The African daisy is a herbaceous perennial ground cover plant native to southern Africa. This species, also known as Arctotis X hybrida, produces large clumps of thin, oval, often finely engraved, green-green leaves; within a season the tufts of leaves, generally 30-40 cm long, widen by at least 50-70 cm; from late spring to the first cold days they produce large daisy-shaped flowers, yellow, orange, red or even purple, usually with a center in a contrasting color. Of easy cultivation, they often tend to have a short life, and to not survive for more than 2-3 years, even if they are self-seeding, thus providing new specimens that replace "old" plants. Like the flowers of the gazanie, even those of the arctotis they hatch only when the sun is shining. They are used in the borders or in the flower beds, they are very appreciated for the very long flowering.
To ensure our African daisy excellent growth, the species must be placed in a sunny place in the garden; in this way you will be able to directly receive the sun rays that you need to develop vigorously. Generally the arctotis X hybrida do not fear the cold, although it is advisable to cut the tufts at 10-15 cm from the ground and cover them with dry leaves during the winter months. These species do not even fear the summer heat. They can also be grown in pots or containers, very suitable in areas with a very harsh winter climate.
The species of African daisy can withstand problems of prolonged drought without problems, but flowering is more continuous and abundant if water is applied when the soil is dry; when it is desired to obtain an abundant flowering it is therefore necessary to water the ground regularly. In any case it is always advisable to avoid water stagnation. During the winter months watering should be avoided. From March to September, provide fertilizer for flowering plants, mixed with the water of the watering, about every 15-20 days.
The X hybrida arctotis prefer dry and very well drained soils, not particularly rich, preferably sandy or stony, consisting of peat, sand and organic matter.
The multiplication of the African daisy takes place in spring, by seed, or in autumn, by division of the tufts. As for the repotting, it is recommended from year to year to take the new tufts and transfer them into new containers to offer more space for the plants to grow.
African daisy - Arctotis X hybrida: Pests and diseases
These are plants that are hardly attacked by pests or diseases; wet winters can favor the development of rot or mold; sometimes aphids attack young buds. These are tiny insects or parasites more commonly called "plant lice" that suck the sap from the leaves causing serious physiological changes to them and to the whole plant. Aphids are also capable of transmitting multiple viruses. This is because they suck the sap from infected plants and switch to healthy plants, transporting the virus to new species. To solve the problem effectively, it is advisable to use specific pesticide products.