This annual plant introduced to Europe from South Africa can be found commercially under the name Blue Chamomile. In fact, this is not a chamomile, but felicia tender(Felicia tenella), which also belongs to the Aster family, but noticeably differs from it in appearance. It is more like the daisy we know very well, only noticeably taller and more bushy.
Felicia has a small stem, up to 25 cm, moreover, it branches strongly, so the plant looks voluminous, and can grow up to 50 cm wide. The plant is covered with small bluish-green leaves.
Numerous inflorescences-baskets, like stars, are scattered on a soft cushion of leaves. The diameter of the inflorescences is 2–5 cm. The ligulate flowers are narrow, like rays, the color is blue, with a faint lilac tint. The tubular flowers in the center of the basket are yellow.
Delightful blue to purple flowers with a yellow center appear from mid-summer to late autumn.
If you decide to decorate your garden with this annual plant, then choose fertile soils in sunny areas. Felicia prefers saturated, diffused light without direct sunlight, so she should be specially protected from the scorching midday sun.
Felicia does not tolerate drought well, therefore, in the midst of the summer heat, the plant needs watering, and it is relatively tolerant to the cold.
Felicia is propagated by seeds sown in early spring directly into open ground, although the seedling method of cultivation is also good for it. In 1-2 weeks after sowing the seeds, seedlings appear, and by the end of June flowering begins, abundant and long - until late autumn.
To increase the bushiness of plants, experienced growers are advised to pinch the ends of the shoots, excluding those that already have buds.
In a dry hot summer, you need to water the plants as the soil dries up, then the flowering will be especially abundant and longer. It is advisable to do this even when the soil is a little dry.
The peculiarity of felicia is that you will not see its flowers in cloudy weather. But in the sun they open up and remain in this state even at night.
In summer cottages and garden plots, felicia is planted on rocky hills, used to create mixborders, curbs along the path and in small groups.
Due to the rich shade of the inflorescences, it is beautifully combined with yellow-orange flowers (calendula, marigolds) or white (various chamomile, gypsophila). Looks very good when planted in wide containers.
"Ural gardener", No. 11, 2015