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Plant of the Month: Osteospermum


Osteospermum ‘Voltage Yellow’

Latin name: Osteospermum ‘Voltage Yellow’

Common name: African daisy
Flowers: Luminescent yellow daisies
Mature size: 16” tall by 24” wide
Spacing: 12-15”
Hardiness: Cool-season annual
Soil: Well-drained
Exposure: Full sun 
Water usage: Medium
Sources: Local nurseries

Spring in Texas comes in fits and spurts, interspersed with late arctic blasts and unpredictable weather. But it takes only a day or two of 60-degree weather and some sunshine, and every Texas gardener gets the itch to start working in the yard. Invariably, we just have plant something! Every one of us knows that there is going to be another frost, but that doesn’t stop us from heading to the nurseries in droves with our credit cards out and our trowels at the ready.

We get to the nursery, and what do we buy?  It’s too early for lantana and impatiens; they won’t even survive a 40-degree night — and it’s really too late to be planting pansies or violas. So what do we bring home? There’s the old standby geranium, but we want something new and bright that will stand up to cooler weather and last until June. Well, fellow gardeners, I have a new early spring plant for you: ‘Voltage Yellow’ African daisy. 

This luminescent, daffodil-yellow daisy is so bright it practically glows — perfect for killing the winter doldrums. Osteospermums, commonly called African daisies, have been around for years and are very common on the West Coast. ‘Voltage Yellow’ is one of the first super-vigorous, seed-grown varieties. This variety has excelled in our Dallas Arboretum Trial Garden for early spring color, winning our “Arboretum Approved” status. The plants grow quickly and flower continuously. ‘Voltage Yellow’ loves the cooler weather and bright days of spring, but like other early spring garden plants, it just can’t take our super hot days of summer. We’ve found that it will last until mid- to late June most years, and at that point, it’s time for a replacement.

‘Voltage Yellow’ does equally well planted solidly in color beds or in containers. However you use it, make sure the soil is well drained. Heavy spring rains can saturate the soil, and this plant does not like to sit with wet feet. I prefer using this glowing yellow flower planted solo; it is such a bright color that it will overpower other plants. ‘Voltage Yellow’ is easy to grow as long as it has full sun and a constant supply of nutrients, so feed it heavily.