Popular Species Of The Osteospermum Genus


A close up of a flower
A close up of a flower

The genus of osteospermum is diverse with many species, but some are more popular than others.

Osteospermum is a common plant that can be found in many different locations. They have been known to survive in cold climates and humid environments throughout the world. Osteospermum plants are generally classified as annuals by botanists, which means they only live for one season before dying off. This makes them an easy type of plant to maintain because they require little maintenance once planted; however, these plants do need plenty of sunlight if they want to grow healthy and strong. The most popular species include:

Moth mullein (Osteospermum nivea)

A close up of a flower

Moth mullein” (Osteospermum nivea) Is a very attractive and easy to grow annual belonging to the family of sunflower (Asteraceae). It is from South Africa. Its popularity in Brazil, the United States and European countries has been growing for years because its outstanding ornamental characteristics. In Brazil, this plant is known as “flor-de-lis” because it resembles a lily flower blown by the wind.

Osteospermum nivea grows up to 60 cm tall, with an erect stem that tends to be branched at the top. The leaves are opposite and have a lovely appearance: dark green above and silvery below. They resemble a velvet touch when stroked by hand. The flowers appear in summer mostly at night but can also be seen in the day. They are up to 15 cm in diameter and appear in a wide range of colors: purple, pink, blue, white, yellow, or mauve. They even come striped or with contrasting “eyes”. Moth mullein is very ornamental and easy to grow. It can be grown either on its own as a specimen plant or by mixing it with other plants. We recommend placing this beauty in full sun (in hotter regions, if possible), close to some shrubs that will provide a nice contrast of foliage texture against the osteospermum’s silver leaves.

The soil should have good drainage so avoid planting it on low-lying areas prone to water stagnation. In winter or when night temperatures fall below 15oC (even when not frosty), it is advisable to provide some protection.

Moth mullein blooms for months and is a great attractor of bees, butterflies, hummingbirds, and even other insects that perform a highly important role in the pollination of plants. Its other name, “feverfew”, comes from an old Greek folktale that claims its use as a cure against fever caused by malaria. Its other common names come from the Afrikaans language: hereroa (“pale yellow”) or kanniedood (“can die”).

White Bird of Paradise (Osteospermum ecklonis)

“White Bird of Paradise”, otherwise known as the African daisy, is native to South Africa. This popular ornamental has become widely grown in gardens and parks in warmer climates throughout the world. The plant forms a low-growing mound with long stems covered by small white flowers resembling single “daisies”. The leaves are dark green with sometimes have pale green or yellow markings. Under ideal conditions, it can grow up to 1 meter on either side of its central red or orange taproot. Like other types of Osteospermum, this species responds well to fertilizing.

The African daisy grows in many soil types, although it prefers well-drained loam soils. It has moderate drought tolerance but is shallow-rooted and needs to be irrigated occasionally. When grown outdoors, the plant benefits from being cut back after its initial flowering phase. Pruning promotes fresh growth and reduces likely weed problems. It can also produce an attractive floral display for several years. The “White Bird of Paradise” is suitable for coastal gardens or areas with mild climates where frosts are rare or confined to winter evenings only.

Lacecap daisy (Osteospermum fruticosum)

The lace cap daisy is a perennial plant that blooms from summer to fall and requires full sun and well-drained soil. It has an average height of 12 to 36 inches and can adapt to different kinds of soil, but it flourishes in dry loam with good drainage. The flowers will grow during the summer, continuing until mid-autumn when they start dying off. Lacecap daisies bloom again in spring and need less water than other types of perennials. They should be planted in groups or borders for best results and require little maintenance to survive once they are established. The lace cap daisy has several beneficial properties, including attracting butterflies and birds.

The typical height of the Lacecap Daisy is typically 12-36 inches tall. It typically thrives when it is planted in well-drained soils that are rich in organic matter, but can also grow in rocky or gravely soil that is poor in nutrients. This flower will require moist, well-drained soil to survive properly and will typically do best when it is grown outdoors in sunny locations. The leaves on this flower are usually elliptical-shaped with pointed tips and measure approximately 5 centimeters long by 2 centimeters wide at their widest points. This herbaceous perennial can be grown from seeds, but typically the best results are seen when they are grown from cuttings or divisions.

The Lacecap Daisy is known to attract butterflies and birds into gardens and landscapes where it is planted and will typically grow in USDA hardiness zones 5 through 9. This flower can be propagated by division in either spring or fall by digging up a section of the plant with an attached root system and replanting it in moist soil that has been enriched with compost or manure. Since this herbaceous perennial can become invasive if allowed to go to seed, any plants that do go to seed should be pulled out so as not to spread their seeds throughout the garden.

Peach-Leaf Daisy (Osteospermum laeve)

This species is native to South Africa and is found in the coastal areas of the Cape Province. It has gray-green, spiny leaves about an inch long which are densely “furry” on both sides. The petals are white, sometimes with a light purple center, drooping under their weight when in bloom. Flowers appear all year round in South Africa but only during summer months in California where it prefers sunny locations, well-drained soil, and no additional water after established.

Osteospermum jucundum

Native to the Western Cape province of South Africa, this flowering shrub will grow to 3 feet tall by 2–3 feet wide with silver-gray foliage that’s deep green underneath and prickly along the edges. In summer it sends up a mass of two-lipped purple, pink or white daisy flowers that are intensely fragrant and that appear in profusion all through fall and winter.

The leaves can be harvested as cuttings for propagation.

Osteospermum polygaloides

Also known as “Mauve Daisy”, this is quite a popular garden plant with many cultivars available. In general, they have quite large flower heads, some with upward-facing petals and others with downward-facing ones. The daisy-like blossoms come out from autumn to spring in shades ranging from pale lilac and lavender to deeper mauves and pur and even near-black on occasion. These are evergreen perennials with silver leaves, but can also be deciduous in areas where it snows heavily.

Conditions to grow osteospermum

Temperature: 

At least 60 degrees F/15.5 C

Water:

Moderate to high, water frequently. Can tolerate some drought conditions but not for extended periods.

Light:

Prefers full sun but can survive in partial shade. Needs well-draining soil and average fertilizer levels. Osteospermum will likely need re-potting into a larger pot when the root system begins to fill the pot after about a year or two, depending on the size of the original container(s).

Fertilizer:

Plant osteo with water-soluble fertilizer during active growth from spring through fall at half strength every time you water (daily, every other day, weekly, or per label instructions). Osteospermum will likely need re-potting into a larger pot when the root system begins to fill the pot after about a year or two, depending on the size of the original container(s).

How to prune osteospermum:

Osteospermums grow well with moderate yearly pruning. If you are making cuttings for propagation, remember that fragrant flowers often come from stem tips.

If you want to keep your plant flowering heavily it is probably best not to deadhead because deadheading will weaken any flowers still open that day (they depend on nectar and nutrients stored in the old flower to produce seeds, which means no more food is available for the next generation of blooms). However, if you want to stop the flowering process for the season it is best to deadhead. If you do not want any more flowers on your plant, trim off all of its flowers after they have finished blooming.

Pests and Diseases:

Osteospermum can be prone to root rot if over-watered or in poorly drained soil. Over-watering with high levels of fertilizer is also a possible cause of root rot. Leaf spot may be caused by low humidity and/or wet soil conditions. If you water with water that contains chlorine your osteospermum can develop leaf tip burn from exposure to too much chlorine in the water. Osteospermums planted in full sun and lacking adequate drainage are also at risk for developing leaf tip burn. Osteospermum can also develop powdery mildew if left unchecked under overly damp conditions

How to propagate osteospermum:

Osteospermums are easy to propagate by stem cuttings (softwood or semi-ripe). They produce roots very quickly, usually within weeks of taking the cutting You can allow your osteospermum to flower on the small cane it is currently growing on before you take your cuttings; this way you will not be removing its flowers and having no new blooms for some time. Or you can remove all of the flowers so that more energy goes into root growth rather than flower production. After removing the flowers allow at least 3 nodes worth of growth before taking cuttings.

Osteospermums are also easy to propagate with division in the spring or autumn when their soil is no longer cold and wet.

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