Gazanias Gone Wild: Why I’m Daisy Crazy

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It’s spring and I’ve gone giddy over gazanias. When planted en masse, these daisies are truly amazing. I recently trekked to a hillside near my home ablaze with orange glory. The flowers were so hot-hued, I swear I could hear them sizzle.

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Gazanias, from South Africa, do their homeland proud the way they pulse with colors and patterns reminiscent of tribal textiles. Each flower’s center has a dark ring that makes the petals appear scorched, as though by a tiny inferno.

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Even before they unfurl, the petals’ geometry is engaging.

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There are numerous Gazania hybrids; some are reddish pink.

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Double-petaled strains exist, too.

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Like snowflakes, there seems no end to the patterns formed by the dark inner rings.

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Don’t these petals appear brush-stroked? And those white dots! They’re so over-the-top, I’m ululating like a joyful Botswanan.

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Not only are gazanias heliotropic (they turn towards the sun), they require full sun to unfurl. And, they close at night.

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Gazanias won’t stay open long when brought indoors; a bouquet like this needs bright light lest the petals swing slowly shut.

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Purple verbena provides a soothing complement to all that orange.

Gazanias grow effortlessly throughout the Southwest, where they’re perennials; in colder climates they’re annuals. These tough plants don’t require–although they do appreciate–rich soil, fertilizer and ample water.

Finally (forgive me), I can’t resist showing you how eye-popping gazanias can be. My husband, Jeff, took this photo.

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About Debra Lee Baldwin

Debra Lee Baldwin gardens on "an inhospitable half acre" in Escondido, CA, near San Diego. She is an award-winning photojournalist and artist with hundreds of articles and columns to her credit. Debra's books are Designing with Succulents, Succulent Container Gardens and Succulents Simplified. www.debraleebaldwin.com.

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8 Responses to Gazanias Gone Wild: Why I’m Daisy Crazy

  1. Don April 11, 2009 at 7:28 am #

    I love seeing flowers en masse like that! Some things look fabulous in large groups. Now I’m wondering what DOESN’T look fab in large groups…

    Hi, Don — Well, flowers that are past peak and need deadheading, for one. Gazanias aren’t too bad—they form cottony seed heads. Debra
    Beautiful photos

  2. Sande April 11, 2009 at 8:55 am #

    Stunning photos! That 2nd photo looks like a volcano erupting. Gazanias are one of my favorites too.

    Hi Sande-A volcano—I love that! Debra

  3. RuthDFW April 11, 2009 at 10:03 am #

    They R beautiful – I would prefer something in the pink family tho. Will have to checkout a few websites.

    Hi, Ruth — Re pink, you’re on the right track with arctotis (I see you included a photo of a pale yellow one on your blog’s latest post). Debra

  4. Town Mouse April 11, 2009 at 1:07 pm #

    I agree, they’re great. Can take the heat, too!

    [To Town Mouse] Yes, these are hot flowers from hot climates! Debra

  5. Shirley Bovshow "EdenMaker" April 11, 2009 at 1:13 pm #

    Great presentation Debra. Yes, the Gazanias do a wonderful job representing “African tribal colors.” I enjoyed the close up photos of these amazing plants.
    Shirley

    Thanks, Shirley. Gazanias are low-water, too—a good thing for gardens in our region. Debra

  6. Nicole April 11, 2009 at 2:39 pm #

    Great pictures, very hot colors. I am going to check out where I can buy gazania seeds now. These will be perfect for my garden on a hot, dry island.

    Hi, Nicole — I’ve had better luck with starter plants than seeds. You might check with your local nursery or garden center to see if they sell gazanias in flats or six-packs. Debra

  7. eliz April 11, 2009 at 11:18 pm #

    That looks like the very best way to experience these. They look terrific. I’ve purchased them as annuals a couple times, but they were not too impressive that way.

    Hi, Elizabeth—It makes sense that gazanias won’t do well as annuals for
    you. In warm regions where the plants are perennials they’re busy
    establshing roots all winter in preparation for spring bloom. If they go in
    the ground now, their performance likely will be disappointing. Debra

  8. Aiyana April 13, 2009 at 5:03 am #

    The photos are gorgeous! I thought we had wonderful desert wildflower displays after having a wet winter, but I think the Gazanias and purple verbena have our displays coming in second.
    Aiyana

    Hi, Aiyana, another flower that looks really good with gazanias is blue babiana, a bulb that also is from South Africa. Debra