A member of the Asteracae, or Daisy, family, the Gazania is a perennial that is often grown as an annual. Often called the “Treasure Flower”, the Gazania produces deep green, lobed lance shaped leaves, and wide daisy blooms in shades of red, pink, orange, and yellow. With sixteen species native to Africa, these hardy, low-spreading plants are a great addition as ground cover or within a bed in need of pops of color. Said to be named after a Greek scholar, Theodore of Gaza, by German botanist, Joseph Gaertner, the word gaza means “riches” (The South African Nursery Association, 2020).
A know nyctinastic, the Ganzania shelters itself in slumber on cloudy days and at night by closing itself up. Although it is not entirely understood why some plants exhibit nyctinastic behavior, theories abound that it is a reaction induced to protect the plant against cooler temperatures, or protecting the plant’s nectar from bacteria and fungal spores. The Ganzania, growing to a height of .5 to 1 foot with a spread ranging between 1 to 2 feet, has a preference for full sun exposure and well-drained to dry, light fertile soil (sand or loam).
The soil pH should be neutral (near 7.0 pH), but Ganzania’s will tolerate acidic and alkaline soil. Conversely, it is not tolerant of excessive water exposure. Over watering can lead to root rot and facilitate the development of fungal diseases. The Ganzania is a great addition to any landscaping, and is an ideal starter plant for anyone lacking a green thumb as it is a hardy plant requiring very little intervention.
South African Nursery Association, (2020). Our Treasured Flowers – Gazania. Retrieved from: https://www.lifeisagarden.co.za/our-treasured-flowers-gazania/
Gilman, E. F. & Howe, T. (1999;2014). Ganzania spp. Gazania. Retrieved from: https://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/fp225