Around the world there is growing concern about conserving water. Drought tolerant plants are gaining in popularity, and horticulturalists are focusing on developing water smart garden plants. Consequently more Felicia species than ever before are becoming available as garden plants.
Eco-conscious gardeners will find that exploring the world of felicias will bring a host of butterflies into the garden as all of them provide nectar.
While the blooms of Felicia species are typically rich blue, Felicia heterophylla 'The Rose' blooms with pale pink daisy flowers with a deep rose pink heart.
Very easily grown from seed, this fast growing annual plant is ideal for any bare, sunny area. Growing to around 30cm (12in) tall use them as an edging plant along an informal border. They work exceptionally well in containers and planters.
The gorgeous flowers are borne above tidy, compact foliage. Flowering in just 8 to 10 weeks from sowing they will flower prolifically on sunny days with their happy flowers facing the sun.
Native to South Africa, Felicia heterophylla is one of the spring flowers of the south-western Cape. In its native surroundings it is part of a stunning natural display of spring daisies, however here in our more moderate climates they flower from mid summer right the way through to first frosts.
For a vivid splash of colour plant Felicia en masse in the garden, or mix with white and yellow South African daisies such as Gazania, Dimorphotheca and Osteospermum for some Namaqualand splendour in your own garden.
Sowing: Sow in spring or in autumn
Sow directly where they are to flower in mid to late spring after the last frosts in your area. Alternatively, the seed can be sown indoors in spring 7 to 8 weeks before transplanting outside, once the minimum temperature remains above 5°C (41°F).
Seeds can also be sown in autumn for an earlier spring flowering next year. Sow directly in mild areas, or for overwintering sow in pots and overwintered before planting out in spring.
Felicia usually takes around four weeks to germinate at temperatures of 18 to 21°C. (65 to 70°F) and will flower around 8 to 10 weeks from sowing, from June/July right up to the first frosts in late autumn.
Felicia can be grown outdoors by sowing directly outdoors after the last frost of spring; the seeds should be lightly covered with a fine sprinkling of topsoil. They like to grow in an area that is sunny and well drained, with an average soil. Keep soil moderately moist during germination.
Sow seeds thinly, 6mm (¼in) deep in drills 30cm (12in) apart in well cultivated soil, raked to a fine tilth. Water regularly, especially in dry periods. When large enough to handle, thin out until they are 15cm (6in) apart in spring
If you prefer to start early indoors then seeds should be sown about seven or eight weeks before they are due to be put in the garden. Transplant outdoors a few weeks after the last frost once the minimum temperature remains above 5°C (41°F).
Use pots or trays of moist seed compost and cover with a very fine sprinkling of compost or vermiculite. Keep the surface of the compost moist but not waterlogged. When large enough to handle, transplant seedlings into 7.5cm (3in) pots or trays to grow on.
Autumn sown seeds should be overwintered in cool, light, frost-free conditions before planting out the following spring.
Felicia will do well in average soil, but do require good drainage. Place them in full sun to enable their blooms to be at their best and provide shelter from winds.
Felicia are very easy to maintain, they are drought tolerant but would appreciate watering during dry summer months. Deadhead regularly for a constant supply of fresh blooms.
Cottage/Informal Gardens, Borders and Beds, Paths and edging, Drought Tolerant, Container Planting
Felicia is a genus of 83 species of annuals, perennials and shrubs. The genus is centred in South Africa but a few species extend into tropical Africa and the Arabian Peninsula. Felicia is well represented by 54 species in the Cape Floral Region.
Felicia heterophylla is one of the spring flowers of the south-western Cape. They occur naturally from Clanwilliam to Cape Town and are usually found on sandy flats and slopes. It was first introduced to Europe in the middle of the 18th century and has been fashionable ever since.
Felicia, pronounced feh-LEE-shah, derives from the Latin adjective felix, meaning 'happy', though in the neuter plural form felicia it literally means 'happy things' and often occurred in the phrase tempora felicia, "happy times". Similarly, 'felicitations' is the definition an expression of pleasure at the success or good fortune of another;
Its use as a feminine personal name appeared in post-Classical times and is of uncertain origin. It is associated with saints, poets, astronomical objects, plant genera, fictional characters, and animals, especially cats.
The name heterophylla to taken from the Greek heteros meaning "different," and phyla meaning ‘leaves’ but it is unclear why it was chosen for this species. Some of the leaves might be broader than the others and some have three main veins. The leaf margins of some leaves are toothed. This might have given rise to the description of a difference in the leaves, but it is not always clear in every specimen.
Commonly referred to as the ‘true blue’ or ‘kingfisher’ daisy, it is one of the few Felicia’s with entirely blue flowers, in contrast to others with yellow centres surrounded by blue/purple or white 'petals'.
- Additional Information
Packet Size 100mg Average Seed Count 75 Seeds Seed Form Natural Seeds per gram 750 seeds / gram Family Asteraceae Genus Felicia Species heterophylla Cultivar The Rose Hardiness Hardy Annual Flowers Rose Pink blooms Natural Flower Time June to July until first frosts Foliage Herbaceous Height 30 to 40 cm (12 to 16in) Spacing 15 to 22cm (6 to 9in) Position Full sun needed for best flowering Soil Average soil, but they require good drainage. Time to Sow Sow in spring or in autumn. Germination 30 days