This flower has some real power GAZANIA


By STEPHANIE HUGHES

OSU Ext. master gardener volunteer

CANFIELD

While walking through my local garden spot, I came across an unusual flower. At least, it was unusual to me. It looked like a very short daisy crossed with a blanket flower and a gerbera daisy. It was simply fantastic.

I called my husband over and we bought half a flat of these absolutely breathtaking flowers for planting back at our house. I wasn’t sure where they would go, but I had to have them. Little did I know what the summer would bring.

The blooms kept going from the time I planted them until the very end of the growing season. They never gave up, so I’ll never give up on using them in my landscape from now until forever.

Anyway, gazania is an eye-catching beauty. Gazania (gazania rigens) is named after a horticulturist. These spectacular flowers originate in Africa. Thus, other than their beauty, these daisy-like compact flowers are drought resistant.

It is difficult to find something that is both beautiful and doesn’t need watering every day or two in the hot months of late summer here in the Mahoning Valley.

This drought resistance and shimmering silver gray foliage make them good for rock gardens. They can get as tall as 10 to 14 inches above the ground, but many are ground huggers.

This means the foliage stays within 4 to 6 inches off the ground, and the stalk gets a couple inches taller than that. They love well-drained, low-fertility soil. This describes many areas of my home landscape.

Their drought resistance makes them great additions to all kinds of containers, especially those that get lots of heat from surrounding concrete. Window boxes would be a good use for these plants, giving lots of flower power without all the extra watering chores.

One catch is that they require deadheading to keep blooming until late fall. They can be pinched back for full fall bloom.

The colors of the flowers of gazania range from yellow, orange, black, brown, bronze, white and red, and all have the characteristic dark-brown center. They close up at night, and will only partially open on cloudy days.

But best of all, you get many colors on each plant. I found this out recently when an orange bloom opened right next to a white one. A surprise every morning. Even if these do not make it this year, I am going to make sure this flower is on my “must have” list in the future.

For information on this flower and care tips, visit go.osu.edu/gazania.

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