How to Grow and Care for Osteospermum

Also called African daisy, this tender perennial is often grown as an annual for its beautiful spring and fall blooms.

Osteospermum Sideshow Copper Apricot

BHG / Evgeniya Vlasova

Only available in the trade since the early 1990s, osteospermum is a fairly recent addition to the gardening world. With their daisylike blossoms in many colors, osteospermums were an instant hit. These cheery blooms, planted on their own or with other cool-season plants like pansies, make a lively display in spring or fall.

When osteospermums first became available, there were only a few colors to choose from, primarily white and peach. Even with a limited color selection, their bright blue-purple centers made them a popular garden choice. After plant breeders got to work, new hues of flowers started appearing, such as pink, purple, and bicolors.

Osteospermum Overview

Genus Name Osteospermum
Common Name Osteospermum
Plant Type Annual, Perennial
Light Part Sun, Sun
Height 1 to 3 feet
Width 1 to 2 feet
Flower Color Orange, Pink, Purple, White, Yellow
Foliage Color Blue/Green
Season Features Fall Bloom, Spring Bloom, Summer Bloom
Special Features Attracts Birds, Cut Flowers, Good for Containers, Low Maintenance
Zones 10, 11, 9
Propagation Seed, Stem Cuttings

Where to Plant Osteospermum

Osteospermums are most often grown as cool-season annuals. Some varieties are hardy to Zones 10-11, but they won't survive very cold temperatures. In many instances, the plants will take a break from blooming during the hot summer until cool nights resume in fall.

Osteospermum Care Tips


Ideally, osteospermum thrive in full sun; the more light you can give them, the better they will bloom.

Soil and Water

Osteospermum prefers evenly moist, well-drained soils. However, too-wet soil is a sure way to stress out and even kill osteospermums. Once they are established, they are fairly tolerant of drought.


Add a balanced fertilizer to the soil in spring before planting osteospermum, and apply a liquid fertilizer every two weeks during the summer. Fertilizing your plants regularly and removing any spent blooms keeps osteospermums blooming and looking their best.

Pest and Problems

One common pest you may see on osteospermums is thrips. These tiny insects like to feed on the flowers' pollen and use their sharp mouthparts to scrape the petals for water. This damages buds and contorts new growth. Luckily, there are many other beneficial insects out during the growing season that will keep these pests in check.

How to Propagate Osteospermum

Because most osteospermums are hybrids, they don't usually grow true from seeds, but you can take cuttings of existing plants for exact duplicates to expand your supply of this cool-weather favorite. Select non-flowering shoots and cut them at about 3 to 5 inches. Remove any leaves from the bottom half of the cuttings and dip them in a rooting hormone. Plant them in any well-draining medium to root.

If you don't mind surprises, sprinkle fresh seeds on top of planting medium indoors in late fall; the seeds need light to germinate, so keep them well-lit but cool. They can't tolerate heat. Move the seedlings to individual pots when they are about 3 inches tall and wait until after the last frost in spring to move them outdoors.

Types of Osteospermum

Because this group of plants is still fairly new to the horticultural industry, exciting varieties are popping up every year. Research is being done to create longer-lasting blooms that stay open all day and night. Also, the center disk flowers have been modified to be longer and denser, creating a 3D effect. New colors of osteospermum are constantly being created, as well. Here are some favorites.

'Flower Power Spider White' Osteospermum

Osteospermum 'Flower Power Spider White'
Justin Hancock

Osteospermum 'Flower Power Spider White' shows off an abundance of daisy-shaped blooms with unique spoon-shaped petals. It grows 14 inches tall. Zones 9-11

'Mara' Osteospermum

Osteospermum 'Mara'
Justin Hancock

Osteospermum 'Mara' produces large blooms of apricot-tan petals that blend to a beautiful soft pink at the center. This compact selection grows 10 inches tall. Zones 9-11

'Serenity Lavender Frost' Osteospermum

osteospermum Serenity Lavender Frost

BHG / Evgeniya Vlasova

Osteospermum 'Serenity Lavender Frost' bears white flowers with a lavender-purple center on 14-inch-tall plants. Zones 9-11

'Peach Symphony' Osteospermum

Osteospermum 'Peach Symphony'
Peter Krumhardt

Osteospermum 'Peach Symphony' bears soft, peachy-coral flowers in spring and fall on drought-tolerant plants that grow 14 inches tall. Zones 9-11

'Serenity Purple' Osteospermum

osteospermum Serenity Purple

BHG / Evgeniya Vlasova

Osteospermum 'Serenity Purple' bears rich-purple flowers on mounding plants that grow 14 inches tall. Zones 9-11

Sideshow Copper Apricot Osteospermum

Osteospermum 'Sideshow Copper Apricot'
Justin Hancock

Osteospermum 'Sideshow Copper Apricot' bears soft apricot-orange flowers with a purple blush on a mounding, 1-foot-tall plant. Zones 9-11

'Soprano Compact Purple' Osteospermum

Osteospermum 'Soprano Compact Purple'
Ed Gohlich

Osteospermum 'Soprano Compact Purple' bears purple flowers on drought-tolerant, compact plants that grow only 10 inches tall. Zones 9-11

'Soprano Vanilla Spoon' Osteospermum

Osteospermum 'Soprano Vanilla Spoon'
Ed Gohlich

Osteospermum 'Soprano Vanilla Spoon' bears white flowers with spoon-shaped petals on drought-tolerant, 2-foot-tall plants. Zones 9-11

'Sunny Dark Florence' Osteospermum

Osteospermum 'Sunny Dark Florence'
Helen Norman

Osteospermum 'Sunny Dark Florence' bears orange flowers on a 12-inch-tall plant. Zones 9-11

'Yellow Symphony' Osteospermum

Osteospermum 'Yellow Symphony'
Scott Little

Osteospermum 'Yellow Symphony' bears golden-yellow flowers with purple centers on drought-tolerant, 14-inch-tall plants. Zones 9-11

'Zion Plum' Osteospermum

Osteospermum 'Zion Plum'
Justin Hancock

Osteospermum 'Zion Plum' is a strong-growing selection with blue-purple flowers in spring and fall. It grows 12 inches tall. Zones 9-11

'Zion Sun Yellow' Osteospermum

Osteospermum 'Zion Sun Yellow'

BHG / Evgeniya Vlasova

Osteospermum 'Zion Sun Yellow' is a vigorous selection with yellow flowers in spring and fall. It grows 12 inches tall. Zones 9-11

Osteospermum Companion Plants


pink dianthus companion plant for osteospermum

BHG / Evgeniya Vlasova

The quintessential cottage flower, pinks are treasured for their grasslike blue-green foliage and abundant starry flowers, which are often spicily fragrant. Depending on the type of pink, flowers appear in spring or summer and tend to be pink, red, white, rose, or lavender, but come in nearly all shades except true blue. Plants range from tiny creeping groundcovers to 30-inch-tall flowers, which are a favorite with florists.


purple Heliotrope

BHG / Evgeniya Vlasova

Even without its fabulous scent, heliotrope would be widely grown in the garden. It has a distinctive scent: Some say it smells like cherry pie, some say a grape ice pop, and still others say vanilla. Regardless, it is undeniably one of the most intriguingly scented plants in the garden. As a bonus, this tropical plant, grown as an annual, bears big clusters of rich purple, blue, or white flowers. Heliotrope thrives in a spot with full sun and moist, well-drained soil. It's a great container plant; try it in a window box or next to a doorway where you can enjoy it frequently. For the strongest scent, group several plants together where they can get afternoon sun. The warming sun will release their fragrance.


yellow snapdragon

BHG / Evgeniya Vlasova

Few gardens should be without the easy charm of snapdragons. They get their name from the fact that you can gently squeeze the sides of the intricately shaped flower and see the jaws of a dragon head snap closed. The blooms come in gorgeous colors, including some with color variations on each flower. Plus, snapdragons are an outstanding cut flower. Gather a dozen or more in a small vase, and you'll have one of the prettiest bouquets around. Snapdragons are especially useful because they're a cool-season annual, coming into their own in early spring when the warm-season annuals, such as marigolds and impatiens, are being planted. They're also great for fall color. Plant snapdragon in early spring, a few weeks before your region's last frost date. Deadhead regularly for best bloom and fertilize regularly. Snapdragons often self-seed in the landscape if not deadheaded, so they come back year after year, though the colors from hybrid plants will often end up muddy-looking. In mild regions, the entire plant may overwinter if covered with mulch.

Garden Plans for Osteospermum

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Frequently Asked Questions

  • Do Osteospermum make good cut flowers?

    If you cut them as soon as they open, osteospermum blooms make excellent cut flowers.

  • How long does osteospermum produce flowers in the garden?

    The flowering season lasts for eight weeks or longer in most areas, as long as you deadhead spent blooms. In areas with hot summers, the plants may pause blooming until the temperature cools and then begin blooming again.

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