African Daisy Hybrid: Arctotis x hybrid ‘Wine’
(Arctotis x hybrid ‘Wine’)
The Summer-flowering African Daisy is not ideal for sunless and overcast conditions, as they will cause the buds to remain tightly furled until the sun returns. Do not be put off; one glimpse of the stunning 7cm (3in) flower heads and the incredible colour range will win you over. As a bonus, the foliage is attractive too. While cultivars like Arctotis x hybrida ‘Wine’ can be bought as plants in bloom, most good seedsmen offer a version of the Harlequin Hybrids, to which A. x h. ‘Wine’ belongs. These offer an array of colour -from pale cream and apricot through to the pinkish-wine shades of this particular cultivar (which is also known as x Venidio-arctotis ‘Wine’). This plant is not frost-free hardy: while plants in the milder South-West may over-winter successfully, older specimens look scruffy, so it is best treated as an annual and discarded. Seed needs 16°C (61°F) for germination and can be sown in Autumn or Spring.
Grow in full sun for the best flower display; even plants in full sunshine close up at night.
Plants grown in containers need to be kept just moist at all times: the Large, colourful Daisy blooms are carried on fat, sturdy stems above pretty leaves.
Rather soft growth is prone to fungal infection and any excess moisture may make the problem more likely. Do not over-wateror young plants.
Humid conditions will finish off this plant; if possible, water container-grown plants from below. Keep seedlings and rootedwell ventilated at all times.
Do not use fertilizer high in nitrogen. Begin feeding container-grown plants about eight weeks after planting, and feed every 10-14 days until the end of the growing season.
Grow in a loam-based, adding up to a quarter by volume of horticultural sand to improve drainage. Plants used as will not need repotting; longer-term plants can be repotted in late Spring, cutting them back at the same time if necessary.
This plant is normally used as an annual in the UK: take semi-ripe cuttings from the finest flowering plants for the same coloured blooms the following year.
Avoid excessively moist and humid growing conditions: treat any cuttings or young plants with protective fungicide.
The succulent growth of the African Daisy is irresistible to Slugs and to Aphids; treat both with an appropriate chemical.