Why African daisies die (Osteospermum) + Top 5 Problems

African daisies can die due to a lack of water, a lack of nutrients particularly nitrogen, pest attack or poor soil. Potted African daisies can bounce back to life if they are repotted into premium potting soil and watered well. African daisies in the ground will benefit from liquid fertilizer, watering and top dressing with compost.

This article will explore the top reasons why African daisies die and what you can do to save them.

Top 5 reasons why African daisies die

Here are my top reasons why African daisies or Osteospermum will die and what to do to solve each problem.

1. Lack of water can cause them to wilt and die

The top reason why African daisies can die quickly is due to a lack of water. African daisies are drought hardy but this is only true once they are established. If a new plant lacks water it can quickly wilt and die.

A long summer without added water can also cause an African daisy to die. I used to live in an incredibly dry area of Australia which meant I had to water my African daisies every 3 days in summer.

These daisies are originally from Africa and one of the hardiest daisies you can find. Lack of water can still cause problems and they can dry out to a point where they wilt and die.

The solution to this problem is to check the soil each week and water the daisy when the soil is dry 2 inches down from the surface. Top dress the daisies with compost and cover the soil with bark mulch. Adding organic matter will help to hold water in the soil for longer and prevent them from drying out.

2. Lack of nitrogen

A lack of nutrients, particularly nitrogen can cause African daisies to wilt and eventually die. Nitrogen is essential for leaf and flower growth and supports the plant to make its own food and grow rapidly.

A lack of nitrogen or other nutrients can eventually lead to plant death. The easy way to solve this problem and add a range of nutrients is to add a broad-spectrum fertilizer. Slow release fertilizers like pelleted chicken manure or a general slow release outdoor plant fertilizer will deliver a range of nutrients to boost growth.

Pelleted chicken manure delivers nitrogen, calcium and magnesium and will help to increase the organic matter in the soil.

 3. Pests

Pests can be the cause of African daisy death but this is usually a rare occurrence. African daisies are a very pest tolerant plant but if they are attacked, I have found the best way is to remove damaged leaves or flowers.

Trimming away leaves that carry aphids or spidermite is the best way to remove these pests. You can also spray the plant with neem oil as it is a natural pest killer that is gentle on your plant.

4. Poor soil

Poor soil can cause African daisies to die quickly. Old, dense potting soil, sandy ground soil or heavy clay can all cause plant death. Each of these can make it difficult for the plant to get the nutrients it needs, clay soil can constrict root growth and sand can dry out quickly.

The best way to grow a healthy African daisy is to plant it in good quality potting soil or to add aged cow manure and compost in the ground. This will improve any ground soil to improve drainage, water holding capacity and add nutrients.

5. Lack of light

African daisies are sun loving plants and if they are grown in shade they can struggle. While they can survive some shade, they will certainly thrive in a bright sunny area.

For daisies planted in pots, move them into the sun, particularly in spring and summer to encourage a beautiful display of flowers.

Daisies grown in shade can struggle to photosynthesize and grow new stems and leaves for a strong healthy plant.

What to do if your African daisies wilt

Wilting is the first sign that your African daisy is unhappy and you should act fast to prevent plant death. After a hot day, African daisy leaves can wilt due to the warm weather.

This is easily solved by watering the plant at the end of the day. You can proactively prevent this by watering in the morning to wet the soil.

Wilting can also be caused by the opposite problem of too much water. You can usually tell that this is the cause because leaf tips can turn black and the soil will be wet when you touch it.

Slow down your watering schedule if this is the case and add bark mulch to absorb the extra water from rain.

How to prevent your African daisies from dying

Here are my top 3 tips for preventing your African daisies from dying.

1. Water

Water your African daisies over summer if the weather is dry. Reduce the chance of allowing your daisies to dry out by adding a 2-3 inch layer of bark mulch.

2. Check for overwatering

For African daisies that are wilting due to overwatering slow down the water you are adding. Add bark mulch to absorb extra rain. Bark will absorb rain water and slowly release it to the plant over time.

3. Check the soil and repot

For potted African daisies, repot them every 2 years and refresh the soil. This will add nutrients, add air and your daisies will be happy.

Why African daisies die | Summary

African daisies can die due to a lack of water, too much water, pest attack or a lack of nutrients. Work out if water is the problem and check the soil to see if it is too wet or dry. The solution to all of these is really to make sure the soil is moist but not wet, add some all-purpose fertilizer and mulch the plant.

African daisies are forgiving so trim off any leaves or stems that are damaged and no one will know!

Your plant will bounce back soon, so be patient and happy growing.