Friday, April 3, 2015

My Favorite Plant This Week: Gazania rigens hybrids

Even I'm a little amazed that I picked Gazanias as my favorite plants this week.  Sometimes confused with another "African daisy," Osteospermum, Gazanias don't get a lot of respect in local horticultural circles.  However, I'm constantly on the look out for drought and heat tolerant plants these days and I picked up Gazania rigens 'New Day Yellow' last August to fill in around edges of the fountain bed in the backyard.  The flowers came in an inexpensive 6-pack and I figured they'd do as a filler for the balance of the summer season.  The flowers turned out to be huge and they also held up under repeated assaults by my resident raccoons.  They've also hung on since last summer and kept on blooming.  What's not to love?


The white and yellow variety on the right, also labeled 'New Day Yellow,' is a recent addition to the backyard border


Heat doesn't bother them and get by with a moderate amount of water.  They have a neat mounded form, growing 8-10 inches (20-25 cm) tall and wide.  The flowers close when the sun disappears but, with regular deadheading, they continue to produce new blooms.  And they mix easily with other plants.

The Gazania used as filler and edging plants in the fountain border


After G. 'New Day Yellow' broke down my reservations about Gazanias, I fell prey to another cultivar, G. 'White Flame,' part of the 'Kiss' series.

Officially called 'Kiss Frosty White Flame' they have rose or burgundy stripes on a cream or pale yellow background


I picked these up, also in a 6-pack, back in mid-December when I was looking for plants to fill in the blank spaces in my front garden after we removed the lawn.  The colors mixed well with the Coprosma and Phormium I'd selected for the area on the north side of the front walkway.


It was hard to believe I found something that could hold its own with Coprosma 'Inferno'

as well as Phormium 'Maori Queen'


I've been trying to find more of these plants since, hoping to fill in blank spaces in the front beds adjoining the driveway to knit the areas together.  I haven't been very successful.  However, last weekend, I found six-packs of a G. 'Kiss Flame Mix.'  The mix includes vivid orange, yellow and gold tones, some of which would look ghastly in the front border so I'm going to wait until they bloom to distribute them in my garden - I have a couple of areas in mind for the orange-flowered variety.  In the meantime, I'm using my raised vegetable beds as a nursery for the baby plants.  Wherever the new plants end up, I trust they'll handle what's likely to be a hot, dry summer, made more so by our new water restrictions.



These Gazania rigens hybrids are my favorite plants this week.  They're perennial in USDA zones 9-11 but can be over-wintered indoors elsewhere.  The only criticism I found of them on-line was that rabbits like them.   For other gardeners' favorites, check in with Loree at danger garden on the last Friday of each month for her favorites wrap-up.


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


23 comments:

  1. A very good favourite too. I love them and always have a potful in the Summer. They aren' t much good for dreary days though as they need the sun to open.

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    1. That's true. There's no shortage of sun here but that quality does preclude their use "In a Vase on Monday."

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  2. A beautiful plant that is also tough is a great thing! Your Gazanias are very nice!

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    1. Heat and drought tolerant - the perfect combination for SoCal.

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  3. Those flowers are so strikingly striped. They remind me of cactus blossoms minus any threat of spines. I like that they play well in a mixed border. You're right - not much not to like about these beauties!

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    1. There are oodles of bunnies in a park a mile away - luckily, they've never visited my garden. Perhaps the raccoons keep them away...

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  4. I've always liked Gazanias and I really like that combo with the Coprosma and Phormium. To me, being beautiful and tough deserves far more horticultural credit in my books.

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    1. The nursery industry is very prone to fads I've noted, resulting in the sidelining of perfectly serviceable plants. Good old garden workhorses get shuttled to the side for the newest "in" plants (like Digiplexis last year, which I'm noting has lost some of its appeal this year). I predict our drought will result in a resurgence of some of the oldies but goodies, like Gazanias - it has already boosted the popularity of succulents here.

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    1. It is! It's my favorite in the "Flame" series.

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  6. While the Heuchera will melt in your garden, the Gazania will melt in mine. Or more like rot. I love how you have them covering the area with the Phormium and Coprosma. That is just fantastic. Can't wait to see the new ones you've got. I'm praying you'll get more rain soon.

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    1. Sadly, our rainy season reached an end in March. We only occasionally get showers in April and, more seldom still, in summer. But I appreciate the good thoughts!

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  7. Great plant sold often as an annual here. I think they need summer heat, though. I've bought them in the past, and they never put on much size. Yours are beautiful, so full of blooms.

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    1. They clearly do like heat. The "New Day" cultivar sailed through last summer's heat and has never stopped blooming. I hope "White Flame" proves as vigorous.

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  8. I think they're magnificent little plants! Maybe I have more respect for Gazania because I couldn't grow them - even as annuals - in the Midwest. The rabbits seemed to breathe them... We have a couple Gazanias here - including a marvelous golden-orange one, name already lost :( - just coming into bloom in the front planter. Happily, I think I'll be able to divide them for the garden... The way you've combined them with the burgundy-foliaged plants is a real show-stopper! And what a wonderful splash of color they've made :)

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    1. I hope they spread happily in your garden, Amy. I've been furiously deadheading mine, which keeps them blooming but hasn't left me with any ripe seeds but perhaps I'll buy seeds in an effort to get more myself without buying mysterious mixes. I'm also considering buying a flat of the trailing variety.

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  9. I'm surprised how much I love them in your garden Kris, especially the shot with the Phormium. Glad you found more!

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    1. I'd always dismissed Gazanias, Loree, but dealing with the heat and drought here has made me take a second look at a lot of plants.

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  10. A beautiful flower with a nice rosette of leaves.
    Mariana

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    1. Thanks for mentioning the foliage, Mariana. It is attractive in its own right.

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  11. They are truly lovely in your garden, and I know why you like them! I had a similar experience with gazania. They were not on my list, but a big box store was giving leftovers away to good homes, rather than tossing them away. I could not turn away free plants! They were so successful that now I am willing to pay!

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  12. These look so great where you've planted them. They fit in perfectly.

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  13. I must admit that I'd looked down on gazanias for years (I don't even know why) but last fall I got a six pack. Unfortunately, I don't think any of them made it through the winter. I don't think they had time to get established and simply died of lack of water in our oh-so-dry winter. Your post is a reminder to get more!

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