Gazania a hard act to beat

Gazania Big Kiss White Flame.

One of the most noticeable plants to those who drive through Rockhampton is the Gazania. This showy groundcover has formed a carpet of colour in many of the centre medians from Gladstone Road and Lower Dawson Road in the south, Yaamba Road in the north, to Norman Road in the east.

This plant is a member of the family of Composite Daisies. The Gazanias are easily grown in hot full sun positions and flowers in a large range of brilliant colours and bi-colours. But it is the vivid golden yellow flowering varieties that have been a standout this Summer.

The plant is the Gazania that has 16 species of annual and perennial daisies that are part of the Asteraceae family. Gazanias are herbaceous perennials native to South Africa. Some grow in clumping formations while others have adventitious runners and trail over rocks or simply spread grass-like as a ground cover.

Flowers are large and brightly coloured and range in colours from the common yellow and orange shades to pinks and whites. Over the last few decades hybridisation has seen countless colour combinations. Flowering from late spring to summer, deadhead frequently to encourage flower production.

Flowering from late Spring to Summer, they are a wonderful stand-by in dry, hot Western Gardens or breezy Coastal Gardens. On the downside Gazanias will not make good cut flowers as the flowers close at night.

Gazanias can be used in so many difficult locations in the garden.

They will cover your slope and hold and firm the soil. They will grow even in moist soils as long as they have good drainage. Over the years many gardeners have used Gazanias for erosion control at beachfront gardens. Western gardeners can use these plants in dry, hot locations and be rewarded with colourful displays.

Of all the uses of this groundcover it is the plantings in many of the medians in our major roadways in Central Queensland that the Gazania has proved to be a champion. Any form of plantings along major roads has many challenges including the heat and exhaust fumes from vehicles. Yet in these locations the Gazanias are the perfect groundcover and always look a picture.

When visiting nursery to purchase Gazanias always remember to ask if the Gazania selected is either an Annual or Perennial. This is very important as Annual plants will exist for only one growing season then die off. Where-as Perennial should exist for many growing seasons. In most cases Perennials will have a shorter flowering period compared to Annuals.

From my experience the best Annual variety of Gazanias that I have found to grow extremely well in Central Queensland is the Gazania Sunshine Hybrid. Gazania Sunshine Hybrid is a very hardy groundcover with flower colours of cream, yellow, orange, pink or red shades with some having striped flowers.

As for the perennial the Gazania scandens is still one of the hardiest and most water-wise plants sold. Gazanias scandens is available in several colours from yellow, pink, orange to white and may be planted as a colour mix or as a single colour for greater impact. Gazania scandens will flower throughout the year, slowing down and going off flower in winter.

Over the last few years several new hybrids have become available that have exquisite flowers. These include

Gazania Buccaneer is a hardy mat-forming groundcover with golden yellow to orange daisy like flowers and silvery grey foliage. Gazania Buccaneer should grow 15cm high x 30cm wide.

Gazania Dynamo forms a very attractive silvery grey foliage ground cover with semi-double lemon flowers with magenta stripes. Gazania Dynamo should grow 30cm high x 40cm wide.

Gazania Montezuma is a very showy groundcover with double bronze and copper flowers on mid green clumping foliage. Gazania Montezuma should grow 30cm high x 40cm wide.

Gazania Reflector has showy double bright yellow flowers with silvery grey foliage. It is a very hardy groundcover and suitable for Western gardens. Gazania Reflector should grow 30cm high x 40cm wide.

Gazania Sunset Jane is very hardy, low maintenance plant with large double honey-coloured flowers and grey green foliage. Gazania Sunset Jane should grow 30cm high x 40cm wide.

Gazania White Flame is a low maintenance groundcover with green foliage that is drought and heat tolerant with large white flowers with pink stripes. Gazania White Flame should grow 30cm high x 20cm wide.