Gazania rigens 'Sunshine Mix', known commonly as "Treasure Flowers" is a rhizomatous perennial herb native to South Africa. Sunshine Mix is a complex hybrid between a number of species. Plants have a compact mounding habit and will reach 12 inches (30 cm) tall and wide. Dark green, glabrous leaves are lanceolate or obovate-lanceolate and sometimes pinnatifid to 6 inches (15 cm) long, with a white tomentose underside. Sunshine Mix can have as many as 5 colors per bloom; colors include cream, yellow, orange, pink and red in a combination of rings and stripes. They are great plants for the rock garden or containers. They are hardy in USDA zone 9-10 where they are perennial and in all other zones they should be treated as annuals.
Blooming: In the greenhouse and in the landscape, the plant will bloom in 12 weeks from seed. The 4 inch (10 cm) flowers open daily. The blooming period is very long--up to the first frost here in Oklahoma. They are very showy.
Culture: Gazania rigens 'Sunshine Mix' need full sun to light shade and prefer a well drained soil mix. In the landscape, they will not tolerate heavy clay soils. In the greenhouse, we use a soil mix for containers that consists of 1 part peat moss to 2 parts loam to 1 part coarse sand. The plants are well watered and allowed to dry before watering again. In the landscape, these plants are very drought tolerant. We fertilize plants in container once during the growing season with a balanced fertilizer. It has been my experience that too much fertilizer and water give a lot of lush growth, but at the expense of flowers. In the landscape, we do not fertilize the plants at all. I have grown these plants both in container and the landscape and you cannot get a better performer for our very hot summers here in zone 7. Although they are treated as annuals here, plants grown in containers under lights will bloom all winter long. Watering during this period is very critical; water should be restricted to once a week and plants should be allowed to dry thoroughly before watering again.
Propagation: Gazania rigens 'Sunshine Mix' is best propagated from seed. If grown in the landscape in a zone where they are perennial, large clumps can be divided. FYI, we obtained our seed from Park Seed.
Gazania rigens 'Sunshine Mix' was featured as Plant of the Week May 9-15, 2008.
Guide to Past Plants-of-the-Week:
Cal's Plant of the Week was provided as a service by the University of Oklahoma Department of Microbiology & Plant Biology and specifically the late Cal Lemke, who used to be OU's botany greenhouse grower and an avid gardener at home as well. If the above links don't work, then try the overview site. You may also like to look at the thumbnail index. ©1998-2012 All rights reserved.