by Matt Gibson
The gazania, a flowering plant native to South Africa, is commonly referred to as the treasure flower, and with its bright, attention-grabbing colors and the large array of available varieties, there is a multitude of reasons why gardeners should treasure the gazania. Gazania was named after the Greek theologian, Theodore of Gaza. The word “gaza” means riches in Greek, and this association may have led to the nickname treasure flower. In Africa, the flower is called “botterblom,” meaning butter flower, supposedly in reference to the butter-like taste of its petals.
Often found in sunny gardens, or tucked into containers to bring a splash of showy color to a cozy patio area, the gazania is a hit with gardeners as well as butterflies thanks to its bright, expansive color spectrum of hues. The gazania is available in a whole spectrum of colors, and many varieties are variegated, boasting three or four different shades on the same bloom. Each plant grows anywhere between six to 10 inches in height and approximately 10 inches in width.
Gazanias require very little care, are equipped with beautiful foliage and tend to trail, making them a smart choice as a ground cover in USDA zones where they grow year-round. For these reasons, gazanias have become a popular choice for landscapers, who turn to the flower to replace parts of a lawn entirely, or to outline and highlight the edges of a grassy lawn. This ornamental ground cover’s dense, dark green, bushy foliage looks good next to just about anything, and its eye-catching flowers bloom all summer long.
A member of the daisy family sometimes referred to as the African Daisy, the gazania is hardy in USDA growing zones four through 10, and it’s grown as an herbaceous tender perennial in zones nine through 11. The treasure flower is known for its ability to bounce back after a frost, is highly drought tolerant, and enjoys lots of sun. Aside from the gardener pitching in with a little light pruning, occasional deadheading, and providing a very occasional splash of water (only during especially dry periods or droughts), these flowers can pretty much be planted and forgotten about.
Varieties of Gazania Flower
Because of the incredibly easy care process of the gazania flower, and because of its brilliantly bright colors, horticulturists have created countless varieties for gardeners to choose from. Though there are far too many options to put in front of you here, the following list includes the original gazania and a handful of other varieties that we think are simply stunning.
Gazania (Treasure Flower): The original gazania produces a tri-colored bloom with rounded golden-yellow petals that fade to brown. A black ring highlights the bright yellow stamens in the center of the flowerhead.
Gazania (New Day / Strawberry Shortcake): This tri-colored variety, which grows in the wild in India, produces blooms with rounded light pink petals that fade to a bright magenta. A brown ring highlights the bright yellow or orange interior.
Gazania (Sun Gold): Sometimes one color is all you need, such as with the sun gold variety of gazania. Bright yellow rounded petals and a bright yellow center are highlighted by a slightly lighter yellow ribbon at the base of each flower’s petals, highlighting the interior. From a distance, the flowerhead appears to be of one shade, but the radiance of the single-colored bloom is enough to cause a few double takes.
Gazania (Big Kiss White Flame): This variety of gazania is a garden standout. This is the type of flower that steals the show, even when surrounded by other knockouts. The petals are more spiked than the majority of gazania varieties, and they’re white on the outer edges and bright purple with magenta stripes in the center. The vibrant yellow center is framed by an iridescent flame-colored band with hints of orange and blue.
Gazania (Beige and Chocolate): The beige and chocolate gazania is a subtle beauty that leaves a lasting impression. Petals are beige on the tips and fade into a deep orange before settling into a dark chocolate brown trim, which highlights the golden center. This variety is unique and showy.
Gazania (White / Clear Vanilla): Slightly taller than most gazania varieties, the white gazania grows up to a foot tall, producing flowerheads with petals that range from a brilliant white to an off white with a hint of honeydew melon green. A black band separates the petals from the core and highlights the bronze-to-orange center.
Gazania Splendens (Kiss Rose): The brilliant variegated blooms of the kiss rose gazania feature slender petals of striped pink, magenta in the center, with sandy brown to burnt orange outer edges. The petals are separated by a black-trimmed sienna band that highlights a bright yellow center.
Gazania (New Day): Similar to the sun gold variety from a distance, only orange instead of yellow, the new day bloom is a superstar. Upon closer inspection, two distinct tones of orange stand out. The tips of the rounded petals are bright golden orange and fade to a dark orange around the base. A gray band highlights the bright yellow center.
Growing Conditions for Gazania
The gazania is easy to please. Simply provide full sunlight exposure and a moderate climate. Though a well-drained, sandy soil is preferred, the gazania will adapt to just about any soil it is planted in. The flower is drought resistant and prefers a constantly dry soil. For best results, use a soil with a neutral pH, but the easy going gazania will also flourish in both acidic and alkaline environments. No fertilization is necessary.
How to Plant Gazania
Start seeds indoors 10 weeks before the last expected frost in your region. Cover seeds with a thin layer of soil, and keep moist through germination and the transplanting process. Harden off and move your gazania outside two weeks after the final frost.
If germinating the seeds yourself sounds like too much work for you, take the easy route and sow them directly into the garden after all danger of frost has passed. Simply sprinkle the seeds into the desired area after raking the soil. Lightly cover the seeds with a thin layer of soil to keep them out of the sunlight during germination.
Care of Gazania
Deadheading and pruning are the only types of care required for gazania. Deadhead all spent blooms when you notice them. When you need to propagate more plants, do so by taking basal cuttings in the fall, and bring them indoors during the winter. Start the cuttings in containers at least four inches deep in the spring, and water them at least twice per week until the plants are established.
The gazania flower has too many positive traits to list in a single sentence, quite possibly even a paragraph, but one must try. The blooms of the treasure flower are bright, beautiful, and gaudy, attracting butterflies and other beneficial insects to the garden and drawing the eye of every passerby. Because they grow hardily in most regions, very little care or attention is required for the gazania to thrive. These are among the least picky flowers you can find, requiring only full sunlight, occasional water, and minimal pruning and deadheading. Gazania is drought tolerant, adaptable to multiple soil types, and perfect for trimming or replacing lawns or hard-to-landscape areas. The gazania is also available in just about every color under the rainbow, as well as in multicolored combinations that bloom from late spring throughout the entire summer. There are no significant pest issues and very few diseases that will plague the gazania as long as overwatering is avoided, and there is no reason not to add it to your flower garden arsenal, especially if you live in a hot, dry climate.
Videos About Growing Gazania
See this video for quick tips on Gazanias as flowering and bedding plants:
Follow these tips for growing drought tolerant Gazania in containers: