The Gazania is a daisy-like plant that originates in Africa. Unlike daisies, Gazanias grow in a variety of shades and color combinations, from cream to pink, peach orange, gold and red. There are tiger-striped and multicolored varieties. In warmer regions with little to no freezing temperatures, they are perennials, but in North America, they are generally considered annuals. In warmer US zones 9 and 10, however, Gazania plants will reseed themselves.
One unique feature of the Gazania is its habit of closing its blooms in cloudy, cool weather and after dark. There are some varieties that tend to stay open a bit more than others, but consider this nature’s way of prolonging the bloom.
Gazanias can be grown from seed or propagated, and are considered easy to manage.
Before Transplanting: Timing
Be sure to wait until the last frost of the season is over before transplanting your Gazania outside. If you are growing your Gazania from seed, start at least 7 to 8 weeks ahead of your target transplant date. Gazania seeds will take up to 3 weeks to germinate, and at least 4 weeks of growth is recommended before transplanting. Propagation from a cutting takes almost as long, at least 5 weeks.
Step 1: Plant Seeds
Seeds will thrive when sown indoors between February and April, and should be sown in trays of seed starter mix, ¼ inch deep. They germinate best in the dark, with the medium kept moist and a consistent temperature of 70 degrees F. Once seedlings sprout, move them into the light. When large enough to handle, transplant to additional trays to a distance of 2 inches apart. Harden off to cooler temperatures gradually.
Step 2: Take Cuttings (Optional)
Gazanias take well to cutting propagation, so if you have a mature plant from which to take cuttings, do so. Dip the cutting in rooting hormone and root in a well-drained organic propagation medium, or Oasis or Rockwool. Maintain temperatures between 70 to 75 degrees F and mist frequently. Propagation will take approximately 5 weeks using this method.
Gazania plants can also be divided when mature, by separating plant and root ball in half.
Step 3: Choose Outdoor Location
Since Gazanias like warmth and abundant sunlight, choose a location with at least 4 hours of direct sunlight every day. Soil should be light and sandy, and if your soil has too much clay content, container gardening is a likely option for your Gazania.
Step 4: Transplant
Gazanias prefer spacing of about 10 inches apart, and will bloom from June through October. They enjoy tomato fertilizer, which should be applied about every 2 weeks.