Are Osteospermum Perennial: At first glance, African daisies (Osteospermum) appear to be ordinary daisies, with symmetrical petals radiating from a central eye. However, African daisies (Osteospermum) are much more than that. However, upon closer inspection, it becomes clear that this South African native is anything but ordinary. Colors range from white to deep purple, with single or multi-colored centers and petals that might be double, fringed, or spoon-shaped. The flowers are available in a variety of shapes and sizes.
As a member of the daisy family (Asteraceae), osteospermum is a half-hardy perennial or subshrub that is most usually planted as an annual in the United States. African daisies are a relative newcomer to the horticulture market, having only become available to home gardeners in the 1990s.
Despite the fact that it is generally referred to as African daisy, it is crucial to remember the biological name of Osteospermum because other garden plants such as Dimorphotheca and Arcotis are also known by the same common name as the African daisy. South African daisy, Cape daisy, Cape marigold, blue-eyed daisy, and soundscape daisy are some of the other names for this flower.
Despite the fact that Osteospermum species are perennials, the plant has been hybridized and cultivated for ornamental purposes, with the majority of cultivars being annuals. To further complicate matters, perennials are occasionally cultivated as annuals, whereas annuals, depending on their hardiness or the climate, such as in USDA zones 10 and 11, can be transformed into perennials.
In the United Kingdom, whether an Osteospermum is considered a “perennial” or an “annual” plant merely relies on whether or not it can survive a British winter and/or is permitted to do so. Osteospermum ecklonis and Osteospermum jucundum are two species that can be grown as ‘perennials’ in the United Kingdom, and in fact, are frequently grown as such.
Although Osteospermum is classified as a subshrub when grown as an annual, when grown as a perennial, it develops into a shrub. Normally, a single flower is produced on a single stalk, however, some cultivars produce dense corymbs of flowers. The flowers are made up of a prominent center disc – the disc floret – and petals – the ray floret – that are arranged around it. The petals of the majority of types are normally flat and thin, but some variations have twisted, spoon-shaped petals.
While some plants such as Osteospermum ecklonis can grow to a maximum height of one meter, the subshrub Osteospermum ‘Cannington Roy’, like Osteospermum ‘Snow Pixie, can only attain a height of 15 centimeters – only 5 centimeters longer than the length of the leaves of O. ecklonis!
Bringing up the subject of leaves, the diversity found within Osteospermum is evident even in this area of the plant. Depending on the species or cultivar, the leaves are lanceolate or ovate in shape, with toothed or whole margins on one or both sides. A further point to note is that the same species (for example, Osteospermum ecklonis) has the ability to produce leaves with varying morphologies! As a general rule, toothed leaves are indicative of a hardy type, according to Wikipedia. Rather than growing straight, such types like to spread out along the ground, producing clumps as they do so.