Walking through the garden this week the signs are all around us that nature is waking up from her lengthy winter slumber. During this time of the year our gardens tend to look a bit faded and lacking in the colour department. For a quick fix, flowering annuals are perfect, but for those of us who want something more permanent, look no further than bright and cheerful daisy bushes.
Daisy is used as a general term for any plant in the Asteracae family which includes Chrysanthemums, Asters and even sunflowers and is a massive group of plants with more than 23 000 accepted species. The two daisies I will be chatting about today are our very own Cape daisy (Osteospermum) and the ever cheerful Marguerite daisy (Argyranthemum). They are stunning performers in the garden and are sure to bring colour and joy to your life
Osteospermum hybrids Cape daisies/Berg bietou
Cape daisies are top of the class when it omes to our standout indigenous garden plants. Not only are they water wise but they are one of the longest flowering plants available, flowering through spring, summer and autumn. Osteospermum hybrids are relatively new on the market but have already become a favourite amongst gardeners.
Cape daisies are low growing evergreen shrubs that can grow up to 30cm – 40cm in height and bush out by 30-70cm depending on the variety. Being indigenous they don’t just survive in our hot African sun, they thrive in it, so be sure to plant them in as much sunlight as possible. Cape daisies are classed as being semi-hardy therefore I recommend planting them in spring which will allow them to become established before the next winter. Cover them with frost cover for the first 2 years; thereafter they will be able to handle the cold a lot better. Water them thoroughly after planting, from then on twice a week should be enough. Once they are established you will find that they need a lot less water. As with any perennial shrub I recommend pruning them back after flowering. This will keep the plant neat and compact, improve flowering and ensure your Cape daisy is as happy as possible. Always prune back in spring after its first blooms have faded.
They look stunning when planted in the garden where I would recommend grouping the same colour together for maximum impact. Cape daisies work just as well in pots with the added bonus of needing less maintenance and watering than other plants. Cape daisies are available in a range of colours from white, pink, orange, yellow to purple leaving one spoilt for choice. There are also different flower shapes, from normal daisy like blooms to the spoon shaped varieties which has allure of its own
Argyranthemum Frutescens Marguerite daisy
Marguerite daisies are an old garden favourite which is still very popular amongst gardeners. Thanks to improved hybridization programs from growers, today’s Marguerite daisies stay more compact with improved flowering and a range of colour to satisfy any colour craving you may have. Flower shape varies from single, semi-double to stunning fully double varieties.
Although Marguerite daisies originate from the Mediterranean they are classed as semi-hardy and I would recommend treating them the same as Cape daisies in regards to the cold. These lovely evergreen daisies prefer as much sun as possible and look breathtaking when used in pots. Marguerite daisies mainly grow to 60cm in height and bush out by the same, but I have seen specimens growing to well over 1m. As with Cape daisies a good pruning back after flowering is essential. They will require more watering than the cape daisies. I recommend applying a healthy layer of mulch around its base, as this will drastically cut down on the frequency and amount of water that they will require.
I am sure you will find a spot in your garden for one of these delightful daisies. Feel free to pop in and have a look at our lovely selection of daisy bushes. In the meantime enjoy this lovely spring weather that we are blessed with in sunny South Africa.