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How to grow Gazania

Gazania (gaz-ay-ne-a)

Commemorating Theodore of Gaza, fifteenth-century translator of the botanical works of Theophrastus (Compositae). Treasure flower. Half-hardy perennials from South Africa, with showy flowers, which open in the sun and close about 3 p.m. The species hybridize freely and gazanias have been much improved in recent years; seed is offered in red and orange shades and pink and cream shades, both groups coming true from seed. The ray petals are frequently beautifully marked with zones of contrasting colours. All flower from June to September.

Species cultivated G. longiscapa, 6 inches, golden-yellow. G. pavonia, 1 foot yellow and brown. G. rigens, 1 foot, orange. G. splendens, 1 foot, orange, black and white. This, which is probably the showiest species, will thrive out of doors in very favoured districts. Cultivars include `Bridget', orange with black centre; `Freddie', yellow with green centre ; `Roger', citron-yellow with a purple feathering at the centre; 'Sunshine', deep yellow with a brown ring dotted white. In addition, under the name G. hybrida, seedsmen offer seed in mixed colours, including shades of yellow, pink, red, brown orange and white, variously marked.

Cultivation Treat the gazanias as half-hardy annuals, sowing seed in gentle heat in February and hardening off and planting out in May. They are not fussy about soil and will do well on chalk, but must be given the sunniest possible positions. G. splendens can be propagated from cuttings in August, rooted in a cold frame. The rooted cuttings should be taken into a frost-proof greenhouse for the winter unless the frame can be made frost proof.

By potting these up in spring, as an alternative to planting them out of doors, in a compost of 2 parts of loam to 1 part of peat and 1 part of sand, they will make fine greenhouse flowering plants in early summer.

 



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