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How to Care for Ursinia Plants!

Bright yellow ursinia flowers growing in the garden

Genus Ursinia

Sometimes as gardeners, we look for plants that can just be planted and forgotten about. Sometimes gardeners who are first starting out need a plant who will just grow enthusiastically without a ton of coaxing. Members of the ursinia genus are the perfect plant options for both of these situations.

The genus ursinia is part of the asteraceae botanical family and contains around 40 flowering plant species that grow as annuals, herbaceous perennials, and sometimes as small sub shrubs as well. This plant is more commonly known as the orange African daisy, the Namawaka daisy, or the glossy eyed parachute daisy.

Gardeners adore members of the ursinia family because they are remarkably easy to care for and to introduce to the garden, they attract all sorts of beneficial insects to the area, they bloom for a ludicrous length of time, and they also make for wonderful cut flowers for flower bouquets.

What do Ursinia Plants Look Like?

Gorgeous golden yellow ursinia flowers growing amongst feathery foliage

Growth Habit

Starting underneath the soil, ursinia plants grow from fine but sturdy root systems. These roots are rather sensitive to dampness, so be careful about how much water they’re receiving.

From these roots grow flowering stems that only reach heights of around 6 inches, but the overall spread of the plant is closer to 12 inches. Leaves and flowers are borne on the same stems.

Depending on the species, ursinia plants will either grow as an annual plant type (perishing after a single flowering period) or as herbaceous perennials that will continue to blossom yearly as long as their ideal growing conditions are met and maintained.

Leaves

The feathery foliage of the ursinia plant is another large reason as to why gardeners enjoy planting them in their gardens. The foliage emerges as a rich green mound of leaves that are said to look like ferny foliage. Each leaf is narrow with feathery ends and is a medium green color.

Flowers

The reason why ursinia plants have the nickname of orange African daisy is because of their daisy like flowers. This type of ursinia flower has a centre disc that is surround by ray florets of brightly colored petals.

Each ursinia flower will have many narrow and long flower petals, and the flower color will range between shades of yellow and orange. Urisinia flowers will most commonly bloom in the early spring or late spring and last all the way through summer, fall, and sometimes even winter in warmer climates.

Ursinia blooms are also known to be extremely attractive to pollinators, not because of their sweet smelling nectar, but specifically for their flower color. Bees, moths, butterflies, and wasps will all gather to your garden because of these ever-blooming flowers!

What are some Notable Ursinia Species?

Lovely field of bright yellow ursinia flowers in the wild

Springbok (Ursinia Calenduliflora)

Also known as the rock ursinia, the springbok plant is an annual plant that is native to the more southern regions of South Africa. This plant produces sunny golden blooms with dark rings in the centre that bloom in the early spring and last for weeks and weeks.

Solar Fire (Ursinia Anthemoides)

The solar fire ursinia plant is an evergreen perennial specimen that has evergreen leaves because it grows in constantly warm climates. These plants bear orange daisy like flowers with a purple centre disc. It is also slightly taller than other specimens, usually reaching heights over a foot.

Where is Ursinia a Native Plant?

Amazing expansive field of ursinia flowers in the sun

One of the biggest favors that you can for yourself as a gardener is learning about where a prospective garden member is a native plant. Learning this information will help you understand how to mimic those growing conditions outside of a plant’s natural growing range.

Ursinia plants are native to all sorts of different regions in South Africa and grow plentifully in the wild in hot and dry conditions. They can become naturalized in areas with similar climates. Funnily enough, the Uinta Basin in Colorado is the perfect climate for them.

A ursinia plant can grow happily outdoors all year round in USDA growing zones 10 and 11, but should be treated as an annual plant outside of those zones. Don’t worry, the seeds of the mother plants will sprout back up once the weather is warm again.

What are the Ideal Growing Conditions of Ursinia Plants?

Now that you have all of the preliminary information regarding ursinia plants, it is finally time to learn just how easy it is to care for one of your very own! Ursinia care can very easily be incorporated into any regular gardening routine if you follow these very simple tips and tricks:

Single ursinia flower growing in super dry rocky soil

Soil Type

Something interesting about ursinia plants is the fact that they prefer growing in poor soil rather than rich soil – but this is indicated by the type of soil they’re used to growing in in the wild, which is usually dry and sandy.

Poor soil means that there isn’t much nutrients in the soil. Rich soil will end up causing the plants to grow too quickly and too tall, and they’ll end up needing to be staked or they’ll snap.

For this reason, avoid increasing the drainage of the soil by using compost and instead just incorporate some sand to the mixture to ensure that the nutrient level of the soil stays low. Good drainage is just as important as low nutrient levels!

Water Level

The most low maintenance aspect about ursinia care is watering — you pretty much don’t need to do it! Ursinia plants are incredibly drought tolerant even before they are well established and actually prefer not receiving water.

This drought tolerance comes from the fact that they’re used to growing in sandy dry soil, so make sure that their soil is well draining or they can easily experience root rot.

Sun Exposure

The most integral aspect of ursinia plant care is the amount of sun exposure that they receive. They prefer to exist in an area that receives a minimum of 6-8 hours of direct sunlight per day.

If ursinia plants are planted in an area that doesn’t receive enough sunlight, they will attempt to grow in the direction of the sun and can become quite leggy. This can sometimes lead to the necessity of staking your plants.

Bright yellow bouquet of ursinia flowers

Temperature

The one thing that ursinia plants can’t really tolerate is cold temperatures. They will only be able to survive in temperatures that remain 60 degrees Fahrenheit. They can exist as perennials in USDA growing zones 10 and 11, but should be treated as annuals outside of those zones. They will not survive winter temperatures.

Fertilizer

Ursinia plants do not require fertilizer, and in fact should not be fertilized at all. They are used to living in poor soil that is low in nutrients.

If a ursinia plant is given fertilizer there’s a high chance that it will grow too quickly and too enthusiastically and the stems will become tall and unstable. If this is the case the plant will require staking.

Pruning

Ursinia plants do not need pruning in order to remain healthy. You can sometimes deadhead the spent flower heads to encourage a second blooming period.

How do you Propagate an Ursinia Plant in the Garden?

Garden scene with blooming ursinia flowers in the sun

Not only are ursinia plants easy to care for, they are also super easy to propagate in the garden. Their easy of propagation is part of the reason why ursinia is the perfect beginner plant for gardeners, basically all you have to do is sprinkle and go!

1. Wait until after the last expected frost of the season in the early spring before planting your ursinia seed, this will fulfill the warm temperature requirement of the plant.

Or, you can also start your seeds indoors 6-8 weeks before the last expected frost of the season in individual pots. The seedlings can then be transplanted outdoors after the last frost.

2. Simply dig holes that are 6-10 inches apart from one another and place the seed inside. Cover lightly, as the seeds require light for germination.

3. Water thoroughly right as they are planted, but otherwise the seedlings won’t require much water to be happy. Germination should occur in 2-4 weeks.

And that’s it! Hopefully you’ve been convinced as to why ursinia is perfect starter plant, the perfect easy care plant, and the perfect plant to turn your garden into a butterfly garden. Happy planting!

Field of ursinia flowers growing on a hot summer day

FAQs

Are ursinia plants deer resistant?

Another positive aspect to ursinia plants is the fact that they are resistant to grazing from larger pests like deer, rabbits, and squirrels.

How are ursinia plants used?

Ursinia plants can be used in nearly application you could imagine. They make the perfect plant for a rock garden, they’re great to plant alongside tree species and shrubs, they’re often planted for hot sunny borders, they’re great to plant in a hanging basket or container.

What are the damaging agents to ursinia plants?

Despite their ease of care, ursinia plants can experience some issues. The main issue is over watering, which can lead to issues like root rot and powdery mildew. They can also experience infestations from pests like aphids.

Can ursinia plants survive winter temperatures?

The one thing that ursinia plants can’t really tolerate is cold temperatures. They will only be able to survive in temperatures that remain 60 degrees Fahrenheit. They can exist as perennials in USDA growing zones 10 and 11, but should be treated as annuals outside of those zones. They will not survive winter temperatures.

Are ursinia plants evergreen or deciduous?

Many ursinia species bear deciduous ferny foliage, meaning that the leaves will change color and fall away once the cold weather approaches. Other species bear evergreen foliage, meaning it will remain green all year long. This is usually the case in warmer climates.

Can a ursinia plant be grown indoors?

Ursinia plants require a ton on sunlight and that can be hard to give a plant if it lives indoors. Pollinators like bees, moths, and butterflies will also miss out on their sweet nectar and bright flowers. Though they can be grown indoors, they will be happier outdoors.

Can a ursinia plant be grown in a container?

The ursinia plant makes for a great container plant and growing them in containers is an easy way to control their population as well.

Are ursinia plants perennials?

Ursinias are a perennial plant type, meaning that they will continue to produce flower blooms in the early spring or late spring each year as long as their ideal growing conditions are met and maintained.

What USDA growing zone can ursinia plants grow in?

Ursinia plants are native to all sorts of different regions in South Africa and grow plentifully in the wild in hot and dry conditions. They can become naturalized in areas with similar climates. Funnily enough, the Uinta Basin in Colorado is the perfect climate for them.

A ursinia plant can grow happily outdoors all year round in USDA growing zones 10 and 11, but should be treated as an annual plant outside of those zones. Don’t worry, the seeds of the mother plants will sprout back up once the weather is warm again.

How often should a ursinia plant be watered?

The most low maintenance aspect about ursinia care is watering — your pretty much don’t need to do it! Ursinia plants are incredibly drought tolerant even before they are well established and actually prefer not receiving water.

This drought tolerance comes from the fact that they’re used to growing in sandy dry soil, so make sure that their soil is well draining or they can easily experience root rot.

What are some other common names for ursinia plants?

The genus ursinia is part of the asteraceae botanical family and contains around 40 flowering plant species that grow as annuals, herbaceous perennials, and sometimes as small sub shrubs as well. This plant is more commonly known as the orange African daisy, the Namawaka daisy, or the glossy eyed parachute daisy.

Gardeners adore members of the ursinia family because they are remarkably easy to care for and to introduce to the garden, they attract all sorts of beneficial insects to the area, they bloom for a ludicrous length of time, and they also make for wonderful cut flowers for flower bouquets.

Should a ursinia plant be pruned?

Ursinia plants do not need pruning in order to remain healthy. You can sometimes deadhead the spent flower heads to encourage a second blooming period.

Do ursinia plants prefer full sun or partial shade?

The most integral aspect of ursinia plant care is the amount of sun exposure that they receive. They prefer to exist in an area that receives a minimum of 6-8 hours of direct sunlight per day.

If ursinia plants are planted in an area that doesn’t receive enough sunlight, they will attempt to grow in the direction of the sun and can become quite leggy. This can sometimes lead to the necessity of staking your plants.

Where can I buy ursinia plant seeds?

Ursinia seeds can very easily be found at your local nursery or garden centre, or you can order them online.

What is the ideal soil type for a ursinia plant?

Something interesting about ursinia plants is the fact that they prefer growing in poor soil rather than rich soil – but this is indicated by the type of soil they’re used to growing in in the wild, which is usually dry and sandy.

Poor soil means that there isn’t much nutrients in the soil. Rich soil will end up causing the plants to grow too quickly and too tall, and they’ll end up needing to be staked or they’ll snap.

For this reason, avoid increasing the drainage of the soil by using compost and instead just incorporate some sand to the mixture to ensure that the nutrient level of the soil stays low. Good drainage is just as important as low nutrient levels!

What is the easiest way to propagate a ursinia plant?

Part of the reason why folks love ursinia plants is because they are so easy to propagate! You can do this by simply starting the seeds 6 weeks before the last frost then transplanting them, or sowing seed directly outdoors after the last frost of the season.

How tall do ursinia plants get?

Starting underneath the soil, ursinia plants grow from fine but sturdy root systems. These roots are rather sensitive to dampness, so be careful about how much water they’re receiving.

From these roots grow flowering stems that only reach heights of around 6 inches, but the overall spread of the plant is closer to 12 inches. Leaves and flowers are borne on the same stems.

What time of year do ursinia flowers bloom?

The reason why ursinia plants have the nickname of orange African daisy is because of their daisy like flowers. This type of ursinia flower has a centre disc that is surround by ray florets of brightly colored petals.

Each ursinia flower will have many narrow and long flower petals, and the flower color will range between shades of yellow and orange. Urisinia flowers will most commonly bloom in the early spring or late spring and last all the way through summer, fall, and sometimes even winter in warmer climates.

Ursinia blooms are also known to be extremely attractive to pollinators, not because of their sweet smelling nectar, but specifically for their flower color. Bees, moths, butterflies, and wasps will all gather to your garden because of these ever-blooming flowers!