Chicago gardeners, if you like brightly colored, daisy-like flowers, you’ll enjoy growing gazanias on your patio and in your garden. These tough, flamboyant, exotic annuals are lovely to look at and easy to grow.
Gazanias are a genus of 16 species belonging to the ASTERACEAE family. They are native to South Africa’s low altitude, sandy grasslands and alpine meadows. They have been established in Australia, New Zealand, Mediterranean regions and California. The plant tolerates drought, salt and heat. They are non-evasive, low-growing, ground covers that flourish in containers and flower beds. This plant is an annual in the Chicago area, and a perennial in tropical and sub-tropical regions. They have no known medicinal use; they’re simply stunning.
The lance-like, basal leaves may be feathery, branching or jagged. The leaves are usually covered on both sides with felt-like, gray hairs. The brightly hued, large to giant flowers are colored in combinations or solids of red, orange, yellow or white. On cloudy, cool days and at sunset the flowers close. The flowers attract butterflies and grow over long periods during the summer and early fall.
Indoors, sow seeds or plant cuttings in a sandy, soil-based potting mix. Water these indoor plants regularly in summer but lightly over the winter. Outside, plant seeds or cuttings in sandy, well-drained soil in garden hot spots and rock gardens. These plants do not need fertilizer and grow effortlessly. Deadhead to promote flowering. Bring the plants inside or take basal cuttings after the first light frost.
If you prefer to grow unusual plants in your garden, you might add gazanias to your list of plants to grow. They are beautiful all summer and blend stunningly with the autumn landscape.
Live long and well—garden.
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