Gazanias Gone Wild: Why I’m Daisy Crazy

– Posted in: Garden Adventures


It’s spring and I’ve gone giddy over gazanias. When planted en masse, these daisies are truly amazing. I recently trekked to a hillside near my home ablaze with orange glory. The flowers were so hot-hued, I swear I could hear them sizzle.


Gazanias, from South Africa, do their homeland proud the way they pulse with colors and patterns reminiscent of tribal textiles. Each flower’s center has a dark ring that makes the petals appear scorched, as though by a tiny inferno.


Even before they unfurl, the petals’ geometry is engaging.


There are numerous Gazania hybrids; some are reddish pink.


Double-petaled strains exist, too.


Like snowflakes, there seems no end to the patterns formed by the dark inner rings.


Don’t these petals appear brush-stroked? And those white dots! They’re so over-the-top, I’m ululating like a joyful Botswanan.


Not only are gazanias heliotropic (they turn towards the sun), they require full sun to unfurl. And, they close at night.


Gazanias won’t stay open long when brought indoors; a bouquet like this needs bright light lest the petals swing slowly shut.


Purple verbena provides a soothing complement to all that orange.

Gazanias grow effortlessly throughout the Southwest, where they’re perennials; in colder climates they’re annuals. These tough plants don’t require–although they do appreciate–rich soil, fertilizer and ample water.

Finally (forgive me), I can’t resist showing you how eye-popping gazanias can be. My husband, Jeff, took this photo.


Debra Lee Baldwin
Award-winning garden photojournalist Debra Lee Baldwin authored the Timber Press bestsellers Designing with Succulents, Succulent Container Gardens, and Succulents Simplified. Debra is a regular contributor to Sunset and other publications, and her own half-acre garden near San Diego has been featured in Better Homes & Gardens. Debra specializes in showing how to use architectural, waterwise and easy-care succulents in a wide variety of appealing and creative applications.
Debra Lee Baldwin
Debra Lee Baldwin

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Don April 11, 2009, 7:28 am

I love seeing flowers en masse like that! Some things look fabulous in large groups. Now I’m wondering what DOESN’T look fab in large groups…

Hi, Don — Well, flowers that are past peak and need deadheading, for one. Gazanias aren’t too bad—they form cottony seed heads. Debra
Beautiful photos

Sande April 11, 2009, 8:55 am

Stunning photos! That 2nd photo looks like a volcano erupting. Gazanias are one of my favorites too.

Hi Sande-A volcano—I love that! Debra

RuthDFW April 11, 2009, 10:03 am

They R beautiful – I would prefer something in the pink family tho. Will have to checkout a few websites.

Hi, Ruth — Re pink, you’re on the right track with arctotis (I see you included a photo of a pale yellow one on your blog’s latest post). Debra

Town Mouse April 11, 2009, 1:07 pm

I agree, they’re great. Can take the heat, too!

[To Town Mouse] Yes, these are hot flowers from hot climates! Debra

Shirley Bovshow "EdenMaker" April 11, 2009, 1:13 pm

Great presentation Debra. Yes, the Gazanias do a wonderful job representing “African tribal colors.” I enjoyed the close up photos of these amazing plants.

Thanks, Shirley. Gazanias are low-water, too—a good thing for gardens in our region. Debra

Nicole April 11, 2009, 2:39 pm

Great pictures, very hot colors. I am going to check out where I can buy gazania seeds now. These will be perfect for my garden on a hot, dry island.

Hi, Nicole — I’ve had better luck with starter plants than seeds. You might check with your local nursery or garden center to see if they sell gazanias in flats or six-packs. Debra

eliz April 11, 2009, 11:18 pm

That looks like the very best way to experience these. They look terrific. I’ve purchased them as annuals a couple times, but they were not too impressive that way.

Hi, Elizabeth—It makes sense that gazanias won’t do well as annuals for
you. In warm regions where the plants are perennials they’re busy
establshing roots all winter in preparation for spring bloom. If they go in
the ground now, their performance likely will be disappointing. Debra

Aiyana April 13, 2009, 5:03 am

The photos are gorgeous! I thought we had wonderful desert wildflower displays after having a wet winter, but I think the Gazanias and purple verbena have our displays coming in second.

Hi, Aiyana, another flower that looks really good with gazanias is blue babiana, a bulb that also is from South Africa. Debra