Gazania

COMMON NAME:  gazania
GENUS:  Gazania
SPECIES, HYBRIDS, CULTIVARS:
hybrids developed from G. rigens and G. longiscapa
FAMILY:  Compositae
BLOOMS:  late spring-summer
TYPE:  perennial {often grown as an annual}
DESCRIPTION:  Gazania is characterized by large, bright, dasiylike flowers. Blossom colors include shades of yellows and reds, white, and cream. The leaves have an unusual silvery cast and are beautiful blowing in the breeze. Plants grow to a height of only 6 to 8 inches. Flowers generally measure 3 to 4 inches across.
CULTIVATION:  Gazania is very easy to grow because it is so adaptable to a wide range of conditions. It does not like the cold, however, and should be treated as an annual in areas that get frost. In these areas an easy method of propagation is to take cuttings in the fall and overwinter them indoors. Gazania likes full sun and light, sandy soil. Plans are drought tolerant and good to use in hot, dry areas.

This genus was named for Theodore Gaza, a Palestinian Greek scholar who translated many ancient Greek writings into Latin during the fifteenth century. There are approximately forty species in this genus, all of which are native to Africa.
One of the most successful hybrids was developed from G. rigens and G. splendens.
The flowering period varies, depending on the climate where gazania is grown. If grown as an annual, it will bloom from late spring until autumn. In frost-free areas it will bloom all year long.

Gazanias produce two distinct types of leaves: one is entire and narrow and the other is deeply lobed. The flowers close up at night and during cloudy weather. Gazania does not make a good cut flower.

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