Avalanche – a summer snowstorm

Osteospermum Avalanche White Sun Daisy Plant Select

I have always enjoyed the simple yet elegantly cheery disposition of Osteospermum. An increasingly popular bedding plant, sun daisies have daisy-like flowers that open wide in the sun with a lovely dark center, or eye, which contrasts with the white, pink or purple petals. I have used them in my containers but was never confident they were vigorous enough to survive my garden’s heavy clay soil. In the spring of 2010 I received a flat of Osteospermum ‘Avalanche’PP 22,705 to try in the new Darlene Radichel Plant Select® Garden at Denver Botanic Gardens. When planted at the end of May, each plant was quite small, just about 2” in diameter.

I had heard many good things about this pure-white blooming sun daisy and since my expectations were high I was a little wary of disappointment. This variety was given to Panayoti Kelaidis, Director of Outreach and Senior Curator at Denver Botanic Gardens, by Austrian Fritz Kunert. It was said to be reliably hardy, have more disease resistance, and bloom longer and more abundantly than other hardy Osteospermum. It seemed to be promising a veritable avalanche of white blossoms. In spite of my skepticism, I was extremely pleased to observe those small starts develop strongly and consistently until by early July, a mere 30 days later, they had easily doubled in size and boasted a dozen pure white blooms/buds each. Ultimately, by fall, they were five times bigger and had never really stopped blooming. All of this with very little care – no deadheading, no fertilizers – just a sunny spot and regular watering.

Diascia Coral Canyon® would accompany Osteospermum ‘Avalanche’PP 22,705 well as it rivals it for continuous bloom and adaptability. Penstemon mensarum’s brilliant blue spikes would be a stunning contrast in both color and structure. And Callirhoe involucrata’s wine-red flowers trailing amongst the Osteospermum mounds would provide a brilliant background to set off those pure white flowers.

I think I have found the Osteospermum that can tackle my unamended garden soil!

View the plant profile here. Or watch the video here.

Avalanche White Sun Daisy (Osteospermum ‘Avalanche’PP 22,705)
Width: 24″+
Blooms: cool white blossoms, April to late summer
Sun: Full sun to partial shade
Soil Moisture: Moderate to xeric
Hardiness: USDA zones 4-9 (up to 9000’)
Culture: Clay, loam, or sandy soil

Thanks to Sonya Anderson, Denver Botanic Gardens, for writing this piece.

6 responses to “Avalanche – a summer snowstorm”

  1. Alicia says:

    We love this plant also. It performed well last summer but this summer seems to have died. The plant never greened up (late snowfalls?) but did get blooms, then suddenly everything turned brown and appears to have died. Not sure what went wrong. It’s was in a clay/amended soil, planted on a slope. Full sun. Montrose, Colorado

    • Ross Shrigley says:

      Ouch and bummer. Not sure what exactly why it died so quickly this spring. I do know that it loves well drained soil and will spread in it easily. Were the amendments used just organic media? Try mixing in sand into the area. Avalanche does like being on a slope.

  2. Ryan H says:

    Best way to trim after winter? A lot of the leaves are brown mix with green ones. Can these be cut to the ground in early Spring like other daisies?

    • Ross Shrigley-Plant Select says:

      You’ve probably found that new green leaves are emerging out from under the brown ones. The best way to clean this plant up is to use a leaf rake and lightly brush out the brown leaves. Enjoy! This is a great plant!

  3. Carol Siebring says:

    how do you care for the runners from these plants. They seem to self root but should I cut the runner loose from the mother plant? Is there anything else I should do to care for the runners?

    • Ross Shrigley-Plant Select says:

      These are not typical daisies. They shouldn’t be running on you for there to be an issue. Check the identity of the plant.

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