The African daisy (Arctotis Hybrids, ht 45cm) forms a wide rug (up to 1m) of attractive silvery-grey lobed leaves spangled with big jazzy flowers of hot colours such as burnt orange, yellow, bronze, gold, apricot or red, as well as cooler hues including pinks, plum, cerise, burgundy, mauve, cream or white. The flowers sometimes have darker central bands, which add to the dramatic effect. They can all form carpets on dry banks, or under taller perennials and shrubs, or spilling over retaining walls.
These plants require lots of sun and thrive in light, well-drained soil: in their natural habitat they grow on dry, stony slopes in Southern Africa. They are drought tolerant once established. They are very useful in seaside gardens. The flowers will usually close up in dull weather. The main period of blooming is in late winter and early spring, though they can continue into late spring especially if dead-headed after the first flush of flowers is over. They can be propagated from cuttings taken in spring, late summer or autumn. They may need to be replaced after a few years, as they can become woody with time. They are not suited for areas with very cold winters.