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When To Cut Back African Daisies [And How To Do That]

African daisies can make your garden look fresh and cheerful. You want to see these flowers bloom well like all the other plants in your garden. Can cutting back these flowers help, and when and how should you do it? We consulted with experts to provide the information below.

Cut back your daisies during summer to increase the number of blooms and to ensure that the plant continues producing flowers. Prune before winter starts to remove dead plants from the garden.

With that in mind, there are two methods for cutting back an African daisy:

  • To improve growth in summer and spring:
    • Cut off dead flowers
    • Cut back all the stems  
    • Leave the flower buds intact
    • Wait for flowers to grow
  • To prepare your daisies for fall and winter: 
    • Cut the stems in half
    • In fall, cut dead blackened daisies
    • In winter, cut the stems above the soil line

Keep reading to learn how to cut back your daisies. Two pruning methods are mentioned, as well as the best times to prune. Also discussed in this post are reasons for pruning and several factors you need to observe to grow healthy African daisies. 

Summer field of variation of colored Daisies, When To Cut Back African Daisies [And How To Do That]

Why And When Should You Cut Back Your African Daisies?

With its origin in South Africa, the African daisy has over 70 species. It comes in various shapes and colors, such as white, purple, blue, red, or yellow, though some petals are multicolored. The petals can appear broad and smooth or spiky and slim. 

The African daisy is a tough plant that can tolerate drought and poor soil. However, to produce healthy stems and flowers, they need full sun and moist soils that are well-drained. They do well in the ground and in containers. 

For a neat African daisy garden, you need to prune the flowers, which should be done in the following seasons

Prune In Spring

Prune your daisy up to 3 inches tall in early spring before new leaves sprout. This helps the plant to focus on new growth. 

Prune Between Spring And Fall

Cut off wilting, dying, and dead flowers, known as deadheading, when the flowers are growing throughout the blooming season. From spring to fall is the blooming season. By doing this, you encourage the new growth of flowers. 

Prune During Summer

During mid-summer, the daisy flower becomes long and leggy. This causes them to become floppy and fall over.

When this happens, fewer flowers are produced. The lack of a thick bush full of flowers can make your garden appear untidy, and this is not what you want.

You should cut the flower stems in half to encourage new blossoms. Doing this assists the side shoots growing from the stems, making the plant bushy and thick, with new leaves and flowers.

Your daisies will look neat throughout the summer. Don’t forget to water and fertilize your plants frequently during this season. It keeps them blooming throughout summer. 

How Do You Cut Back Your African Daisies?

Summer field of variation of colors. Daisies

It is important to prune your daisies to help them grow well in spring and summer and to protect them during winter.

Your garden will be full of daisies during the blooming season, making your yard look beautiful and attractive, and your plants will be well-preserved, allowing them to bloom later in season.

Improve Growth In Summer And Spring

Pruning encourages the growth of your daisies in spring and summer. The steps below will guide you in the process: 

Cut Off Dead Flowers

At the start of spring, cut off any dead, wilting flowers using a pair of hand pruners. You can also use your fingers.

Cutting off dead flowers prevents them from producing seeds, which could lead to the growth of unhealthy flowers. This means that you'll leave the healthy flowers to grow.

Cut Back All The Stems 

After cutting the flowers, cut off all dead stems and leaves that are brittle and black or dark brown. If you notice yellow stems and leaves, prune them as well. The best length to cut back these stems is 4 inches. 

Leave The Flower Buds Intact

As you are pruning the flowers and stems, do not cut off the flower buds that grow 5 inches below the large flowers. These tiny flower buds are ¼ inch in length. 

Wait For Flowers To Grow

After pruning, you'll notice how fast your daisy flowers will grow in two to three weeks. If you don’t prune, your garden will have unattractive flowers. 

Repeat Pruning

Repeat the pruning cycle in each growing season. As mentioned earlier, you should prune when the daisies are wilting and dying and when they begin to produce seed. 

Pruning essentially cuts short the reproductive cycle of the flower. It forces the reproductive cycle to begin again.

Preparing Your Daisies For Fall And Winter

Single orange and pink African Daisy (Osteospermum) flower close-up

Pruning is good because you will have attractive daisy flowers during winter and allow new growth in spring.

Cut Half The Stem

The African daisy will experience its last bloom in early fall and will be 3 or 4 feet tall. Cut the stem in half so that the plants remain between 1.5 and 2 feet tall. This allows the flower to focus most of its energy on sustaining the leaves instead of producing seeds. 

Cut The Dead Flowers

As fall progresses, cut off all the dead daisies you see. They will be brittle, so you can bend and break the stems close to the ground.

Afterward, cut the stems 3 to 4 inches above the ground. When the stems are not cut off, the stems of the dead daisies will not be green, and the flowers look slimy and unappealing. 

Cut Daisy Stems Above Soil Line During Winter

After the first frost, prune your daisies by trimming the stems so that they are 1 to 2 inches above the soil. 

Factors To Consider When Pruning Your Daisies

Osteosperum Ecklonis or African Daisy, colorful flowers blooming in garden.

In addition to pruning, it is good to observe other factors that can help your daisies grow strong and healthy.

Sterilize Your Pruning Tools

You can find this pair of pruning shears on Amazon.

For your pruning shears to work well and to prevent rust and disease, clean them after each use. Wash the pruning shears with dish soap and water, and scrub with a wire brush if there is stubborn dirt stuck to them.

If the shears are rusted, soak them in white vinegar. Keep in mind that washing your shears will not prevent the spread of disease. Pruning can spread disease from one plant to another. Therefore it would be good to sterilize the shears.

There are different ways you can disinfect your shears. You can use ethanol or isopropyl alcohol by dipping or wiping without soaking for a specified amount of time. You can also use chlorine bleach, by mixing one-part bleach and nine parts water. 

Wear Protective Gloves

Check out this pair of gloves on Amazon.

It is advisable to wear protective gloves when gardening. Some African daisies may have tough stems that could irritate your skin. It is smart to protect yourself against any potential harm from your flowers.

Add Nutrients

For your daisies to grow healthy, add a suitable water-soluble fertilizer each month like the 6-10-4 formula. Ensure you do this from spring to fall, the growing season for African daisies.

Don’t Allow Soil To Get Too Wet

Even though the African daisy is tolerant to drought, it still needs water, but not too much. The soil should not be too wet or the root will rot. Watering the daisy every week will give it enough water. However, do not allow more than one inch of water.

Allow Daisies To Grow In Full Sunlight

African daisies grow best in direct sunlight. Though they can still grow in shade, place them or allow them to grow in full sun.

Final Words

colorful osteospermum daisy flower with water drop in the garden

Cutting back or pruning your African daisies is a sure way for them to grow strong and healthy. There are two methods of pruning your daisies mentioned in this post.

The first one encourages growth during summer and spring. The second one prepares the plant for fall and winter.

Other than pruning, there are several other factors you need to observe to ensure your daisies grow well. Two examples include allowing the plant to grow in direct sunlight and ensuring it receives the right amount of water.

You are welcome to read more of our previous posts about daisies by clicking on the following links:

When To Transplant Daisies And How To

Drought Tolerant Perennials Bloom All Summer