Mesembryanthemum: Livingstone daisy

Height 10-15cm (4-6in)

Planting distance 10-15cm (4-6in)

Flowers early to late summer

Any well-drained soil

Sunny site

Half-hardy annual

Originating in South Africa, the Livingstone daisy has astonishingly brilliant pink, lavender, red, orange and yellow flowers and thick pale green leaves which have a glistening, sugary appearance. The flowers are daisy-like, with slender petals, and put on their dazzling display from early to late summer, provided they are grown in a dry, sunny position.

As the plants are less than 15cm (6in) high and have a trailing habit, they look most effective on banks, in rock gardens and along the edges of borders. Grow them in large drifts.

Popular varieties

Garden varieties rather than the true species are usually available. They have been developed from Mesembryanthemum criniflorum. ‘Lunette’ has flowers with clear yellow petals arranged around a deep rust-red central disc. ‘Magic Carpet Mixed’ is a mixture of red, orange, pink, lavender and yellow flowers, some with a white band around the dark central discs.

Cultivation

Sow the seeds under glass in early spring and keep at a temperature of 15°C (59°F). Prick out the seedlings into boxes when they are large enough to handle and harden off before planting out in late spring. Set the plants 15cm (6in) apart. Choose a position in full sun and in well-drained soil. The plants thrive in sandy soils.

Seeds can be sown directly in the flowering site in mid spring, but they won’t flower as early as plants started off under glass. Thin to 15cm (6in) apart.

Pests and diseases

Plants may collapse due to the fungus foot rot.

22. February 2012 by Dave Pinkney
Categories: Annuals, Biennials, Bulbous Plants, Featured Articles | Tags: , , , | Comments Off on Mesembryanthemum: Livingstone daisy

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