Arctotis fastuosa ‘Zulu Prince’ Cape Daisy

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arctotis fastuosa zulu prince cape daisy flowers 070715 052
How many times have I seen ‘Zulu Prince’ Cape daisy at the back of a seed catalog and thought, “Hmm, I should try that sometime”? But I always pass it up.

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.

arctotis fastuosa zulu prince striped stem with bee 071515 003
It’s attractive to bees, which make off with the pollen before the flowers close in late afternoon.
venidium fastuosum monarch of the veldt lots of pollen 070715 022
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.

arctotis fastuosa zulu prince cape daisy seeds 071515 008
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.

arctotis fastuosa cape daisy fractal pattern 071515 013
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.
arctotis fastuosa zulu prince cape daisy side view 071515 052
The ray petals are arranged in an alternating up-down fashion, which is distinctive and cute.

arctotis fastuosa zulu prince cape daisy striped stems with matrona 071615 012
The stems are striped and make a nice color echo to the purple stems of Sedum ‘Matrona’.

arctotis fastuosa zulu prince cape daisy diversity7 biggest flower 071515 088
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…

venidium fastuosum monarch of the veldt diversity1 070715 062
to flower…

venidium fastuosum monarch of the veldt diversity3 070715 064
to flower…

venidium fastuosum monarch of the veldt diversity4 070715 065
to flower. I believe Arctotis fastuosa also comes in an orange-yellow model, but I like this white version. It’s as crisp and clean as freshly laundered linens hung out to dry.

arctotis fastuosa zulu prince cape daisy group 071515 101
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.

venidium fastuosum monarch of the veldt whole plant 070715 020
This is a single plant that I planted earlier in the year. It’s about 2 ft. high and 2 ft.wide and there are usually 15-20 flowers blooming on it and 40 or 50 more buds waiting their turn.

arctotis fastuosa zulu prince cape daisy side view 070715 027
The flowers close in late afternoon and don’t open until mid-morning. They’re also closed on cloudy days, which is a bummer and which is probably why you don’t see more Cape daisies around.

arctotis fastuosa zulu prince cape daisy bud 071515 037
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.

arctotis fastuosa zulu prince cape daisy foliage 071515 118
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.

arctotis fastuosa zulu prince cape daisy side peek 071515 059
I’m so happy I gave it a try!

 

 

 

 

 


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