GAZANIA: Treasure Flower
Gazanias are bold and vibrant annuals for hot spots in the garden. Since they thrive in heat and are drought tolerant they are also great in containers on the patio and other areas with radiated heat such as parking strips.
Their foliage is thin and lobed offering a full, somewhat grassy look which is a fantastic contrast with their large exotic flowers. Not only are they easy to grow but they require only minimal maintenance of occasional deadheading. Also since they are hardy to zone 9, they may over winter in a sheltered, well-drained area, or can be overwintered indoors.
Their large, 4-5”, daisy style flowers come in a unique array of colors ranging from golds and oranges to dusky rose and ivory. The bicolor varieties have striped petals in stunning color combinations that giving them a sunburst look. These unique flowers close at night and attract butterflies during the day. They are versatile plants that fit in a variety of garden styles and situations.
For example, they are great for bedding under xeric plants such as Ceanothus and Arbutus, and also fantastic in containers around tropicals such as bananas and castor bean. Gazanias also combine well with ornamental grasses such as Orange sedge (Carex testacea) and Mexican Feather Grass (Stipa tenuissima), Euphorbias, and succulents.
Generally our best selection of Gazanias is late April through June with a smaller selection in July and August. Types available include:
G. ‘Big Kiss’ Series: Large bicolor flowers with striped petals. Yellow flame is bright gold with a maroon stripe. Grows 8-10” tall and wide, tender perennial.
G. ‘Daybreak’ Series: Spreading evergreen perennials with glossy leaves to 6 inches in length. Vigorous plants grow 8 inches tall by 10 inches wide with flowers 3-4 inches across. Brilliant flowers in intense orange, yellow, hot pink, white, or bronze, typically ringed in a contrasting color.
G. ‘Frosty Kiss’: this mix sports white, yellow, rose, and bronze flowers with an inner halo of a contrasting color. The silver foliage adds additional interest too! Grows 8” tall and wide.
G. ‘Kontiki Violet Picotee’: Star like blooms are deep violet with petals rimmed in cream. Grows 9” tall and wide.
G. ‘SunBathers’ Series: Rounded, compact plants growing 16” tall and wide. Seimi-double to fully double flowers are available in gold and burnt orange.
Common Name: Treasure flower
Origin: Gazanias are native to alpine meadows and low altitude sands of temperate South Africa, with one species extending the range into the tropics. The sixteen species of the genus are annuals and perennials of the daisy family. Their name is derived from Theodore of Gaza (1398-1478) who translated the botanical texts of Theophrastus from Greek to Latin.
Culture: All species are low growing, clump forming plants with narrow, lanceate leaves, sometimes downy with paler undersides. Most are near-evergreen (in the right zones) with foliage color ranging from mid- to light-green to pale, reflective grey.
The showy, brightly colored flowers appear throughout the warmer months, opening on sunny days and closing in cloudy or cooler weather. Flowers are large and plentiful relative to the size of the plant, and are usually brightly marked with contrasting bands or dots of color. Species tend to flower in shades of yellow, gold, or orange. Modern cultivars extend the color range to scarlet, white, and assorted pinks.
Maintenance: The most commonly cultivated are the modern hybrid selections. Grown as annuals or half-hardy perennials, they are beautiful for summer bedding and in patio containers. They tolerate coastal conditions, blooming freely into fall if regularly deadheaded.
Grow in light, sandy, well drained soil in full sun, preferably in the hottest part of the garden possible. All varieties require excellent drainage so amend soil with compost and/or pumice at planting time. Water freely when in active growth, but keep barely moist in winter.
Gazanias are generally treated as annuals in our climate. However many will overwinter if brought indoors and kept on the dry side until spring.
Pest and Disease: May be affected by powdery mildew, fungal spots, crown rot, bacterial leaf spot, and mealy bugs.