Growing an African Daisy from Seeds
African daisies are a beautiful plant that grows easily and needs little attention once established. The plant loves sunny days and cool nights, but will stop flowering if it becomes too hot.
Step 1 – Collect Your Seeds
You can buy seeds or collect them from existing plants. The seeds will naturally fall from dead flowers so you need to collect the heads before that happens. Tap the flower heads onto a hard surface and the seeds will fall out.
Step 2 – Plant Your Seeds
Seeds can be planted in pots about 8 weeks before the last frost in the year. They can also be placed directly into the garden after the danger of frost has passed. Cover them very lightly with soil.
Step 3 – Germination by Light
African daisies need a good level of light to germinate, so don’t bury the seeds.
Step 4 – Seedlings in the garden
Seeds that have been planted in the garden and that have germinated might need to be thinned out. Ideally you should have the seedlings 8 to 10 inches apart, although they will tolerate some over crowding.
Step 5 – Seedlings in Pots
As soon as the danger of frost in the garden is over you can transplant the seeds grown in pots. The seedlings will be 4 to 6 inches tall by this time, and should be planted into the garden to the same depth as they were in the pots. Space them 8 to 10 inches apart.
Step 6 – Water and Feed
The African daisy thrives in light sandy soil. The plants like the soil to remain moist, so growth will be improved if you add some perlite or good garden compost. Water the seedlings twice a week and try to keep the leaves dry, as they are prone to fungus infections..
Step 7 – Weeding
African daisies are not very combative and will be overcome by weeds if they get established. Remove any weeds that have started growing and apply a good 2 inch layer of mulch around the seedlings to keep the weeds down. The mulch will also help to keep the soil moist.
Step 8 – Dry Spells
African daisies are quite resilient but should be watered regularly in long dry spells. If the plants stop flowering because of the heat just water as usual. When the temperatures fall again, flowers will be produced.
African daisies will keep repopulating an area in which they are established. At the end of each season the dead flowers will drop their seeds and the seeds will germinate the following year. You need not get involved in this process since it will happen automatically. If you need to thin out the bed because there is not enough room for all the plants, choose a mixture of the best mature plants and the best new plants to keep. The plants can tolerate some crowding so thin them out initially by taking the flowers for indoor displays. Collecting the dead flower heads before they shed their seeds will reduce the amount of potential crowding.