How to prune osteospermum

Written by lillian teague
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How to prune osteospermum
Osteospermum is a half-hardy perennial often sold as an annual in northern areas. (Stockbyte/Stockbyte/Getty Images)

Osteospermum provides a popular planting for gardens, containers and hanging baskets. Also grown as an excellent cut flower, osteospermum has several common names including African Daisy, Cape Daisy and Blue-Eyed Daisy. This perennial features bushy green foliage topped by large daisy-like blooms in shades of white, yellow, pink, purple and blue. Pruning helps keep flowering perennials looking their best, according to Leslie Patterson, Colorado State University Cooperative Extension Master Gardener. By pruning osteospermum, you increase the number of blooms and maintain a pleasant plant shape.

Skill level:
Moderately Easy

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Things you need

  • Sharpened garden shears
  • 10 per cent bleach solution

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  1. 1

    Clean sharpened garden shears with a 10 per cent solution of bleach. The North Carolina State University Extension service recommends proper cleaning of tools before pruning osteospermum in order to prevent disease transmittance.

  2. 2

    Identify blooms on the plant that are at or just past the full bloom stage. Osteospermum blooms that are spent, or past the full bloom, feature drooping petals and often start to turn brown in the middle. The removal of these blooms reduces the amount of energy the plant uses for seed production and increases the length of the bloom season.

  3. 3

    Cut the selected blooms off the plant using shears. If the stem contains flower buds that have not bloomed yet, cut the stem with the spent bloom where it joins into the main stem. If all the blooms on the stem are spent, the Colorado State University Cooperative Extension recommends, cut the main stem toward the base of the plant, leaving a small rosette of leaves.

  4. 4

    Discard spent blooms away from the flower bed in order to eliminate the spread of any disease or pests within the garden.

    Cutting Back

  1. 1

    Clean sharpened gardening shears in a 10 per cent bleach solution.

  2. 2

    Wait until the osteospermum has finished blooming in the spring or in the fall. You may cut back the plant both times to encourage fuller growth. When cut back in late spring to early summer, the plant will flower again in the fall, according to the North Carolina State University Extension.

  3. 3

    Cut the plant using the shears to at least half the original height of the plant. Each remaining stem should have three to five leaf clusters remaining.

  4. 4

    Discard cut foliage away from the garden.


  1. 1

    Clean sharp garden shears with a 10 per cent bleach solution.

  2. 2

    Snip the stem off just above a clump of leaves to control the shape of the plant. Colorado State University Extension recommends taking small pieces of the plant off gradually in spring and early summer. Don't pinch osteospermums after July 4th, or blooming will be delayed.

  3. 3

    Discard of pinched foliage away from the garden.

Tips and warnings

  • Deadhead full-bloom osteospermum with long enough stems to enjoy as cut flowers in flower arrangements.
  • Pinch the front parts of osteospermum plants planted along a wall or fence for a tiered effect.

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