to grow vertically without curving. The soil in the boxes should be light, well-draining, with pH value of 5.5-6.5. Sowing should be rare, and it is better to put the seed grains in a staggered order, keeping the distance between them of 0.8-1 inch. Seeds can be lightly sprinkled with soil, or you can just press them firmly to the ground. Spray the seeds, cover with foil and put in a warm (64-68 ºF), bright place. Airing and removing of condensate are needed daily. Seedlings appear in one or two weeks.
If the seedlings are grown in a deep container, you should not prick them out, but if the box is shallow, the seedlings are pricked out upon the appearance of the fourth leaf into peat-compost pots and are placed in a cool room (54-61 ºF). An insulated but unheated balcony will be a good place. Meanwhile you should start getting the young plants adjusted to the temperatures outside by opening the window for a short time during the day, but avoiding the draft.
When to plant gazania
Planting of seedlings in open ground is carried out from mid-May to early June, and in the future care for the gazania flowers will not be a punishment. But first you should find a suitable planting location for the plant. It should be an open sunny place with nutritious, but light garden soil. Sunlight for gazania is vital, it is not even afraid of direct sunlight, since it is extremely light-requiring, and even drought resistant.
How to plant gazania
Gazania seedlings are transplanted in the open ground along with pots in which they were grown. If you grew seedlings in a box, use a long shovel to remove each seedling with a root clod and transfer it into the hole without damaging the root system. The distance between the gazania bushes must be at least 8 inches. Gazania grown from seeds blooms soon after transplanting in the open ground, that is, in three months after sowing of the seeds.
How to grow gazania
Conditions for growing gazania, as already mentioned, are a bright sunlight and well-draining soil. But despite its love for the heat, gazania can tolerate a sharp fall of temperature up to 23-19 ºF. Care for gazania in the garden requires a moderate watering, followed by loosening the soil, removing weeds, and timely removal of faded inflorescences for the plant to form new buds. Also it is recommended to mulch the soil as this will help retain moisture in the soil during the summer heat and reduce the number of weeds in the area. Growing gazania flowers also includes applying of fertilizers: if your gazania is planted in a fertile soil, it is necessary to feed it once a month and a half with a solution of complete fertilizer at the rate of 0.7-0.8 oz per 11 square feet, but if you plant it in a poor rocky soil, you should fertilize it every 2-4 weeks.
Flowering of gazania
Gazania blooms from June to November. Blooming of each flower-head lasts for about three weeks. At night and in cloudy weather ray florets of gazania close the yellow center of disk florets. Sometimes, growers complain that gazania does not bloom. The reason can be insufficient lighting, excessive watering or too late transplanting of seedlings into open ground. Try not to violate the agronomic requirements, and it will bloom in time and profusely.
Pests and diseases of gazania
Anyone who grew gazania will tell you that it does not get sick. But if growing conditions are unfavorable for the plant, it weakens, then it can be affected by gray mold. It is necessary to remove diseased plants and process the other plants with a fungicide. Such insect as nails, aphids and spider mites can harm gazania. Snails need to be manually collected, and insects are removed by insecticides.
How and when to collect gazania seeds
In our climatic zone gazania seeds usually do not have enough time to ripen, only if the summer is hot, long and dry. Furthermore, in the culture mainly hybrid varieties of plants are grown and their seeds do not retain the varietal characteristics. And the biggest obstacle for those who want to collect gazania seeds is that when they ripen, they just fly away, like dandelion seeds. So when gazania begins fading, wrap some large flowers with a piece of gauze for the seeds not to scatter away and to remain on a spike.
Gazania in winter
If you grow gazania as an annual plant, simply remove the remains of plants after flowering. But you can try to keep it for the next year. To do this, even the most beautiful still flowering shrubs are dug out, transplanted into pots or boxes and stored in a well lit room at a temperature of 46-50 ºF, watering the soil from time to time, so the soil does not dry out completely. In spring they are again planted in open ground after shortening the shoots by half.
Gazania linearis (Gazania longiscapa)
is an annual plant with a height of 6-8 inches, basal leaves are smooth-edged, slightly cut, with wooly underside and bright green upper surface. Flower-heads are up to 3 inches in diameter consisting of disk and ray florets of bright yellow color. The base of ray florets is brown.
Treasure flower (Gazania rigens, Gazania splendens)
has stems up to 12 inches tall, flower-heads are from 1.7 to 2.3 inches in diameter. Disk florets are blood-black, ray florets are bright yellow, red or orange with black, brown or white spots at the base. Leaves are usually entire, but sometimes they are pinnatipartite.
Gazania Pottsii (Gazania pottsii)
is an enlarged copy of gazania rigens (treasure flower). The diameter of flower-head is 5 inches.
Gazania pavonia (Gazania pavonia)
differs from the other varieties by the form of leaves. They are narrow and long (up to 8 inches). Flower-heads are up to 3 inches in diameter with a yellow-orange ray florets with a black base and a yellow center of the disk florets.
Also the following varieties are grown in the culture: gazania pinnata, snow-white gazania (Gazania nivea), one-color gazania (Gazania unifiora) and hybrid gazania (Gazania x hybrida), obtained by crossing different species, but mainly gazania linearis and gazania rigens. Recently bred hybrid gazania varieties can bloom even in cloudy days. We should mention the most popular varieties of hybrid gazania:
- Daybreak Red Stripe has a light-yellow blossoms with red stripes that open in the morning and close only when dusk falls;
- series Talent is a hit of 2001 with beautiful foliage and inflorescences closing for the night only;
- series Mini Star is varieties with yellow, white and orange flower-heads.