Bear's ear, or arctotis: greetings from South Africa

As an ornamental flower culture, arctotis has been grown for about two centuries, but in Russia this plant is not known to everyone. These flowers are very graceful, have a rich color. They are considered distant relatives of the gerbera. But her flowers are always open, and in arktotis they always close at night and on cloudy days.

Where does the flower come from

In nature, arctotis is a herbaceous plant

The homeland of arctotis is South Africa, where it grows on rocky slopes. Sometimes found in southern regions of Zimbabwe and Angola on poor soils. Some species grow in the same conditions in South America. Therefore, arctotis can be considered an unpretentious culture, but this does not mean that they do not need care.

Translated from Latin, Arctotis means bear's ear, as it is sometimes called. Only not for the shape of the flower, but for the characteristic leaves. It is also called the South African chamomile, and the hybrid varieties that are sold in flower shops are called gabris. This is a plant of the Aster family.

In the wild, arctotis grows in the form of shrubs and even grasses, but in cultivated gardens it can grow in single large flowers.

Features of growing arctotis

You should plant several seeds in one nest, leaving a distance of 20-40 centimeters between them

It is believed that this flower can be annual, biennial and perennial. It happens to be annuals in central and northern Russia, as it does not tolerate cold weather. But in the southern regions, the flower survives the winter well.

Gabris bloom from July to the very frost, until mid-November. The flowers resemble an aster or a large chamomile, but they look brighter and larger. At the summer cottage it is used as a decorative culture with a variety of colors. Thanks to this variety, the different varieties are perfectly combined in the beds.

Main popular varieties

In nature, this plant has many different species, but not all are used in gardening, many hybrids have been created.

Stekhasolistny (Arctotis Stoechadifolia)

Arktosis will feel most comfortable if there is a sufficient amount of sand in the soil, which can ensure its effective drainage.

One of the most common varieties. The stems grow up to 1 meter. The color is complex, in a variety of shades (white, yellow, pink). It blooms for a long time, until the very frost.

It has been cultivated as a cultivated plant since 1900.

Short-stemmed (Arctotis breviscapa)

Before the Arktosis begin to bloom, it is advised to feed them with a solution of mineral fertilizers

Low plant up to 15 cm high. Perennial. Leaves and stems are covered with white pubescence. In the middle, the flowers have a bright yellow tint, along the edges - white.

It has been bred in gardens for a very long time - since 1812.

Grungy (Arctotis aspera)

Organic fertilizers can harm flowers

Reaches a height of half a meter. In Russia, it is grown as an annual. Inflorescences are predominantly yellow and brown.

Lush (Arctotis Fastuosa)

Arktosis is vulnerable to parasites such as aphids and meadow bugs

It has bright orange or yellow flowers, it grows luxuriantly and heaped. It is considered the progenitor of most hybrid forms.

Stemless (Arctotis Acaulis)

Arctotis, there are more than 30 varieties

The smallest and smallest plant variety. Usually it does not exceed 15–20 cm. The rosette is very dense, red or orange in color. Looks great in pots.


In southern regions with a warm climate, the crop can be grown from seeds immediately planted in open ground. This can be done as early as early May, if there is no threat of frost. However, the culture tolerates temperatures up to minus 1 degrees. In colder conditions, you need to use the seedling method:

  1. Seeds are purchased either in the store, or are collected in the garden two weeks after flowering; only this should be done quickly, the seeds are very small, then they will simply be lost in the garden.
  2. It is better to place the prepared peat soil in separate pots, 2-3 seeds in each, it is better not to place the seeds in the total container, arctotis does not tolerate diving well.
  3. Planting should be done at the end of March; seedlings will appear in 8-10 days.
  4. Watering should be done carefully, preferably from below.
  5. In open ground, sprouts can be planted at the end of May or even at the beginning of June, it all depends on the climate; this culture is especially fond of temperatures around 20 degrees.
  6. Low-growing varieties should be placed at a distance of 20-30 cm from each other, higher ones at a distance of 40 cm.
  7. You can plant seeds in a common box; with this option, they are scattered over the soil and covered with glass, after a while it is removed; the dive is carried out very carefully so as not to damage the root system.

The soil can be chosen even lime, but not clayey and not wet. Drainage works best.


Plant care will vary depending on the flowering period.

During growth and flowering

It is not necessary to water the flowers abundantly, they do not like this. You can generally rely on the rains, and watering should be done during a drought. The plant may die from waterlogging of the soil.

Flowering occurs in 1–2 months. Before that, plants can be fed with mineral fertilizers once after planting, but in small quantities.

You cannot feed this crop with organic fertilizers!

Tall specimens of flowers need vertical support

After flowering, faded inflorescences must be removed.

The leaves of the bear's ear usually form a beautiful grass cover, which will be even more attractive when pruned from above.

After flowering - preparing for winter

Weeks 1.5–2 after flowering, the inflorescences begin to dry out. As soon as a kind of white bloom appears on them, collect the seeds. There can be a lot of them in one bud, up to 500 pieces, so select a little everywhere.

Then they are dried and left in closed containers until spring.

Only in the southern regions of Russia, a bear's ear can be left for the winter, covering it with spruce branches or simply with foliage and cutting it off shortly beforehand.

Great combinations of arctotis are obtained with godetia, fuchsia and marigolds

In central Russia, arctotis does not tolerate winter.

If you really love this flower, transplant it into a pot and take it home. Only the transplant must be done carefully. The root system of the plant is very weak.

Growing difficulties and disease

The plant does not require special care, but frequent and abundant watering can be detrimental to it. Then the flower can become infected with fungal root rot. It is very difficult to get rid of it; even pruning of roots often does not help. It is better to burn the infected plant so that the fungus does not spread to other flowers.

Excess moisture in the soil can also cause spotting. It must be fought with Bordeaux liquid according to the instructions.

In the heat, aphids can descend on the garden bed. An infusion of tobacco or garlic leaves will help here.

The variety of colors of the bear ear is now attracting more and more gardeners. This plant is perfectly used in landscape design. For example, on curbs or resting lawns.

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The flowering plant Arctotis is a member of the Astro family. This genus unites about 70 species. Some of these species are considered endemic to the Cape region, about 30 are found in Africa south of Angola and Zimbabwe, and another part grows in South America. The name of this plant is translated from Greek as "bear's ear", this is due to the fact that the bush has a very dense pubescence. Arctotis has been cultivated for over a century.

Tips for growing arctotis outdoors, planting and care

    Drop off location. Since in nature Arctotis grows in places with fairly bright lighting, then here you can also choose an open place, illuminated by the sun all day. Recommended for growing outdoors in the southern, but, as a last resort, the eastern or western location. On the north side, growth will be inhibited, and flowering will be poor or not at all. It is important to ensure that there is no stagnation of moisture from rain or too close to groundwater at the selected location.

How and when to plant arctotis. Since the plant is thermophilic, it will have to wait for the time when return frosts pass, that is, the period from late May to early June. They try to maintain the distance between seedlings in the range of 25–40 cm. If the plants were not transplanted into separate peat pots, then it is recommended not to destroy the earthen ball at the root system. To do this, you can use a spoon to remove the seedlings from the substrate. After planting in open ground, young bear ear seedlings must be thoroughly watered.

The choice of soil for planting arctotis. Usually, the plant does not impose special requirements on the soil, but the only exception is the clay substrate, since in such a heavy soil, when it is waterlogged, rotting of the root system is possible. It is better to dilute ordinary garden soil with river sand for looseness. You can add leafy humus to it for nutrition. Bear ear reacts poorly to wet soil or with high acidity.

Watering - this is an aspect that should not be paid much attention to when growing such African exotic plants, since in natural conditions, due to its rod-shaped roots, arctotis is able to extract water even during severe drought from the soil. And even if there is no rain for a long time in summer and the heat is, the flowers will still have a fresh look. But weeds at the same time become a real scourge in the care of Arctotis, therefore it is recommended after watering, if any, to inspect the planting, loosen the soil and remove weeds.

Fertilizers for arctotis. Top dressing must be applied before the activation of growth begins. Complete mineral preparations are used, but it is important to remember that organic remedies will harm the bear's ear.

General advice on care. Florists who have been cultivating Arctotis for a long time recommend immediately removing it after the inflorescence withers, if it is not planned to collect seeds after flowering. This will help the plant to avoid wasting nutrients that will go to live flowers, which will prolong the flowering process. If the variety is tall, then when planting, it is necessary to provide support for the stems, since, being in an open area, they can suffer from gusts of wind.

  • Bear ear wintering advice. If you live in the middle lane, where winters are harsh and snowy, then such weather conditions will be disastrous for the arctotis. Therefore, it is customary for us to grow it in the open field as an annual crop. If you want to keep the bush, then after flowering it is dug up and transplanted into a pot, then transferred to the room. But due to the extremely fragile root system, plants can die. In the case when this operation was successful, then the rules of winter care are as follows: a good level of lighting and infrequent watering, only after the soil dries up from above.

  • Arctotis planting and care in the open field with a photo

    arctotis photo cultivation

    You can transplant your pre-grown seedlings into the ground at the end of spring., when the danger of any frost has completely passed. It is important to remember that Arctotis are very light-loving flowers. Therefore, before sowing, make sure that the area where they will grow is not deprived of the attention of the sun.

    Flowers of Arktosis will certainly endow you with their luxurious inflorescences. Plants are not particularly whimsical to soil and are able to grow in almost any land, with the exception of clay soil, which will be difficult for sensitive plant roots to cope with.

    Arktosis will feel most comfortable if there is a sufficient amount of sand in the soil., which can ensure its effective drainage - another condition for the favorable development of these plants.


    flower arctotis planting and care

    First of all, after providing plenty of sunlight, Arktosis needs proper, moderate watering. It is highly not recommended to water it too often and strongly. Abundant watering can cause the development of root rot and, as a result, destroy the plant.

    It would be preferable to slightly dry the soil rather than over-wetting it.

    This nature of the plant is due to the natural conditions of its homeland, South Africa, where the plant most often grows in rocky soil and in dry weather.

    Thanks to this, the plant has the ability to draw moisture from the depths of the soil using its elongated roots, which allows Arktosis to maintain a fresh appearance even in the hottest weather. But the weeds of Arktosis are not friends at all, therefore, after watering, it is strongly recommended to inspect and cultivate the soil to free it from weeds.

    Top dressing

    Before the Arktosis begin to bloom, it is advised to feed them with a solution of mineral fertilizers. At the same time, remember that organic fertilizers can, on the contrary, only harm your flowers.

    Flowering features

    arctotis outdoor herbaceous plants

    It is best to remove faded flower heads in a timely manner, this will help preserve more nutrients for live flowers and generally extend the flowering period.


    1. Arktosis is very difficult to preserve through the winter until spring, so the only way for them to reproduce is with the help of seeds. Of course, you can plant a flower from the ground and, by transplanting it into a pot, keep it at home, however, the fragile root system of Arktosis is very sensitive to such transplants, they can lead to the death of the flower.
    2. A couple of weeks after the end of flowering, a fluff will appear in the center of the remaining basket - this is a ripe achene, and also a signal that it is time to start collecting seeds. Their concentration is unusually high. 1 gram can contain up to 500 seeds. Harvesting is best done in the morning in dry weather. The collected seeds are carefully dried, corked in a separate container and stored until next spring.

    Possible care problems

    Arktosis is vulnerable to parasites such as aphids and meadow bugs. When signs of infection from aphids appear, insecticides can protect the plant, and a simple solution of mustard-based water will help to cope with bugs (only 100 grams per 10 liters of water are needed).

    Arktosis are able to decorate any flower bed in any garden. They are unpretentious and hardy, you just need to provide these plants with sunlight and moderate watering, and they will delight you with their luxurious floral decoration for a long time.

    Types and varieties

    In our latitudes, not so many species of arctotis are grown in culture.

    Arctotis short-stemmed (Arctotis breviscapa)

    A compact perennial up to 15 cm in height, native to South Africa. Its leaves and stems are covered with white tomentose pubescence. Ligulate marginal flowers of a bright orange hue. In culture, the species has been since 1812.

    Arctotis rough (Arctotis aspera)

    Also native to South Africa, it reaches a height of 40-50 cm. In our climate, this species is grown as an annual plant. Its inflorescences up to 5 cm in diameter consist of yellow tubular and yellow reed flowers with brown streaks.

    Arctotis stemless (Arctotis acaulis = Arctotis scapigera)

    A perennial plant with a powerful taproot and pinnately dissected leaves up to 20 cm long, green on the upper side and whitish from pubescence on the bottom.Inflorescences-baskets up to 5 cm in diameter consist of yellow ligulate flowers with a purple lining and black-red tubular flowers.

    Arctotis stoechadifolia

    All from the same areas of South Africa, where all arctotis grow in perennial crops, whereas here they are grown as annuals. In height, light green, highly branched erect stems of this species, pubescent with a soft silvery-white pile, reach 1 m.Dense, asymmetrical oval-lanceolate leaves, wavy-toothed at the edges, located opposite and also covered with tomentose pubescence. The upper leaves are sessile, the lower ones are petiolar. Long peduncles bear graceful single baskets with a faint but pleasant aroma and consisting of pearl-white marginal flowers with a golden-yellow base and a pale purple underside and small gray-purple tubular flowers that form a steel-bluish disc in the center of the inflorescence. In cloudy weather, the baskets are closed. This species has been cultivated since 1900. A known variety of arctotis stochasoliferous grandis, which differs from the main species in longer leaves and large inflorescences.

    Arctotis hybrid (Arctotis x hybridus)

    PThis name combines the popular in culture complex hybrids between different species of arctotis. These plants, depending on the local climate, can be grown both as annuals and as perennials.

    Species rarely found in culture include beautiful arctotis with blue marginal flowers, auricular with ligulate flowers of bright yellow color and magnificent, or lush with large marginal flowers of orange color.

    The most popular varieties are:

    • Pink Suga - arctotis, in which the marginal flowers are pink-lilac from the ends to the middle, and yellow-orange from the middle to the base
    • Mahogeni - marginal flowers in plants of this variety are terracotta-orange, and tubular flowers are green
    • Hailey - ligulate flowers of rich yellow color, and the middle consists of cylindrical circles of dark yellow and black
    • Brick Red - variety with reed flowers of red color, the middle is dark yellow with dark brown.

    Arktotis Harlequin, a mixture of varieties of various colors, is in high demand among gardeners.

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