Well, this year I tried it, and it’s a great little annual.
I ordered this plant as Venidium fastuosum from Pinetree Garden Seeds, but after digging around on the interwebs, I think the correct current name is Arctotis fastuosa var. alba ‘Zulu Prince’. The species is commonly known as monarch-of-the-veldt or Cape daisy.
It’s attractive to bees, which make off with the pollen before the flowers close in late afternoon.
This is what they’re after—see that powdery white polleny goodness? The shiny dark blue things in the middle are disk flowers that haven’t opened yet.
Zulu Prince sets copious amounts of seed, so if you grow it once, you’ll never have to buy seed again. Daily deadheading greatly helps with the plant’s appearance, though, so you might want to let a few flowers go to seed and then deadhead the rest.
Cape daisy is in the aster family (Asteraceae), so when you remove the seeds from the seedhead, you see that cool fractal pattern, just like with sunflowers.
The ray petals are arranged in an alternating up-down fashion, which is distinctive and cute.
I have several plants that I raised from seed (indoors, under lights), and it’s interesting to note the diversity within the group. This plant has the biggest flowers—3 1/2 inches across; the smallest ones are 2 inches. Some plants are stocky and others are looser. And note how the orange and purple markings vary from flower…
Here’s a group shot. They’re not overwhelming in flower, but actually if they were more floriferous, they’d be a pain to deadhead. And to be fair these were planted late and had sat around in their cell packs for too long. They’ve filled out nicely.
Zulu Prince is from South Africa, and like a lot of plants from South Africa, it seems to like our Portland climate. The leaves, stems, and buds are hairy and resinous, like those of many plants adapted to dry-summer climates. It probably wouldn’t be crazy about high humidity.
We’ve had 2 solid months of endless sunshine, no rain, and mostly low humidity, and my Cape daisies are fat and sassy. They’ve had very little supplemental irrigation, though I haven’t let them get bone dry.