GAZANIAS- DESCRIPTION, GROWING & CARE GUIDE
The gazania flower, named after the 15th-century Greek-Italian scholar Theodorus of Gaza, is a low maintenance South African annual (perennial in Australia) that will brighten up your hard-to-landscape areas, particular those with poor soil, or suffering from dry conditions
Origins and nomenclature of Gazania Flowers
Gazania flowers are a member of the daisy family Asteraceae, genus Gazania. Also known as the treasure flower, the gazania is a hardy annual, or perennial (depending on the strain), and will bounce back from a light frost. There are over 16 distinct species, but the majority of plants in cultivation are hybrids and crossbreeds, selected for their best traits.
In Australia, including Ballarat, gazanias typically perform as perennials, though some are technically an annual.
Gazania flowers thrive in full sun. Morning or afternoon shade may cause the flowers to stay closed for a portion of the day, and may cause the plants to grow lanky, exceeding their normal height of six to ten inches.
EASY TO GROW, AND UNKILLABLE
The leathery foliage of gazania plants is a clue to the high drought tolerance of this flower.
They quickly develop into small clumps of narrow lance-shaped leaves that can be downy and lobed near the base, often with lighter coloured undersides. Their showy flowers, which appear throughout the warmer months, are large, brightly coloured, often interestingly marked, and the ray florets tend to be darker at the base, with a contrastingly coloured central disc.
The species usually have yellow or orange flowers, but the garden forms are available in a wide colour range
IDEAL SOIL CONDIITONS- They grow well in any old rubbish soil of low fertility. Cheap-O $3 potting mix is fine
Gazanias do extremely well in pots, and look great on your deck and patio.
Their preference for sharply drained soil makes them a natural choice for the rock garden, low maintenance, or often neglected and drought affected gardens, such as rental properties, or holiday homes.
How to Plant Gazania Flowers
Gazania is easy to grow to a fault: it’s hard to make a mistake and kill these.
Plant young gazania plants about a foot apart, allowing them to reach their eventual spread of 25cm without crowding, which promotes mildew. If your soil is heavy, plant your gazanias in containers.
Gazania plants don’t mind the heat that radiates off the pavement, so you can include them in your footpath garden or alongside your driveway.
How to Care for Gazania Flowers
In their native habitat of the rocky cliffs of South Africa, gazanias grow in soils of low fertility. Compost and supplemental fertilizer aren’t necessary. Deadhead gazania flowers to extend the blooming time of the plants.
Gazania plants are adaptable enough to overwinter indoors so you won’t need to purchase new plants or seeds for the next growing season. Cut the plant back and keep it in a cool, sunny window. Water when the soil surface is dry. Check the plants regularly for pests like mealybugs that may proliferate on indoor specimens.
DIVISION AND PROPOGATION
Perennial strains of this plant, most common in Australia may also be divided or can be grown from basal cuttings.