Osteospermum ecklonis

Nothing is prettier in the mid-summer months than a trough filled with South African daisies, for the flowers are exciting in colour and have a slight sheen on the petals. They are white above and bluish-mauve beneath and when open reveal electric-blue centres. They have a behaviour of their own, for they always look towards the equator, facing south in the northern hemisphere and north in the southern hemisphere, and they close at night and open in the morning. The leaves are narrow and toothed, and give off a musky smell when crushed.

The plant may be perennial in a very sheltered place, but is usually grown as a half-hardy annual. Plant 12 inches (30 cm) apart in a sunny place in light, well-drained soil, and deadhead regularly to prolong the flowering season. Osteospermum ecklonis is often grown in troughs in large gardens so that the charm and behaviour of the plant can be observed more closely than in the open ground.

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