Osteospermum, also known as the African or cape daisy, is one of the most widespread cultures grown by Danish horticulturalists. But even with an annual production of approximately eight million plants in innumerable shades and types, there is still room for the gardener's favourite.
Blossoming innovative skills
Many resources are devoted each year to product development, and the breeding stock is ruthlessly thinned out, so that only the very best survive. The selection process carried out by three Danish leading plant breeders is based on objective criteria such as improved durability, future consumer trends and colour.
Horticultural nurseries therefore produce their plants from hand-picked material. But behind the professional facade is a human being of flesh and blood, and it is not uncommon for a gardener to fall in love with a new variety's charm and qualities. Here are three examples:
Warm summery glow
Mette Nørgård Larsen, who together with her husband Thomas runs the Møllerhøj nursery in Odense, has found her personal favourite in the new plant 'Yellow Halo'.
"'Yellow Halo' is simply the epitome of the Danish summer. With its warm and summery colour, it lights up like the sun itself in the garden's pots and beds,"
says Mette, who recommends that you make sure to remove the lowest withered leaves to get the most out of the plant's good growing properties and preserve its attractive, compact form.
"African daisies love the sun, but they can also thrive in the garden's shady spots. If you water them well in the beginning, and give them room to grow and flourish, you will have sunshine and summer in your garden until well into the autumn."
A dark beauty
Keld Stig Andersen of the Odense horticultural nursery 3kanten has a soft spot for a dramatic dark beauty named after the Danish crown princess:
"Just like the crown princess herself, our Mary plant is extremely popular. In fact it is probably one of our most popular varieties, because it is so durable, and looks great in the garden until the frosty weather begins,"
he says, and remarks:
"Mary is an erect and fertile plant that continually provides lots of new shoots - so in this, too, she resembles the crown princess."
The finest flower
There have also been new arrivals for horticulturalist Nicolai Abildgaard from Marslev, Odense, both in the nursery and in the family, which has recently been extended with a daughter, Alberte.
"My favourite plant is a new product from 2011, Rozia, which has a fresh, delicate red-purple colour that is unique in Osteospermum, and very popular among the consumers," says Nicolai. "I hope they will be as crazy about Rozia as I am about Alberte."
There are three world-class Danish Osteospermum breeders, namely Sunny ApS, Dalina ApS and Sakata Ornamentals, which ensure that growers all over Europe have the best material from which to produce plants.
Osteospermum: Annual outdoor plant that thrives best in direct sunlight. Should always be kept moist. Add some fertilizer during the growing season.
Mette Nørgård Larsen with Osteospermum Cape Daisy ® Yellow Halo
Keld Stig Andersen with Osteospermum Sunny ® Mary
Nicolai Abildgaard with Osteospermum Dalina ® Rozia