Today, amateur gardeners and landscape designers are presented with a huge selection of plants suitable for decorative cultivation in order to decorate territories. Among the available variety, it is worth highlighting osteospermum, represented by a large number of species and varieties.
In regions with a mild climate and in the middle lane in open ground, you can increasingly find a culture that has several names. Osteospermum or “African chamomile”, “Cape daisy” - a flower that stands out for its high decorative appeal. Externally, the plant has some similarities with chamomile, however, unlike the latter, the osteospermum blooms in fairly large buds that have different color of petals depending on species and variety. Today in the garden you can find varieties with multi-colored and plain petals, there are also cultures that look quite exotic due to their folded petals, with a slightly open edge. Taking into account the huge selection of varieties found in the garden, the inflorescences of the plant can be simple and double, there are also semi-double species.
Osteospermum is a bush reaching a height of 90-100 centimeters in its natural habitat. In decorative gardening, it is possible to grow a flowering plant with a height of about 50-60 centimeters.
A distinctive feature of the culture, according to the description, is a delicate floral aroma that does not come from the bud, but from the stems and green mass, covered with a slight pubescence.
The osteospermum enters the flowering phase in June, decorating a flower bed before the onset of cold weather. The diameter of the buds varies between 2.5-7.5 centimeters. They are revealed only in sunlight, which serves as a kind of protection for pollen in a flower. Each inflorescence retains its freshness for 5-7 days, after which it fades, and in its place or next new flowers open.
Culture is also distinguished by the ability to suspend its development during a period of severe drought and heat in order to maintain the viability of the already formed parts. No actions are required from the gardener during this period, since such a reaction will pass by itself as soon as the air temperature in the garden becomes acceptable for the flower.
Perennial or annual?
The genus osteospermum includes annual and perennial grasses and shrubs from the Astrov family. The life cycle features of the crops presented directly depend on the climatic nuances of the region in which a particular variety is grown.
Species and varieties
According to the accepted classification in nature, there are about 70 types of osteosperm and its hybrid varieties. Among the most popular representatives of the genus, it is worth highlighting the following.
Osteospermum of Eklon
A type of shrub reaching a height of one meter. Branches of the plant are branched, such a culture is grown as an annual. The green mass is medium in size, with notches along the edges of the leaves. The color of the inflorescences for the most part will be white; on the base, veins are usually visually noticeable, which frame the core of a dark color. This species has varieties of hybrid origin. Among them are very popular:
- "Zulu" - a culture with a yellow color of inflorescences;
- "Bambe" - the flower may have white or purple color;
- “Sky and ice” is an attractive plant with white petals and a blue core;
- “Congo” - a hybrid blooms with pink or purple inflorescences;
- "Starry Ice" - a variety with petals that have a blue color inside, white outside.
Growing such a plant will allow you to have a culture in the garden, with a height of about 50-70 centimeters. The flower is in demand due to the characteristics of inflorescences to change the color of their petals as they bloom. Among the varieties cultivated artificially in decorative gardening, are in demand:
- “Buttermilk” - initially the buds will be yellow, then the shade changes to bronze;
- "Bengal fire" - the plant blooms blue with white buds;
- “Lady Leytrim” - the culture has a dark core and lilac-colored petals.
This variety includes varieties obtained by breeders artificially. A remarkable feature of decorative bushes is the development of a large number of inflorescences on one plant. Among the varieties that enjoy well-deserved attention, it is worth noting:
- “Aquila White” - blooms in large buds of white color;
- “Peshne” - simple inflorescences are formed in the flower, the color of which varies from white to lilac or pink, with longitudinal lines;
- “Double Parple” is a purple flower with tubular petals.
In addition to the aforementioned representatives of the genus, gardeners often cultivate ampelous varieties, and new varieties, such as Eclonis White, Akilla Lavender Sheides, and Mixture of Colors , are also being purchased to decorate flowerbeds and front gardens.
How to plant?
To have an attractive flowering shrub in the garden, when choosing a place for rooting, you should give preference to well-lit areas. On the shaded flower beds of the flower, inflorescences begin to fade, the plant itself will develop extremely slowly. It is also worth avoiding places in the draft, crops should be reliably protected from strong winds.
Rooting the osteospermum most correctly in light and loose soil, with neutral or weak acidity.
For independent preparation of nutritious land for a flower bed, it is worth using fine sand, turf, humus and sheet soil, taken in equal quantities.
Planting osteosperm seedlings is carried out in late May. To root young cultures, 20-22 centimeters in size are prepared. Planting is carried out by the method of transshipment, since for good development and adaptation of the plant it is important to maintain the integrity of the root system. If you plan to grow several flowering shrubs in the garden, plant them next to each other in increments of 10-15 centimeters. After planting crops, the soil around the plants should be well tamped, irrigated, and also cover the ground near the root system with a layer of mulch, which will help maintain moisture in the ground. As a rule, seedling osteospermum will bloom in June-July.
How to care?
With regard to agricultural activities, the “Cape Daisy” will not cause the grower much trouble. To enjoy a flowering culture, it is enough to perform a number of required works, presented below.
Gardeners should be aware that osteospermum is a drought tolerant plant, so the bush will not need frequent and plentiful watering. For the flower, there will be enough moisture, carried out as the soil dries up, combining these measures with loosening the soil.
Plant care also involves the introduction of additional fertilizing. For these purposes, mineral organic complexes are used that positively affect flowering.
Fertilizing is recommended in the bud budding phase, as well as re-dressing at the end of summer.
Osteospermum is a heat-loving culture that reacts very sensitively to negative air temperatures, so shrubs should not be left in the open ground for wintering, even in regions with mild and warm winters. However, provided that the temperature in winter does not drop to negative levels, the flower can maintain its viability. Most often, gardeners do not try to preserve the “Cape Daisy” in winter, so the next season in the spring they prefer to plant a new plant instead of the old one that has been recycled.
If there is a desire to grow a perennial, then with the advent of autumn, they dig out osteospermum from the ground, transplanted into a pot or flowerpot, arranging the culture for the winter in a cool room at home, trying to maintain the air temperature in the range from +7 to +14 degrees.
It is important to provide the plant with a sufficient level of lighting, introduce fertilizing, and also water. In spring, the flower can be rooted again in the garden.
The culture deserves special attention during flowering. Gardeners are advised to promptly remove wilted or dry buds from the flower. These works will increase the decorative attractiveness of the bush, in addition, in varieties with abundant formation of inflorescences, wilted flowers will not interfere with the blooming of fresh ones.
African Chamomile does not require frequent bush shaping, but a crop may need a sanitary haircut in the fall or spring. At this time, it is necessary to remove the broken shoots, branches with defects or parts of the plant that interfere with group flower plantings. However, in the bud bookmarking phase, such work is contraindicated.
Can I grow at home in pots?
Osteospermum can be grown at home not only as a temporary overexposure in the winter. With proper care, the flower is able to develop and bloom at home in a pot.
To maintain decorative attractiveness, it is recommended to fertilize the culture, do not neglect watering, and also provide good access to the sunny color.
Florists have practiced several effective methods for independently obtaining a new plant. Possible breeding options for "African chamomile" are described below.
If the perennial overwinter in the winter from autumn, then in February it is recommended that the gardener cut off lateral shoots from the crop, the length of which should be between 6-10 centimeters. For work it is necessary to use a sharp disinfected knife. Slice areas in the maternal culture and cuttings are treated with carbon powder, in the presence of green mass at the ends, it is recommended to remove it. Then the collected material is placed in a container of warm water for germination of the roots. For stimulation, you can use any growth accelerator that is added to the liquid. The water in the container must be changed regularly, maintain the temperature in the room in the range of + 20-22 degrees.
After the appearance of the roots, the petioles are planted in pots with a special soil mixture. Cutting and germinating osteospermum most correctly in the substrate, consisting of humus, fine sand and garden soil.
Some gardeners practice the method of cuttings, skipping the intermediate stage of keeping the separated parts of the flower in the water, rooting the shoots immediately in a container with the ground. In this way, the flower multiplies only if a mini-greenhouse is created with good lighting, moderate moisture and regular ventilation.
For growing crops from seeds, planting material is collected or purchased. Selected seeds for seedlings must be rooted in the ground in March-April. Before deepening them, the seeds are kept in a damp cloth or in a container with a small amount of water.
To achieve a good result, planting material will be enough to spend about 6 hours in the liquid.
If you collect or purchase fresh seeds, germinating them is recommended in special peat tablets or in ordinary plastic containers. To avoid damage to young crops during joint planting, each flower should initially be planted in a separate container.
Seeds need to be deepened no more than 5 mm into the ground, after which the soil must be moistened with a spray gun, make a mini-greenhouse using any covering material that transmits light. Seedling care is reduced to regular ventilation and moisturizing. The optimal air temperature in a room with osteosperm seedlings will be + 20-22 degrees. The film from the plants can be removed when the first sprouts appear on the surface. Further, young cultures should grow in a well-lit place. As soon as the plants get stronger, they need to be gradually accustomed to fresh air, placing containers with young flowers on the street for a while, gradually increasing its duration. Landing in open ground can be carried out in the spring, when the temperature in the street will not drop below +15 degrees even in the dark.
Osteospermum can also be propagated by dividing an adult culture into several parts. To do this, you need to dig a flower from the ground, divide it into the required number of parts containing roots. New crops can be deepened into the ground immediately.
Diseases and Pests
Even with proper care, the plant cannot be completely protected from attacks by insect pests. Among the pests that are dangerous for the "Cape chamomile", it is worth highlighting aphids and thrips. To destroy insects, gardeners are advised to resort to processing plants with insecticidal compounds. Among the effective remedies, one can mention Aktara, Fitoverm, Karbofos.
Mistakes regarding the waterlogging of a plant can lead to the spread of fungal ailments. To destroy the pathogenic microflora, it is necessary to use fungicides, which can be purchased in specialized stores. Highly effective drugs include Abiga-Pin, Fitosporin, Fundazol.
With extensive damage to plants by a fungal ailment, processing in the garden is carried out in several stages.
Use in landscape design
"Cape Chamomile" is quite in demand in floriculture. Most often, the culture can be found in the design of flower beds, also shrubs are used as flowering crops in landscape design as ornamental plants for the foreground in group plantings. Osteospermum can be found in rocky gardens and rock gardens.
Some gardeners prefer to plant crops in large flowerpots or tubs, creating beautiful compositions in the fresh air. Tall species are suitable for zoning flower stands. Among the recommended neighbors for osteosperm are petunias, bells, lavender and forget-me-nots. Multi-colored inflorescences harmoniously combine with the evergreen representatives of the decorative garden fauna, colorful flowers allow you to create attractive compositions with plants forming a green carpet in the front gardens and flower beds in public places.
See more about osteosperm cultivation in the next video.