Spring To Fall: Drakensberg Daisies
PETER AMBROSIUS from the little town of Marbach in the hills of
Southern Germany had been breeding gerberas all his professional life – mainly spectacular cut-flower varieties that quickly found their way into flower bouquets around the world. His love affair with the gerbera daisy prompted him to visit South Africa, the home of the genus, collecting seeds of the wild species to expand his breeding collection. High in the Drakensberg Mountains near Durban, he chanced upon a modest little alpine species with a small, tight leaf rosette and sturdy little white flowers that withstood the cold, windy and frosty weather at these high altitudes – a far cry from the pampered greenhouse gerberas that he had been working with for decades.
Ambrosius then decided to try to breed some color into the phenomenal
attributes of this montane form. After years and years, the Drakensberg Daisy collection was born: wonderfully robust, but also very neat varieties with small leaves and slightly nodding, petite flowers on sturdy, strong flower stems. Given their hybrid vigor, Drakensberg Daisies flower non-stop all season long – from spring right through to hard frost in late autumn. They work wonderfully as garden plants, especially in mixed borders, but are also fantastic container plants with a very long season of color. And the best thing is their frost hardiness – in milder areas (to zone 8), they survive the winters and can be treated as perennials.
No ordinary gerbera daisy
Drakensberg Daisy are extremely tough, disease resistant and vigorous. Their excellent in ground performance will reward the customer who plants them for the entire summer. They have the ability to be trimmed back and re-grown from the base. Full sun and the heat of the inland valleys have not stopped this unique gerbera.
Plant size is significantly larger than regular gerbera daisies. The individual flowers are smaller but make up the difference with a mass of color held high above the plant. Drakensberg Daisy has the bloodlines of a wild, rosette-forming species which makes them truly outstanding in the landscape or patio pots. They make great cut-flowers, too!