Brachycome iberidifolia, or Swan River Daisy, is a care-free annual that forms clouds of soft colour. The dainty, star-like blooms sit on top of mounds of feathery foliage
Dozens of beautiful, dainty, 2.5cm (1in) flowers appear all at one time, most often in light hues, each with a yellow centre rimmed in white.
It is one of the most profuse and long-flowering annuals, each plant often producing well over 100 blue to purple flowers. Flowers bloom until late autumn; it flowers so heavily that the foliage is often obscured.
The cheerful little pinwheels form at the ends of the stalks and are held above pale green, feathery foliage.
The plant is a pretty companion verbena and coreopsis. The feathery foliage forms an interesting contrast when used with broad leaf plants such as morning glory. Its tidy, mounding growth habit is welcome toward the front of the border or as an edging.
Brachycome is a good choice for filling in around tall, leggy plants and carpeting bare spots. In a container or window box, brachycome sends its short, sprawling stems cascading over the rim and showering flowers over the sides.
They are especially effective as mass plantings, draping over retaining walls, in pots, hanging baskets and as borders. With minimal care this species is a prolific flowerer and is a beautiful addition to any garden.
Sowing: Sow in late winter to spring at 18 to 21°C (65-70°F)
Sow indoors 6 to 8 weeks before the last frost date, or sow directly where they are to flower once the soil has warmed. For a continuous show, you may wish to plant stagger the sowing dates.
Sow seed on the surface of lightly firmed, moist seed compost in pots or trays. Lightly cover seed with a sprinkling of compost or vermiculite. Do not exclude light as this helps germination. Keep the surface of the compost moist but not waterlogged. Seal in a polythene bag or place in a propagator or warm place, and keep at a temperature of between 18 to 21°C (65-70°F).Germination usually takes 14 to 21 days.
When seedlings are large enough to handle, transplant and grow on in cooler conditions. Pinch out growing tips to encourage a bushy habit.Gradually acclimatise to outdoor conditions for 10 to 15 days before planting out after all risk of frost, 23 to 30cm (9 to 12in) apart in full sun in ordinary well drained soil.
For summer flowering pot plants, baskets and containers transplant the seedlings into 7.5cm (3in) pots, grow cool, well ventilated and water freely, plant up the baskets in May and harden off well before hanging outside.
The seed may also be direct sown in April to May where the plants are to flower, but in this case flowering will start later. Sow thinly, 6mm (¼in) deep in small clumps or shallow drills. Sow 30cm (12in) apart in well-cultivated soil which has been raked to a fine tilth. Water ground regularly, especially in dry periods.
When large enough to handle, thin out seedlings until they are finally 23 to 30cm (9 to 12in) apart in spring. Pinch out growing tips to encourage a bushy habit. Outside sowings should be gradually thinned to the same spacings when the seedlings are large enough to handle.
The main requirements for success with Brachycome are full sun and good drainage, although they will stand some dappled shade. Poor or sandy soils do not inhibit a showy display; the species is hardy and adaptable. Keep plants well watered, particularly in summer. They can be trimmed after a flush of flowers to keep more flowers coming.
Path edging, beds or groundcover. Walls, containers & hanging baskets.
Despite the popularity of these plants in our gardens, there is still dispute in botanical circles about the correct way to spell the plant's genus name. The plant still appears as 'Brachycome iberidifolia’, the generic name was reverted to include the 's' in the original publication.
It is now used both ways. With an’s’ as in Brachyscome or without, as in Brachycome.
The name is derived from the Greek words ‘Brachy’ meaning short and ‘kome’ meaning hair, this refers to the short pappus bristles on the top of the achenes of some species.
Often called Australian Daisies This daisy is native to Western Australia where it grows along watercourses, in swampy areas or chalky hills around Perth. It is often found amongst the mosaic of wildflowers which appear in the heaths, woodlands, and plains.
All Brachycomes are generally called Swan River Daisies, although this name is best applied to the Western Australia native daisy Brachycome iberdifolia, an annual plant found growing near to the Swan River
- Additional Information
Packet Size 100 mg Average Seed Count 500 Seeds Family Asteraceae Genus Brachycome Species iberidifolia Synonym Brachyscome iberidifolia Common Name Swan River Daisy, Australian Daisies Hardiness Hardy Annual Flowers Mix. White, pink, mauve and blue Natural Flower Time Summer Foliage Feathery foliage Height 25 to 40cm (10-16in) Spread 30 to 90cm (12 to 36in) Aspect Full sun to part shade. Soil Well drained soil Time to Sow Sow in late winter to spring at 18 to 21°C (65-70°F) Germination 14 to 21 days at 18 to 21°C (65 to 70°F)