Osteospermum is an annual or perennial herbaceous plant belonging to the Asteraceae or Compositae family. The genus is represented by shrubs and semi-shrubs which can be found in the wild on the African continent. The name osteospermum is derived from the Greek word for "bone" and also from the Latin word for "seed. This plant is also called the "cape daisy", "blue-eyed daisy", "cape chamomile", "African chamomile", and also "South African chamomile". Osteospermum is called chamomile because the flowers of representatives of this genus look similar to the inflorescences of plants belonging to the genus Nivianthus.
As decorative plants, gardeners grow only a few species of Osteospermum.
Peculiarities of Osteospermum
Osteospermum is an evergreen plant that does not exceed 100 centimeters in height. As a rule, the shrubs have erect shoots, but species with stalked stems also occur. The edge of the leaf plates is irregularly serrated. The flowers are baskets-flowers, which are 4-10 centimeters in diameter.
They consist of reeded flowers in purple, pink, yellow, white, purple or orange and central tubular flowers in blue. Osteospermum differs from other representatives of the Aster family in that its middle tubular flowers are sterile (sterile) and reed flowers set their seeds.
This plant is used for decorating patios and flowerbeds and is also grown in tubs and pots. It does not finish its magnificent flowering until November. This plant is resistant to heat, short drought and a little frost.
In the middle latitudes, the perennial Osteospermum is usually grown as an annual.
Growing osteospermum from seed
Sow dried osteospermum seeds for seedlings in the last days of March or first days of April. Peat pellets or containers filled with a loose mixture of sand and peat are used.
For the seeds to germinate faster, they should be placed in a moistened cloth for a few hours before sowing. Remember, however, that these seeds should not be soaked, since they react very negatively to it. A single seed is placed on the wet surface of the substrate and, using a toothpick, sunk half a centimeter into the soil. The seeds are removed to a fairly warm place with a temperature of 20 to 22 degrees. The first seedlings can appear after 7 days, after that they should be moved to a very well-lit place.
If the seedlings are grown in a container, then when they have formed 2 or 3 true leaf plates, you will need to make their picking in individual containers, and do not forget to bury part of the stem. If high-growing varieties are grown, after transplanting it is necessary to pinch the plants a little, this will help to get more abundant flowering in the future, and will also prevent the seedlings from stretching strongly. From the first days of May you should start hardening the seedlings. To do this, systematically open the window in the room or move the seedlings to the balcony. At first this procedure should not exceed 10-15 minutes, and then it should be gradually increased.
Open ground transplanting
Osteospermum seedlings are transplanted into open ground in the last days of May. You should choose a sunny site for planting, but this flower can also be grown in a shady place. The distance between the planting holes should be 20 to 25 centimeters. Their depth should be such that not only the root system, but also the clod of earth should be placed. The seedlings should be carefully poured into the prepared wells, which are filled with a mixture of soil consisting of humus, turf and leaf soil, and sand (1:1:1:1).
Tamp down the surface of each hole. The planted seedlings need plenty of watering. Flowering will begin in June.
Osteospermum. How to plant osteospermum.
Growing osteospermum is very easy. All that is needed is moderate watering, timely feeding during flowering, and timely picking off the inflorescences that have begun to fade. If it is still cold enough at night in May, osteospermums will need to be covered.
The watering of such flowers is usually required only during prolonged dry periods.
The fact is that the flowers may become shallow due to the lack of moisture. If the rains are falling systematically, the osteospermum can also do without watering. Increase the lushness and duration of flowering by feeding this plant with complex mineral fertilizers twice a month, using ½ of the recommended dosage on the package. If there is prolonged hot weather, the process of bud formation is suspended in osteospermum. Once the temperature drops, the lush flowering continues.
Pests and diseases
Although osteospermum is highly resistant to diseases and pests, it can still have problems of this kind. For example, if the flower grows in a shaded place and at the same time is watered quite often and abundantly, its defense system weakens, which leads to a lesion of fungal diseases. This manifests itself in the fact that the root system of the bush rots, and he himself withers. In this regard, grow osteospermum best in a sunny area, but remember that between watering the surface of the soil must always dry well. Treat the diseased specimens with fungicide.
If the plant is weakened, aphids may settle on the shoots and leaf plates, sucking the sap out of it. The affected shrub's leaves will turn yellow and fall off and the plant will wilt. To get rid of the aphids, treat the shrubs with acaricide (Actara, Actellic or Karbofos).
After the winter period begins, the annual Osteospermum will die. But there is a way to make it a perennial plant.
In the fall, dig up the bushes and plant them in pots that should be placed in a cool room where they will bloom for quite some time.
How to preserve osteospermum in winter
Wild species and varieties of osteospermum with photos and names
About 45 species of osteospermum are found in the wild. The most popular species are:
Osteospermum ecklonis (Osteospermum ecklonis)
In nature, it occurs in the eastern Cape region. Some forms have straight shoots half a meter high, while others are stunted, spreading, almost stalked shrubs. Inflorescences are about 8 centimeters in diameter with a violet-red central part and many pink veins on the lower surface of the white reed flowers.
There is a variety in which the middle flowers are colored pale blue.
Osteospermum bushy (Osteospermum fruticosum)
This species is native to the southern Cape region. Its stalked shoots can cover vast areas. The reed flowers are colored white, pale mauve or red. Such a plant was introduced to California, where it is very widespread.
Osteospermum conspicuous (Osteospermum jucundum)
This perennial plant is native to the interior of South Africa. It blooms practically year-round. The reed flowers have a pink-purple color, which becomes darker toward the center.
There are many hybrids and varieties of this plant, but how they came into being is not currently known. The most popular of these are:
This variety, in comparison with other varieties and species of Osteospermum, has wider marginal florets. When they first bloom, they have a pure white color, which eventually changes to purple.
- Buttermilk. The bush is about 0.6 m tall.
The coloration of the leaf plates is greenish gray. The marginal flowers are light yellow and the median flowers are dark.
- Cannington Roy. This low-growing semi-shrub is a stalking shrub. The baskets are about 8 centimeters in diameter and consist of white corollas with purple tips, eventually changing to purple-pink.
- Congo. This variety has small inflorescences, and the color of the reed flowers is purple-pink.
- Pemba. The reed flowers of such a plant are spliced into a tube to the middle.
The reed flowers are long and colored pale purple.
- Вольта. The reed flowers have a pink-lilac color at the beginning, but then it changes to almost white.
- Silver Sparkler. The bush is about 0.
4 m tall. The coloration of the marginal florets is white. There are dots of light color on the leaf plates.
- Sandy Pink. The bush reaches 0.
4 m in height. The color of the baskets is pink, with the shape of the marginal florets similar to a spoon.
- Starry Eyes. The bush is a little over 50 centimeters tall. The lower surface of the lingual flowers, folded lengthwise in half, is bluish gray, and the upper surface is white.