The genus brachyscome is comprised of a large variety of flowering plants in the aster botanical family (Asteraceae). This is a very simply shaped flower – as anyone would recognize this plant as being a common daisy – though it is a specific species that can only be found in Australia!
The most common name for this plant is the Swan River daisy, though there is once specific species who holds this name independently. Some other come types are the yellow tongue daisy, the cut leaved daisy, the rocky daisy, and the variable daisy.
The scientific term for this plant is derived from the classical greek brachys, which translates to “short”, and kome, which translates to “hair”. This is in referenced to the hair-like pappus bristles that coat the flowers’ seeds.
These plants are endemic to Australia, indicating that they have rather specific growing conditions. There are some species that can also be found growing in New Zealand and New Guinea as well.
If you’re lucky enough to live in a place with a climate similar to Australia’s, read on so that you can learn how to incorporate a brachyscome plant into your garden! If you live somewhere a little colder, we have plenty more options in our awesome list of flowering plants from all over the world, where you’ll surely find the perfect addition to your plant collection!
What are Some Brachyscome Species?
Swan River Daisy (Brachyscome Iberidifolia)
The swan river daisy is an annual plant. They can be found growing all over Australia in a wide range of growing conditions. They are a very resilient and adaptable plant.
This species has many branching stems and stands erect up to 16 inches tall. Leaves are long and narrow, and flowers can be anywhere from white, to pink, blue, or violet.
Rocky Daisy (Brachyscome Multifida)
Also known as the cut-leaved daisy, or the Hawkesbury daisy; the rocky daisy is a perennial plant. These plants aren endemic to Australia, and have a precise growing range.
This species exhibits a matting growth habit, and the foliage is deeply divided and dense. Flowers emerge as either a pink, white, or mauve color.
Variable Daisy (Brachyscome Ciliaris)
The variable daisy is a very widely distributed perennial that can be found growing in every Australian state.
This plant has a small, bushy growth habit with prominent flowers. They are only about 45 cm tall and flowers are large and can be either white or purple.
Yellow Tongue Daisy (Brachyscome Chrysoglossa)
The yellow tongue daisy is a perennial plant. It is also endemic to Australian provinces and has a wide growing range.
These plants exhibit erect growth habits and are the only species of this genus that has yellow disc florets with a black centre.
Field Daisy (Brachyscome Decipiens)
The field daisy is a perennial herb that lives in Victoria, Tasmania, and New South Wales in Australia.
This small herb is a rather uniquely shaped species. These plants have egg shaped leaves that grow in whorls and very close to the ground. They also bear pale blue or white flowers.
What do Brachyscome Plants Look Like?
Depending on the species of brachyscome plant, flowers can be borne either in solitary or in a many-branched inflorescence. Flowers are rather large and can completely obscure the leaves when they are in full bloom.
The flower heads are borne in a row of ray florets. These ray florets can be a variety of different colors, including white, blue, pink, mauve, yellow, or pale blue. Flowers will usually have a black centre disk.
These plants are a rather bushy or mounded shape with compact foliage. Some species grow more erect, whereas others will grow in a spreading ground cover manner. They can grow to be up to 18 inches tall.
Many species of brachyscome plants have a basal rosette of leaves. Leaves are alternately arranged along the length of the stem. A leaf is a gray/green color and is pinnately divided into narrow segments.
How do You Grow a Brachyscome Plant?
If you’ve purchased some brachyscome seeds, it is best to wait to start your growing process until the late winter or early spring for the seedlings to be ready in time for spring blossoming.
Ensure that you have moist and well-drained seed compost filling some egg cups. Place the sowing seed on top and then sprinkle with a light coating – the seed needs plenty of light for proper germination.
With the right amount of sunlight, germination should take place within 10-18 days. Once seedlings have started to sprout, they can be moved to 8cm pots.
If you’ve decided to propagate an existing garden plant or one purchased from a nursery, you’ll learn it’s very easy to do! The first and most important step is to pick a very healthy looking cutting, as the future plants will carry the same genes. It is best to attempt propagation in the late spring.
Cut 1 or 2 inches of a stem from the top of the soil. Strip all leaves from the bottom half of the stem, and leave a couple of leaves on the top half of the stem. This ensures that the plant is able to photosynthesize properly in order to establish a root system.
The best mixture to help encourage root establishment is perlite and peat moss. Ensure that this mixture in moist and well drained. Keep your small cups in a sunny but sheltered area.
The root system should be well established enough within a month to then be transplanted to a larger pot. After 3 weeks of living in a small pot, the plant should be ready to be planted outside. Just make sure that the last signs of frost are gone, and that the plants are in an area that receives full sun conditions.
Where do Brachyscome Plants Grow?
Brachyscome is a native plant to Australia. They can tolerate a very wide range of habitat types, including rainy coastal zones and dry mountainous regions as well.
They can be found growing in all states of Australia, and have been successfully cultivated in USDA growing zones 2 through 11 as well.
What are the Growing Conditions of Brachyscome Plants?
You don’t need to be an expert gardener in order to care for the brachyscome plant. If this is one of the number one favorites on your plant list, grab that propagated stem or sow that seed and you’ll be experiencing heavy blooming seasons in no time.
Brachyscome plants are tolerant of drought conditions, though they cannot tolerate existing in waterlogged soils. They can live in any soil type, as long as it remains somewhat moist and well drained, and has a pH level ranging between 6 and 7.
These plants prefer to live in full sun conditions, otherwise they may not experience a successful blooming season. This is especially essential for young plants that are first establishing their root systems.
Though the brachyscome plant prefers to exist in moist conditions, it is also important not to overwater. This plant is very sensitive to overwatering as it has small leaves, and cannot convert enough starch into sugar if they receive too much water.
Though these plants are able to survive in very hot temperatures, their flowers will not bloom if they have consistently hot days.
Brachyscome plants don’t need to be given fertilizer unless they are growing in containers. Use a low level fertilizer, and apply it every couple of days.
In order to encourage continuous flowering, be generous about deadheading this plant. This means popping off the bloomed flower heads of the plant. Otherwise, the stems tend to manage themselves just fine.
All in all, these plants are rather easy to care for, just remember that they need to be in well drained soil and in full sun conditions! They also don’t respond too well to urban pollution.
How are Brachyscome Plants Used?
The main purpose of the brachyscome is as an ornamental plant. They make a beautiful addition to both flower gardens and rock gardens, and they can be used as a border, edging or bedding plant as well.
They’re so easy to care for that they can be kept easily in outdoor containers, in a hanging basket, in window boxes, or as a mass planting specimen as well!