August 16, 2017

Deep Into the Eye

Osteospermum 'Asti Mix'

Janine Pineo Photo | Osteospermum ‘Asti Mix’

In shades of white, lavender and purple, the daisylike blossoms of Osteospermum ‘Asti Mix’ will put on a show all summer if kept happy. Sporting a deep blue center, the 2-inch wide flowers of this African daisy variety grow atop 20-inch tall plants. The white of the group won the 2008 All-America Selection for its bloom time and tolerance of heat and drought.  Also called South African daisy, Cape daisy and blue-eyed daisy, osteospermum is native to Africa. The species are half-hardy perennials or subshrubs, but not hardy here in Maine. A “newer” plant found in the greenhouse trade in the past few decades, osteospermum grows well in full sun, and if kept watered and fertilized, they should be in continuous bloom all summer long. Deadheading is not usually needed because they don’t readily set seed, but it can help to encourage new growth. If they get too dry, however, the plant will abort the flower buds and go into “sleep mode,” a state that it will not easily come out of with new flowers. These were photographed at the 2013 Bangor garden show.