Jennifer Schultz Nelson
Extension Educator, Horticulture
Gazania rigens 'Gazoo Clear Vanilla'
No matter what you grow, gardening really is a series of trial and error. That is very true for me this year as I get to know my new yard. At my parent's house and my apartment, I was used to seeking out plants that would tolerate partial or nearly total shade. My new yard is a totally different beast, enduring blazing sun all day long. Until my trees do some serious growing, I need to find plants that like all the sun they can get.
This spring and summer I've been on the lookout for plants that tolerate full sun, mostly annuals until I decide on a more permanent design for perennials. One sunny annual that I stumbled upon was Gazania 'Gazoo Clear Vanilla'. The label said not only did it prefer full sun, but it was also drought tolerant–a definite bonus this year!
The plants I bought were potted in clumps of four, which I separated into individual plants so I could cover more ground. Honestly, I had my doubts as I planted each one. The foliage was very brittle, and just handling the plants broke most of the leaves and any flower buds they had. So I watered them in and crossed my fingers.
To my relief, within the week there was noticeable new growth. Soon after that flower buds emerged. Now I'm greeted each morning with a new flush of daisy-like blooms, each with creamy white petals and sunny yellow centers.
Gazanias will definitely be in my garden next year. They come in many different colors, both solids and stripes. Colors range from pinks to bronze, yellow and cream. Bronzes and yellows seem to be the most common colors available, but pink cultivars are seen more and more. The 'Daybreak' series has some stunning rose pink cultivars, some with stripes of pink, white, and even yellow on the same flower.