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Matt Harrison
Matt Harrison

Arctotis Stoechadifolia _HOT_

Arctotis stoechadifolia, the African daisy[2] or white arctotis,[3] is a rare species of South African plants in the family Asteraceae. It is a rare plant found only in sand dunes along the west coast of Cape Province.[4]

arctotis stoechadifolia

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A sprawling perennial, the silver arctotis forms a striking silver-grey carpet that easily covers an area of about 1.2 m wide, with upright shoots and flowers standing about 350 mm high. The base of the plants become woody with age, but the long, spreading stems and leaves are soft, woolly and slightly sticky with a very strong bitter-sweet smell when touched. The white felted leaves are long and narrow (lance-shaped) with the edges slightly toothed or serrated.

Arctotis stoechadifolia is not considered rare or threatened at present, but its natural distribution is limited to a very small area along the West Coast that is under increasing pressure from urban development.

In California and Southern Australia where Arctotis stoechadifolia is often planted in gardens or as a coastal sand-stabilizing plant, it is starting to become a weed as it invades natural areas. This is a problem, as it smothers and eliminates the indigenous plants through shading and competition of resources, which again result in a loss of biodiversity, as large areas are covered only by Arctotis stoechadifolia.

Arctotis stoechadifolia occurs naturally on the dunes and sandy flats, mostly along the coast from Langebaan to the Cape Peninsula. Along this narrow distribution range, it is quite common and very vigorous, with beautiful plants and spring displays especially along the coastal strip between Bloubergstrand and Melkbosstrand. Very adaptable, Arctotis stoechadifolia manages to thrive in the harsh coastal conditions with hot dry summers, sandy conditions, strong winds, salt spray and low winter rainfall (500mm and less in this area).

The genus Arctotis was named by Linnaeus and means the following in Greek: arctos, a bear, - otis, ear, and refers to the scales on the pappus (fine hairs on the fruit that aid in wind dispersal) that look like ears. The reason for the species name stoechadifolia is not clear, but stoechas or stoichas in Greek refers to a kind of mint (Brown 1956); stoechas could also mean, of the Stoechades (now the Iles d'Hyeres) off the south coast of France (Hyam & Pankhurst 1995).

Flowering for a few months, Arctotis stoechadifolia can by used in endless combinations as the seasons change. At Kirstenbosch it is one of the most striking plantings in spring, hanging down a stone wall in front of a large spring annual bed filled with A. acaulis and Ursinia speciosa. In early summer it looks spectacular as a groundcover, flowering with the bright yellow Wachendorfia paniculata (bloodroot) and the annual Oncosiphon grandiflora ( stinkkruid ).

Cultivation Arctotis stoechadifolia is easy to grow but must be planted in full sun and soil with good drainage. Adapted to the Mediterranean climate of the Cape, it can survive with very little water in summer after the winter rains. Plants need to be protected from frost, but should resprout after frost damage.

Arctotis stoechadifolia (Silver Arctotis or Kusgousblom) is probably our most well-known perennial Arctotis and is anomalous in that, despite its restricted wild distribution on sand dunes and flats along the west coast between Yzerfontein and the Cape Peninsula, it has naturalised so successfully in coastal California and parts of Australia that it is threatening the local vegetation there and is regarded as a noxious weed.

In its native South Africa, the African daisy bursts into bloom when the spring rains come, although in gardens plants bloom copiously all summer. A tender perennial, it is grown most commonly as an annual. Like many of the plants in the daisy family from South Africa, it's tough enough to live in hot, dry conditions, but a modicum of moisture will bring out stellar blooms. On dull days and at night, arctotis closes its flowers.

Growing African daisy: Bright sunny days and cool nights are ideal. Arctotis also thrives in mild winter areas with high winter light. The plant needs full sun and will tolerate lots of abuse. With richer soil and moderate moisture, there are larger flowers and lusher foliage. Fertilize only lightly. Where summers are very hot, arctotis may cease flowering but will resume again when cooler weather prevails.

Uses for African daisy: Plant arctotis in beds or borders where full sun is available. They will tolerate growing in dry rock gardens for early season bloom. They will also bloom indoors in cool sunrooms or greenhouses.

Arctotis stoechadifolia is an aggressive fast-growing sprawling perennial that hugs the ground and forms a silver-grey carpet with stems that root where they are in contact with the ground. The long narrow leaves are soft and woolly with slightly toothed or serrated edges. They give off a bitter-sweet smell when touched. The large daisy-like flowers only open in full sun.

Arctotis stoechadifolia has become a problem plant In California and particularly in Southern Australia, where it has been used as a coastal sand-stabilizing plant. It has become a weed as it invades natural areas resulting in a loss of species indigenous to these areas.

Arctotis stoechadifolia is easy to grow but must be planted in full sun in well drained soil. Cuttings can be made throughout the year and rooted in a tray filled with well-drained sand after which they can be planted directly into the garden beds, especially during the cooler winter months.

I have a 30-foot long bed of arctotis planted last spring in eastern San Diego with full sun exposure along a curving block wall facing south. The plants with a more eastern exposure continue to bloom well, but those facing more westerly have smaller and fewer blooms. Should I fertilize the western half, increase the water (drip system) or just wait and see if the poorer blooming plants recover with cooler weather?

The blue-eyed daisy (Arctotis stoechadifolia) flaunts pearly white petals and a steel-blue core, surrounded by a yellow band. The blooms are held in a compact mound above the plant, showcasing an impressive beauty.

The renoster arctotis is an easy to grow perennial, but is often best grown as a fast maturing annual. It grows +- 20 to 30cm tall with a basal tuft of hairy leaves which are a beautiful silver-grey. A dazzling display of flowers appear from late winter and spring to early summer (July to November), peaking in spring (August to October). In mild climates it can bloom for most of the year. It can be found growing in clay, limestone and granite soil in the renosterveld, fynbos, succulent karoo, and nama karoo biomes, from Calvinia in the western Karoo and the Bokkeveld Plateau to the Peninsula, and westward to Swellendam and the Langeberg Mountains.

Arctotis stoechadifolia is a very vigorous sprawling perennial which hugs the ground closely and roots continuously as it spreads. The white felted leaves are long and narrow with slightly toothed or serrated edges, providing a striking silver-grey carpet. The masses of showy flowers appear from spring to summer (September to December), standing on upright shoots about 35cm tall. They are a creamy light to bright yellow, marked with maroon underneath, and the centre of the flower is black. The stems and leaves are slightly sticky with a very strong bitter-sweet smell when touched.

The trailing arctotis occurs naturally only on the dunes and sandy flats along the coast from Langebaan to the Cape Peninsula. In its range it is quite common and very vigorous, with beautiful spring displays along the coastal strip between Bloubergstrand and Melkbosstrand. It is very adaptable and manages to thrive in harsh, sandy, coastal conditions, with hot dry summers, strong winds, salt spray, and low winter rainfall (500mm or less in this area).

Arctotis stoechadifolia became a problem plant in California and Southern Australia, where it was used as a coastal sand-stabilizing plant but quickly became a weed, escaping cultivation and invading indigenous areas. Bear this in mind if you plant it in warm, moist regions of South Africa.

The trailing arctotis performs well in almost any soil with good drainage, is resistant to salt-laden wind, and water-wise. It must be planted in full sun and is adapted to the Mediterranean climate of the Cape, where it can survive with very little water in summer. Inland, the plants need to be watered in winter and in cold regions they will need protection from frost, but should re-sprout in spring after frost damage, if the roots are thickly mulched in winter.

The Namaqualand arctotis is a frost hardy annual species from the dry Namaqualand region where the seeds lie dormant during the scorching hot summers, and opportunistically respond to good rains at any time of the year, but especially in late winter and spring (July to October). The green leaves are covered in white hairs and the flowers are born on long stalks, in various shades of orange, yellow and cream. The size of the plant will depend on rainfall but if it is watered moderately in the garden it can grow up to 60cm tall.

Garden centres around South Africa sell a variety of arctotis with a great selection of colours and growth habits to brighten any space. The flowers come in shades of white, bright and light yellow, orange, red, pink, or mauve, so pay them a visit when they are in full bloom to make your selection.

Refer to the species descriptions above for more detailed info on each one, but in a nutshell arctotis cope with a variety of harsh climatic conditions, as long as the soil drains well. They are perfect in coastal gardens, and in humid climates they require good air movement around the foliage. Arctotis do not thrive in mist-belt areas during the rainy months. They grow well inland if they can be protected from heavy frost, and in very cold regions they are often planted as summer annuals. 041b061a72


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