Friday, March 6, 2015

My favorite plant this week: Arctotis 'Pink Sugar'

I pruned my shrub roses in the front garden in late January and, although they've got a lot of healthy bronze foliage, they've yet to produce any flowers.  Arctotis hybrid 'Pink Sugar' has been filling the floral vacuum since December.  Their bloom has become more prolific in the past month.




The plants, commonly called African daisies (but not to be confused with Osteospermum or Gazania, called by the same common name) are evergreen and perennial in my USDA zone 10b garden where frost is not normally an issue.  The foliage did get a bit ratty last year when summer arrived early.  Some of my plants waited out the intense heat of last summer from the sidelines in pots but I popped them in the new front garden borders in November, where they've been growing exuberantly ever since.  The silvery, slightly fuzzy foliage, is thick and healthy.



They grow well in full to part sun and have low water needs, a big plus in drought-stricken Southern California.  In addition to being drought tolerant, they're reported to be deer resistant.  My mature plants are about 18 inches (46 cm) tall and almost 2 feet (61 cm) wide.

The flowers are a bright pink with a prominent orange eye but, with their grayish foliage, they blend in well in my Mediterranean plant scheme.

When the sun goes down, the flowers close up

Several of the blooms recently have produced petals in the middle of the central disk 


With regular deadheading, the flowers keep on coming.  Most sources characterize them as spring to summer bloomers but I've noticed that the bloom here is heaviest during our cool season (winter through spring).  Hopefully, irrigation will help the plants continue blooming into summer this year.

Arctotis 'Pink Sugar' is my favorite plant this week.  You can find other gardeners' favorite plant choices on the last Friday of the month when Loree of danger garden presents her favorites wrap up.


All material © 2012-2015 by Kris Peterson for Late to the Garden Party

26 comments:

  1. A lovely favorite, Kris! My osteospermum "Mimosa Sunset" is blooming its heart out, but I notice there's a good deal of difference in the foliage... perhaps a reason to hunt up some Arctotis too ;-)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I haven't grown that particular Osteospermum but I grow several others and, you're right, the foliage is very different in color, as well as leaf size and shape. I love all the "African daisies" and definitely think you should try the other genera too!

      Delete
  2. Love that rosy petal color and blended tones. Pretty as a picture and very well groomed as you say, not ratty ....
    Looks like more heat to come, earlier than last year. Gathered from the NWS LOX (National Weather Service Los Angeles Oxnard) weather page this morning:
    1. Elusive El Niño arrives. Forecasters predict it will stay weak, have little influence on weather and climate --NOAA
    2. Record Warm February --NWS LOX
    3. Today's predicted high temperature here at home: 88. Record breakers at the beaches. Santa Ana winds.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Ugh, I hate to even think of another long drawn-out summer like the one last year. The LA Times had an article on the late arrival of El Nino too. I don't think it got above 80F here today but the humidity is near zero.

      Delete
  3. Replies
    1. It goes surprisingly well with other plants - I think the grayish foliage helps dial down flowers that might otherwise be considered too much.

      Delete
  4. Ray of sun with fluorescent pink halo :)

    ReplyDelete
  5. What a gorgeous splash of color on a winter's day. I can see why they are a favorite. It almost looks as though they have hollow stems like gerbera daisies.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You have a very good eye, Jenny - the Arctotis do have a small hollow at the center of the stem rather like a Gerbera (and very different from the thin, stiff stem of the Osteospermum or the sap-filled stem of the Gazania).

      Delete
  6. That is a beautiful flower, the colors are just my style! It's undoubtedly an annual here, but I don't know if I've ever seen it in the nurseries.

    ReplyDelete
  7. It would be perfect in your garden, Alison, but I think you're right that it would have to be treated as an annual, although I suppose you could drag it into your greenhouse - in my garden it "summered over" in a pot last year.

    ReplyDelete
  8. That's a show-stopper. You know Kris, I often see a plant with a couple of blooms featured on garden blogger posts. I'm beginning to notice that in your gardens, plants don't just "blossom" they are more often covered with blooms. Lavishly, abundantly in flower. You are definitely figuring out just the right ways to tease the best out of your situation.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I try, Deb, I try. Not all my plants cooperate but I've been focusing on the ones that like it here and trying to forget the ones that don't.

      Delete
  9. Even the foliage compliments the hot color combo, nice choice! (and interesting to see it in both your and Hoov's posts!)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The Arctotis does work well with the 'Maori Queen' Phormium - I'm not sure I could have found a better mix.

      Delete
  10. What a fitting name. Very sweet, and great foliage too!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The foliage definitely looks its best in cooler weather.

      Delete
  11. These are beautiful! I think I like the foliage almost as much as the flowers.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'm pleased with the foliage too. As I commented above to Amy, it looks its best under cool weather conditions. In the heat, it tends to become more tattered.

      Delete
  12. Pink Sugar, aptly named Kris. The candy pink looks lovely in the sun......ah, sun! What a thought :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You might be less enthusiastic about that sun if you saw how our temperatures have spiked (and the humidity has plummeted). It's too early for summer (!!!) but that's what it's like here. It's hard for the plants to adjust.

      Delete
  13. I particularly like this one, Kris - the colour combinations are so much fun and are perfect against the grey foliage!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The silvery gray of the foliage helps tone down the vivid color of the flowers, Matt, so it's a fortuitous combination.

      Delete

I enjoy receiving your comments and suggestions. However, with apologies to bona-fide commentators, due to a significant increase in spam, I've eliminated the option to post comments anonymously.