Once again a flower that looks a bit like “the flower itself”, and it also has magical colors to offer, probably every conceivable hue in the range of white, yellow, pink, red and purple. The cape baskets are definitely an asset to the garden, here you will find out how to really get a cape daisy and not a cape marigold, and everything about sowing, caring for and wintering the cape baskets.

It is seldom possible to sow real cape baskets

You have to buy cape baskets as young plants, because the cape baskets are always hybrid cultivars that cannot be propagated by seeds (at least not if the cape basket is to come out that is shown on the sales description). The seeds would flourish, but completely different plants would come out, so the culture hybrids can only be propagated from cuttings for a long time.

Some seeds of the commercially available cape basket hybrids are now available, but you can usually get cape marigolds when you buy seeds, see below under “A flower with many names and many varieties”.

If you have been able to get cape basket seeds, sowing them is simple: sow in pots, cover a little with soil, keep moist, and wait. The pots should be in an environment with 18 to 20 degrees, when the seedlings show, it will take about two weeks before you should move the plants into individual pots. They can then go into the garden bed at the end of May, Cape baskets like it very warm.

Planting and location of the cape baskets

Whether young plant or self-grown seedling, cape baskets come from Africa or Arabia, they like it warm and need all the warmth and sun that your garden has to offer in this country.

This not only means that you should give the cape daisies a sunny place, but also that this place should be well protected, even a “cold wind around your ears” could make your cape basket desperate. You must also expect that with every hour of shadow during the day that the cape daisy has to endure, the flowering wears off a little more.

Cape daisies need well-drained garden soil, soil with clay and sand is preferred.

Care and fertilization of the cape daisies

This soil should be kept evenly moist, but “wet feet” (waterlogging) do not like the cape baskets at all. Therefore, it is best to only water when the top layer of soil has dried. When cultivating in pots, water should never remain in the planter or saucer. Throw away spills as soon as possible, cap baskets can withstand a little dryness much better than too much moisture.

The cap basket needs nutrients as a permanent bloomer, you should fertilize more often during the growth phase, if possible every one to about two weeks, until the rest phase begins in August. If the cape baskets are getting lazy, you’ve overdone it, and the main thing you should do is to use less nitrogen.

Flower care and pruning help the cape baskets

Depending on their temperature preferences, Cape daisies reach their flowering peak when the hottest summer days of the year come up here. If you keep removing dead flowers now, you will encourage the formation of new flowers.

When the main flowering is over, you can cut back the whole plant, then it will sprout again and add many flowers. Many cape baskets take a “blooming break” after the first flowering anyway, so the next flowering phase is optimally prepared, it can then last into autumn. But also the varieties that have been available for a number of years and where attempts have been made to suppress the blooming pause, pruning after the first particularly rich flower pile is good.

In autumn, before putting away, you should cut the entire plant back to around a third so that it does not have as much leaf mass to take care of and it starts fresh in the next spring.

Propagation of the cape daisies

As I said, most of the cape baskets available from us are hybrids and can only be propagated by cuttings. You can remove this in spring, you simply cut off a nice, strong shoot about a hand’s breadth in March. Remove the lower leaves from it and stick it halfway in potting soil, the cuttings should be warm. Both softwood cuttings from the spring and semi-lignified summer cuttings removed later usually root easily.

If you have grown one of the Cape daisies varieties for which there are seeds, you can of course also propagate them by seeding.

A flower with many names and many varieties, most of which are not cape baskets at all

Cape baskets are botanically called osteospermum, actually a not very flattering name, osteon means bone and sperm semen. So the pretty plant is called “the bone seed”, and only the person responsible for this name will probably be able to tell you why that is so. In any case, they are better known by their German names and their many nicknames: The cape baskets are also called cap marigolds, or Bornholmmargerite or cape daisies or paternoster bush. In any case, the cape baskets belong to the sunflower family, but otherwise these denominations are used in trade in a way that causes a lot of confusion (as is often the case, to the detriment of the customer).

Because the flowers that belong to the genus Cape Baskets are all persistent and perennial. Of the 70 or so Osteospermum species, however, about half come from South Africa and the Arabian Peninsula, and the other species from tropical Africa but it works, see under overwintering).

The Osteospermums, however, used to include some flowering plants that are now part of the genus Dimorphotheca, and these cap marigolds, such as. B. the bushy cap calendula (Dimorphotheca sinuata), only live as an annual. These cap marigolds or hybrids of several types of cap marigolds (so-called aurantiaca hybrids, which are still annual) are still sold under the now misleading name Osteospermum, but you can very often recognize the cheat by the name of the variety. Here are the most common names or keywords under which you could be offered cape baskets, but which are in reality very different plants and very short-lived: African Daisy, Cape Marigold, Glistening White, Gaiety, Giant Mixed, Namaqualand Daisy, Pastel Silks, Potpourri, Rain Daisy, Salmon Queen, summer fashion,

For the thrifty gardener, however, it makes a huge difference whether he can overwinter a plant (like the cape baskets, see below) or whether he has to buy a completely new flower discount every year (as with the cape marigolds). The cape baskets are mainly grown as hybrids from Osteospermum jucundum, Osteospermum ecklonis (Bornholmmargerite) and Osteospermum grandiflorum. The varieties that are definitely cape baskets include z. B. the following names:

  • Acapulco
  • African Queen
  • Apricot
  • Asti Series – seeds are available for this variety
  • Biera
  • Big Pink
  • Bodegas Pink
  • Buttermilk
  • Chris Brickell
  • Duet
  • Giles Gilbey
  • Hopleys – Winner of an award from the Royal Horticultural Society of England
  • Ice White
  • Ink Spot – a variety of the small Bornholm margeriten
  • Langtrees – Winner of an award from the Royal Horticultural Society of England
  • Lilac Spoon
  • Marbella
  • Merriments Joy
  • Nairobi Purple
  • Passion Mix – seeds are available for this strain
  • Pink
  • Pink Beauty
  • Pink Whirls
  • Silver Sparkler
  • Soprano
  • Starshine
  • Springstar Gemma
  • Sunkist
  • White Pim – winner of an award from the Royal Horticultural Society of England
  • White Spoon
  • White Whirls
  • Whirlygig

In terms of trade, it is not the best business deal to buy these genuine osteospermums, which can be hibernated and which are of course much less to do with business. And so one can even observe in seed dealers known to be reputable how species of the genus Dimorhotheca are not sold very correctly as osteospermum. Therefore, when purchasing cape baskets, make sure that you are actually receiving plants or seeds of the genus Osteospermum before purchasing or ordering. Because you can overwinter these very well:

Hibernate cape baskets

Perennial Cape daisies of the genus Osteospermum can be overwintered in a cold house like Mediterranean potted plants or geraniums. Since the cape baskets are evergreen, and indeed take a dormant period in autumn and winter, but continue to grow, they must be overwintered in light. They should be cool to cold (between 5 and 15 degrees), but frost-free, during the resting phase they are only watered very little, just so that they do not dry out completely. There is no fertilizer, the wintering room should be briefly ventilated in any frost-free weather.

If you are at home in one of the climatically favored corners of Germany, you could even try to overwinter an osteospermum in the garden, the subshrubs can withstand temperatures down to minus 5 degrees for a short time. So z. B. The Osteospermum ecklonis are overwintered outdoors in the mild climate of the island of Bornhorm, so they got the name Bornholmmargeriten.

At the beginning of the new season, cut the cape baskets back hand-high at the beginning of February, they will slowly be placed as sunny and warm as possible, so they can begin to prepare for flowering. After the ice saints in mid-May, they are allowed to go back into the garden. You should either take the cape baskets, which are no longer used to the sun, outside on a cloudy day or put them in the shade for the first few days; the plants have to slowly get used to the sun again.

Cape basket on the balcony

The Bornholmmargerite is a popular balcony plant because the evergreen dwarf shrub from the genus Osteospermum only grows to a height of around 25 to a maximum of 50 cm. It thrives on any reasonably light and warm balcony, preferably on the south side, the sunny side of the balcony.

It can even get very hot here in the summer at lunchtime, and if your balcony faces south, but is often in the shade, that doesn’t matter: the remaining amount of light that can be seen together with the warmth brought in by the sun is sufficient the cape baskets usually off.


Once you have found real cape baskets and have not been given an incorrect name and have actually bought short-lived cape marigolds, you can enjoy these easy-care and long-lasting flower wonders for several years.

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