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Caring for African Daises

by Malachy - Horticulturist CountryLife Dungarvan | May 15, 2017
African Daisy plants

African Daisy plants or Osteospermum have become very popular with Irish gardeners over the last number of years because they offer everything you are looking for from a summer flower. They are brightly coloured and they produce literally thousands upon thousands of flowers over the summer months. Each year when they come into the CountryLife Garden Centre here in Dungarvan they are always quickly snapped up by customers.

As you can guess from the plants name it is native to African but even given its native growing climate it can grow very well here in Ireland. But really to have it grow successfully you want to mimic its natural growing conditions as much as you can so it works best grown in full sunshine and drainage is vitally important. African Daisy plants do not tolerate waterlogged soil at all so ideally you need to plant it in good free draining soil. In fact the drier the soil the better they will do.

There are two main types of African Daisy that you will find in garden centres. There is perennial version that will return each year (as long as there isn’t a very harsh winter) and then there is also the summer bedding variety too, which is much more of an annual. Both varieties are great for different reasons. The bedding plant version are fantastic for height in window boxes or when planted in containers by themselves. But really you are only looking to use the bedding plant variety for one season as it will not survive an Irish winter.

The perennial variety is a great plant to use in flowerbeds but I always recommend planting it in large groups where it can naturally knit together to form almost a carpet of flowers. In ideal situations they can spread up to 90cm and because they are such a dense plant they can be used well as a weed suppressant too.

In terms of care they require very little maintenance to be honest. While I did mention earlier they like to be kept more on the dry side they do benefit from a feed every few weeks using a good quality liquid plant food. Then to encourage repeat flowering throughout the summer it is good to deadhead regularly which will help to encourage more flowers.

In Autumn then as the plant reaches the end of the line I like to cut back the foliage to ground level and then cover it in a thick layer of mulch which can help to protect it from extremely harsh frosts.

Written by Malachy

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Malachy's Bio 
I have been gardening since I was 5 years old when my mother gave me a part of our garden as my own. I have studied horticulture in the National Botanical Gardens in Glasnevin and was a winner in the young horticulturist of the year competition. I have worked in Several plant nurseries and garden centers such as Mount Congreve in Co. Waterford. My special interests are plant propagation and Cacti!

We were shortlisted for Best Lifestyle Blog in the Littlewoods Ireland Blog Awards 2016 Company Category.