Spring in Texas comes in fits and spurts, interspersed with late arctic
blasts and unpredictable weather. But it takes only a day or two of
60-degree weather and some sunshine, and every Texas gardener gets the
itch to start working in the yard. Invariably, we just have plant
something! Every one of us knows that there is going to be another
frost, but that doesn’t stop us from heading to the nurseries in droves
with our credit cards out and our trowels at the ready.
We get to the nursery, and what do we buy? It’s too early for
lantana and impatiens; they won’t even survive a 40-degree night -- and
it’s really too late to be planting pansies or violas. So what do we
bring home? There’s the old standby geranium, but we want something new
and bright that will stand up to cooler weather and last until June.
Well, fellow gardeners, I have a new early spring plant for you:
‘Voltage Yellow’ African daisy.
This luminescent, daffodil-yellow daisy is so bright it practically
glows -- perfect for killing the winter doldrums. Osteospermums,
commonly called African daisies, have been around for years and are very
common on the West Coast. ‘Voltage Yellow’ is one of the first
super-vigorous, seed-grown varieties. This variety has excelled in our
Dallas Arboretum Trial Garden for early spring color, winning our
“Arboretum Approved” status. The plants grow quickly and flower
continuously. ‘Voltage Yellow’ loves the cooler weather and bright days
of spring, but like other early spring garden plants, it just can’t take
our super hot days of summer. We’ve found that it will last until mid-
to late June most years, and at that point, it’s time for a replacement.
‘Voltage Yellow’ does equally well planted solidly in color beds or
in containers. However you use it, make sure the soil is well drained.
Heavy spring rains can saturate the soil, and this plant does not like
to sit with wet feet. I prefer using this glowing yellow flower planted
solo; it is such a bright color that it will overpower other plants.
‘Voltage Yellow’ is easy to grow as long as it has full sun and a
constant supply of nutrients, so feed it heavily.
About the author: Jimmy Turner is the senior
director of gardens at the Dallas Arboretum. Visit
http://www.dallasplanttrials.org/ for more information on his trials