Gazanias are South African natives valued for their heat and drought tolerance and bright, cheerful flowers. The large, daisy-like flowers come in a variety of colours and are held above the basal foliage, forming a bright carpet of colour when planted in large masses. The Kiss series of gazanias was developed by Goldsmith Seeds, a division of Syngenta Flowers.
Although technically tender perennials, gazanias (Gazania rigens, also called G. superba), including the Kiss series, are marketed as annuals in most of the United States. In the warmest areas of the country, such as southern Texas and parts of California, they're short-lived perennials, never lasting more than a few years. The plants grow 6 to 12 inches high and bloom continuously from summer to early fall. They're rarely bothered by pests or disease. The flowers close up on cloudy days and in the evenings, so they don't make good cut flowers. Gazanias are very tolerant of poor soil, hot temperatures and drought.
About the Kiss Series
The Kiss series of gazanias features a wide range of colours, including yellow, orange, white and pink. Several interesting bi-colours are available, such as Frosty White Flame, with white petals striped with dark rose-red, and Bronze Star, with dark bronze flowers tipped with gold. All the Kiss series plants grow 8 to 10 inches tall and wide. Kiss flowers grow up to 4 1/2 inches wide and are held above the foliage on sturdy stems.
Gazanias require full sun and good drainage but are tolerant of poor soil. Space them 6 to 8 inches apart for best coverage. Once established, they need supplemental watering only during extended dry spells. Gazanias transplant easily and can be potted up and brought inside for winter colour. The Kiss series are patented plants, meaning that you cannot propagate them without permission from Goldsmith Seeds, so don't divide them or attempt to propagate them in any manner. However, seeds for many varieties in the Kiss series are available from seed companies such as Park Seed and Burpee's.
Kiss gazanias are good plants for the front of sunny garden borders and also perform well as a flowering ground cover when planted in large groups. Because of their heat and drought tolerance, Kiss gazanias are especially useful near driveways and sidewalks. They also do well in mixed container plantings.
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