tropical and southern Africa, this genus consists of about 16
species of low-growing annuals and perennials grown for their bright
colorful flowers. The leaves are entire or deeply lobed, long and
narrow, often dark green on top and white- or silver gray-felted
beneath or in some species silvery haired on both sides. The
flowerheads borne singly on short stalks range from cream to yellow,
gold, pink, red, buff, brown and intermediate shades, usually with
contrasting bands or spots at the petal bases. They appear from
early spring until summer. Most modern variants are hybrids from
several South African species; they are marginally frost hardy and
useful for coastal areas for bedding, rock gardens, pots and tubs
and for binding soil on slopes. Some attractive hybrid cultivars
include Double Orange bearing large orange flowers with double
centers on short stems just above the leaves; Flore Pleno with
bright yellow double flowers; and Gwens Pink with salmon pink single
flowers with yellow centers and dark brown rings. Plants in the
Chansonette Series are strong but low growers, reaching just 8 in
(20 cm) in height. There are many color varieties, mostly with
contrasting dark centers.
Hardiness zone from 9 To 11
Cultivation: Grow in full sun in sandy, fairly dry, well-drained
Mulch yearly with compost and water during dry periods.
Propagate by division or from cuttings in fall (autumn), or from
seed in late winter to early spring.