African Daisy Companion Plants

African daisies, botanically known as Osteospermum, are tender perennials with daisy-like flowers. They are native to South Africa, and hybrid cultivars of these tender perennials will grow as perennials in zones 9-11. Gardeners in colder growing zones may see the return of African daisies from year to year due to self-seeding. 

Plant African daisies in a location that has at least 6 hours of full sun and well-draining soil. These beauties will tolerate most soil types, but prefer moderate fertility. Amend sandy or heavy clay soils with organic compost before planting. These plants benefit from an annual 2-3 inch layer of compost around the root zone. The mulch will help suppress annual weeds and keep the soil cooler in the summer months.  

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Shrubs To Plant With African Daisies

African daisies work well in a foundation planting or near a low-growing, evergreen hedge to provide a pop of color all summer long. Boxwood, yew, false cypress, and clipped juniper bushes make for a lovely solid color backdrop that highlights the bright colors of African daisy flowers. These cheerful flowers are also great for brightening up a shrubby herb border of Mediterranean plants, such as lavender, rosemary, thyme, and sage. These plants all grow well together in well-drained soil exposed to full sun. 

Perennials To Plant With African Daisies

Choose drought-tolerant perennials that will enhance the bright and sometimes metallic color of African daisies. Perennials with foliage interest such as cranesbill, low-growing ornamental grasses, false indigo, and autumn-blooming sedums look great when edged with a complementary color of African daisy. Dahlias are at their best during the hottest months of summer and also pair well with African daisies. Early spring perennials like alliums, dianthus, fleabane, and late spring bulbs like tulips or daffodils are also great choices to pair with cold-tolerant African daisies as the new season’s growth emerges. 

Annuals To Plant With African Daisies

The bright colors and deep green foliage of African daisies remain fresh and vivacious even during periods of high heat and humidity. Planting these tender perennials with annuals in a garden bed can make for a long-lasting display or serve as a temporary filler until slower-growing perennials obtain their mature size. African daisies grow well with traditional bedding plants, such as ageratum, dusty miller, French marigolds, calendula, snapdragons, and mealy cup sage. These plants enjoy full to partly sunny locations with well-draining, rich soil like African daisies. 

You can also pair African daisies with more tropical annuals like heliotrope, caladiums, and pentas. These tropicals mix well with some of the more unusual petal shapes and colors of African daisy and make for a low-maintenance and easy-to-grow garden. 

Best Companion Plants For African Daisies in Containers

Use African daisies as a focal point in smaller pots and hanging baskets. These plants can also serve as a filler for large mixed seasonal plantings in a raised bed or other permanent planter. Create a tropical design by planting bright-colored African daisies with nemesia, calibrachoa, and strawflowers. 

Regularly feed the container to keep all plants blooming and growing strong over many months. Use a diluted liquid formulation that supports blooming and root system formation using higher phosphorus and potassium. 

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Plants Not To Grow With African Daisies

Plants that grow in very wet or boggy soils do not make good companions for African daisies. Cattails, marsh marigolds, and flag iris need consistently wet soil to take up nutrients and do grow well in soil that dries out. Avoid planting African daisy with shade-loving plants such as ferns, most hostas, wild ginger, and sweet woodruff, which do will burn and dry out in full sun. 

Best Plants To Grow With African Daisies

In the landscape, African daisies make for lovely edging plants, facing plants for larger shrubs, and ground covers that can be easily changed from year to year. Scarlet red African daisies are stunning next to blue salvias and orange nemesia, and will provide long-lasting color for any garden that is in full sun and has good soil drainage year-round.

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Author Robbin Small - Published 10-18-2023