To the genus Gazania belong some dozens of species of perennial plants, originating in southern Africa; in our gardens we hardly cultivate botanical species of gazania, more probably we have purchased one of the many commercial hybrids. They are small perennials with an almost ground cover development, they produce a thick tuft of spatulate leaves, at most 20-30 cm high from the ground; the leaves are dark green, in some varieties they are covered with thin white hairs, which make the leaves greyish. Starting in May, each head produces numerous flower heads, similar to large daisies; flowering lasts until the first cold of autumn.
The flowers of gazania they are generally yellow or orange in color, but there are varieties with pink, red and white flowers, some with striated outer petals, or with particular color variations, or zoning; the flowers of gazania they have the particularity to close each night at sunset, to fully enjoy the flowering so it is advisable to place the plants in a sunny area for most of the day.
They are perennial plants, so if they want to last from year to year, even if in case of intense cold they can completely lose the aerial part, which will develop again the following spring. They can withstand quite low temperatures, but in areas with very cold and rainy winters it is good to store them in a cold greenhouse, or in the shelter of a terrace or a house wall. They prefer sunny positions and fresh and very well drained soil, the main enemy of the gazanie is water stagnation, which favors the development of rots and molds that can quickly ruin the baskets of leaves.
So we place the plants in a very bright and sunny place, if we live in areas with intense frosts in winter we can grow our gazanias in pots, to be able to move them when the cold comes, or we can evaluate the possibility of growing them as annuals, replacing them with year to year.
These plants can withstand even prolonged periods of drought, it is clear that in order to obtain turgid and luxuriant tufts and many flowers it is good to water the plants regularly, but waiting always that the soil is well dry before watering. During the winter, on the other hand, it is necessary to avoid watering the plants in vegetative rest, intervening only if they are noticeable withered.
From April to September we mix a specific fertilizer for flowering plants with the water.
Gazania - Gazania X hybrida: Daisies in the garden
Generally they are called daisies, regardless of the species or variety to which they belong, they are the flowers of the asteraceae; if we love these flowers, which in botany are called flower heads, in reality of quite complex inflorescences, we have in our nursery only the embarrassment of the choice.
Apart from the Gazania, of which we have just spoken, the number of plants that produces heads is very high, and generally they all belong to the Asteraceae family, or Composite. The most common daisy is the leuchanthemum, a variety of chrysanthemum easily found in meadows all over Europe, in the nursery we also find the variety Bellis, very similar but with the most dense and dense flowers of petals; then produce daisies then also all the stars, tens and tens of species and hybrid varieties. Felicia is also widespread in cultivation: small blue daisies throughout the summer.
The dimorphothecas also produce daisies, also like the gazanias, originating in southern Africa.