The name African daisy can refer to any of several plants from southern Africa, and identities are often confused, even by many seed companies and nurseries. Arctotis species have lobed leaves that are rough, hairy, or woolly; their blossoms usually sport a contrasting ring of color around a central eye. Dimorphotheca species have smooth green foliage; their ringless flowers either are white or fall into the yellow-salmon-orange range. Woody, shrubby, white, yellow, or purple African daisies and the trailing types used as ground cover belong to the genus Osteospermum.
Seedlings begin blooming about 3 months after germination. They are grown as summer annuals in most of the South but may be used for winter color in Florida and South Texas. The blossoms make good cut flowers, even though they close at night. Plants reseed readily.
A. acaulis. Perennial. Spreading clumps of velvety gray leaves to 1 ft. high are topped by yellow, 3-in.-wide flowers with purplish black centers. 'Big Magenta' has purplish red flowers.
A. fastuosa alba (Venidium fastuosum). Annual. Bushy growth to 2 ft. tall and 1 ft. wide, with gray-green, slightly hairy leaves; white, 3-in.-wide daisies with a yellow ring surrounding a deep blue eye. In selection 'Zulu Prince' has an inner ring of yellow and darkest purple encircling a black center.
A. hybrids. Most Arctotis sold in garden centers are hybrids that grow 1112 ft. tall and wide. The 3-in. flowers come in white, pink, purplish, cream, yellow, and orangeusually with a dark ring around a nearly black central eye. Hybrids will self-sow, but the seedlings they produce tend to revert to orange. 'Pink Sugar' features orange-centered pink flowers on silver foliage.
A. x pubescens (A. hirsuta). Masses of 3-in., black-centered, bright orange (or, occasionally, lemon yellow) blossoms on a plant to 1112 ft. tall and wide.
A. venusta. Bushy growth to 2 ft. tall and 112 ft. wide, with slightly hairy, gray-green leaves. Silvery blue, 3-in.-wide daisies have a yellow ring surrounding a deep blue eye. Tolerates poor, sandy soil.