Gazania rigens (aka: Gazania splendens) pronounced (gah-zay’ni-ah) is a pretty, South African native and a member of the daisy family (Asteraceae).
It is often called the “Treasure Flower”, “African Daisy”, or simply “Gazania.” The Osteospermum is also known as the “African Daisy.”
This rugged African wildflower is the parent of many different types of Gazania available from seed suppliers and nurseries today.
These consist of a wide variety of cultivars in a dazzling array of colors and patterns.
In this article, we discuss Gazania rigens and share information on using and caring for this rugged, pretty plant in your garden. Read on to learn more.
Is Gazania An Annual Or A Perennial?
Gazania plants are considered tender perennials but are grown as annuals in colder climates.
The plant with silvery green foliage looks similar in shape to those of wild dandelions. In mild climates, the leaves are evergreen.
The stiff flowering plant stems stand between six and ten inches high and topped with three or four-inch daisy-like flowers.
This type of flower is called a “ray flower.” The basic Gazania is orange with a dark, contrasting center.
Cultivars of the species are available in an ever growing range of flower colors, including white, yellow, orange, bronze, lavender and red. All have a central disk of a deeply contrasting color.
Do Gazania Need Full Sun And When Do They Bloom?
Gazania flower produces a riot of color throughout the summer and late into the autumn.
Because they love the sun, they bloom the most on sunny days. The petals close at dusk and may stay closed on cloudy days.
Encourage more blooms by deadheading spent Gazania flowers!
Why Are They Called Gazania?
Treasure Flowers’ official name comes from a Greek scholar of the 15th century. Theodore de Gaza is best known for translating the very important botanical works of Theophrastus into Latin from their original Greek.
Interestingly, in Latin the word “gaza” means “treasure” and this may be why the plant is commonly called Treasure Flower.
The scientific epithet, “rigens” means “stiff” or “rigid”. This refers to the sturdy, upright flower stems.
What’s The Best Way To Propagate Treasure Flowers?
You can start plants from seed indoors late in the winter. Allow 6-8 weeks before the last predicted frost date to allow seedlings to mature.
Set young plants out after the final frost.
Other Gazania Propagation Options
- Take basal offsets from outdoor plants at the end of summer and root them to have new plants in the spring season.
- Overwinter container plants indoors and move them back out in the spring. [source]
Tips On How To Grow Gazania From Seed
There are two ways to grow Treasure Flower from seed. Sow seed indoors late in winter or sow seed directly into your garden after the last winter frost.
Follow These Steps To Sow Seed Indoors.
- Six-to-eight weeks before the last predicted frost, sow Gazania seeds about a quarter of an inch deep in a sterile seed-starting formula. Firm the soil lightly.
- Keep the soil evenly moist, out of direct sunlight and at a temperature of 68°-86° degrees Fahrenheit. Seedlings should emerge within a week or two.
- Once seedlings sprout, move them to a well-lit setting. Place them on a sunny windowsill or under a fluorescent light or grow light (not incandescent lights) about three or four inches above the seedlings. If using artificial light, keep it on for sixteen hours a day, and turn it off for eight hours overnight. As your plants grow taller, be sure to raise the lights to accommodate them.
- Seedlings do not need fertilizer until plants are about a month old. At this time, provide a weak solution (half strength) of water-soluble houseplant food.
- If starting seeds in small cells, transplant them to three or four-inch pots when they develop a couple of sets of “true leaves”. This will ensure that they have enough space for strong roots to grow.
- Before moving plantlets into the garden, be sure to harden them off. Acclimate plants to the outdoors by first setting them out into a sheltered area for about a week. During this time, keep plants protected against hot sun and harsh wind. If frost is predicted, bring them indoors or cover to protect them. When following this hardening off process carefully, your plants’ “harden off” and cell structures are strengthened. This reduces the likelihood of transplant shock.
How To Sow Gazania Seeds Outdoors
- Choose a location with porous, well-drained soil and receives full sun.
- Remove all weeds and work some organic matter into the top six-to-eight inches of the soil. Level and smooth the surface of the soil.
- Sow the seeds thinly and evenly and cover them with about a quarter of an inch of soil. Firm this down lightly and keep it evenly moist.
- Seedlings should emerge within a week or two, depending upon the quality of the soil and the weather conditions.
- Fertilize lightly when the new plants emerge. Be careful not to over-fertilize. Remember these plants like poor, sandy soil. Use a very low rate of a slow-release fertilizer.
- When plantlets are about an inch high, thin out the weaker ones and leave only the strongest standing approximately nine-to-twelve inches apart.
- Mulch between young plants to help keep the soil moist and warm and discourage weed growth. Keep a sharp eye out for weeds, and pull them as they appear so they do not rob young plants of nutrients.
Use shredded leaves as a mulch. They will gradually break down to add more nutrients to the soil.
Just be careful not to let the mulch touch the stems of your desired plants as this may cause rot.
In late autumn, you may decide to enjoy your Gazania indoors during the winter.
If so, dig them up and put them in containers before the first frost. In wintertime, keep them in a cool room with bright light. Water very sparingly.
Does Treasure Flower Have Problems With Pests Or Disease?
For the most part, Gazania plants are trouble-free. Excessive watering can cause problems with rot and edema.
Fungal infections such as Botrytis, powdery mildew, downy mildew and leaf spot can also be a problem in damp, humid climates.
Weakened plants may experience attacks from:
- Aphids – how to get rid of them
- Mealybugs – and their control
- Spider mites (getting rid of infestation)
Generally speaking, providing ample air circulation, careful spacing and watering will control any fungal infections and problems associated with rot.
Overcrowded and overwatered plants result in weak and sickly plants more prone to attracting pests.
To prevent infestation by aphids, mealybugs, spider mites and thrips, keep plants healthy and avoid overwatering.
If you experience problems with pest infestation, foliar applications of insecticidal soap and/or Neem oil solutions can bring insect pests under control with minimal negative impact to beneficial insects.
What Are The Best Ways To Use Gazania?
These versatile, adaptable plants can be used in a wide variety of ways.
- Gazanias with their neat, compact growth make them a lovely low border plant along a walkway or around a patio.
- Use the “Gazania daisy” to define the edges of your flower garden by planting a row along the front or around the perimeter.
- Plant colorful Treasure Flowers in rock gardens to add interest.
- These pretty plants do well in all sorts of containers, even hanging baskets.
- Because Treasure Flowers are so rugged and thrive on neglect, they make a wonderful choice for seaside gardens.
- Bees, butterflies and other pollinators love them, making Gazanias a great addition to butterfly gardens.
- Deer resistance makes them a great choice for decorating around your cabin in the woods.
- Excellent as a ground cover, so plant a lovely, sunny meadow of Gazania.
Do Gazanias Spread? Are They Considered Invasive?
Gazania linearis (a cousin of Gazania rigens) is naturalized and considered mildly invasive in California. [source]
Originally introduced in California as an ornamental, it quickly escaped and began growing rampantly in grasslands and along creeks. Gazania linearis forms a very dense ground cover and forces out native plants.
Even though Gazania rigens is not currently considered invasive in California, it makes good sense to plant it with care and keep it under control in very mild climates.
With its robust growth habits, it could very easily become invasive in settings that allow it to grow year-round and reseed itself easily.
Why Should You Plant Gazania?
If you are looking for an eye-catching, easy to grow, daisy-like plant, Gazania is a good choice.
These pretty plants come in a wide variety of colors and grow happily in almost any sunny setting.
If you have a:
- Challenging container
- Rugged rock garden
- Narrow strip of dirt by the curb
- Big flower bed
… you want to fill with gorgeous blooms, Treasure Flower can fill the bill.
Gazania is a hardy, colorful, enthusiastic plant that adds color and cheers to any landscape.