How to plant and maintain Diascia?

Tips and tricks for taking care of your diascias

Pinks, reds, whites, oranges… diascias or diascias continue to seduce! You still need to know how to maintain them… Here are some tips and tricks for planting and maintaining your diascias.

How to plant and maintain Diascia?

Characteristics of Diascia

  • Type : perennial
  • Height : 15-40 cm
  • Color of flowers : pink, orange, purple…
  • Desired exposure : sunny or partial shade
  • Soil type : well-drained and rich, both cool and fertile
  • Foliage : evergreen to semi-evergreen
  • Maintenance : easy
  • Varieties : among around fifty species, we find Diascia personata, fetcaniensis, rigescens, barberae… 

Origins and particularities of Diascia

From the Scrofulariaceae family , Diascia comes straight from South Africa. Its semi-evergreen to evergreen foliage sometimes takes the shape of small hearts. The flowers can be creeping or covering depending on the varieties you plant. 

Able to withstand temperatures down to around -8°C , this plant can be grown in full sun. Indeed, cold winds are entirely harmful to it and dry out its flowers.

Diascia, when  planted in the ground, beautifies our gardens in the blink of an eye thanks to its numerous flowers. On a terrace or balcony, in pots or planters and even indoors, Diascia is sure to brighten up our living spaces. Also on the edge of paths, this pretty flowering plant will make people happy. Decorative appearance guaranteed!

Most popular varieties of Diascia

There are several varieties of diascia, each offering distinct characteristics in terms of size, color and shape. Here are some of the popular diascia varieties you might consider for your garden:

– Diascia ‘Diamonte’: This variety is known for its compact flowers in bright colors, including pink, red and white. It has excellent disease resistance.

– Diascia ‘Little Dancer’: ‘Little Dancer’ produces bright pink, trumpet-shaped flowers. It is characterized by its compact habit and abundant flowering.

– Diascia ‘Whisper’: This series of diascia offers a varied color palette, ranging from pink and red to white. The plants are well branched and produce abundant flowers.

– Diascia ‘Romeo’: ‘Romeo’ is a variety of diascia with compact growth, ideal for borders. Its flowers feature shades of pink, red and white.

– Diascia ‘Genta’: This series offers double flowers in different colors, including pink, red, salmon and white. ‘Genta’ is often appreciated for its continuous flowering.

– Diascia integerrima: This particular species, native to South Africa, has erect stems and pink to white tubular flowers.

– Diascia ‘Flying Colors’: This series offers a range of attractive colors, from pastel shades to brighter tones. The plants are compact and suitable for gardens and pots.

– Diascia ‘Sun Chimes’: This variety produces trumpet-shaped flowers in a range of colors, including pink, red and white. It is appreciated for its upright habit.

Planting Diascia

You can start seedling your Diascias from March , in a sheltered space (indoor, greenhouse , veranda for example). Planting takes place from March to May (in spring) and from September to October (at the beginning of autumn). Depending on the region in which you live, we advise you to wait until the end of April to plant them , to be sure that it will not freeze again.

Mixed with other flowering species, the Diascia easily lives in harmony. From May to November, you can admire its heavy production of flowers in the form of clusters and of all colors, sometimes bright, sometimes pastel  (pink, white, red, orange, etc.).

Diascia thrives in well-drained, light and fertile soil. Soil that is too heavy can lead to root rot problems, so adding organic matter can be beneficial. Although diascia tolerates some shade, it generally thrives best in full sun to partial shade. A sunny location promotes more abundant flowering.

Maintenance of the Diascias

In terms of maintenance, be sure to regularly remove faded flowers to allow new ones to appear. Water regularly and moderately so as not to drown your Diascias. When it is very hot, especially in the middle of summer, water enough in the evening so that your flowers do not dry out. From May to September, fertilizer or compost are welcome if you want a more flowery result. Bring your Diascias pots indoors in winter to prevent them from freezing.

For your Diascias in the ground, two solutions are available to you. The first is to uproot your plants to keep them sheltered (in a greenhouse, in a veranda or at home). The second solution allows you to leave them in the garden provided you cover the base of your Diascias feet with dead leaves or insulation .

Diseases and pests of Diascia

Diascia is an annual flowering plant that can be subject to certain diseases and pest attacks. Here are some common problems and natural solutions to treat them:

Diseases :

  • Downy Mildew : Downy mildew can grow in humid, warm conditions. Avoid overwatering and make sure you have good air circulation around the plants. You can also use baking soda sprays to treat mildew.
  • Root rot: Poorly drained soil can lead to root rot. Make sure the soil is well drained and avoid overwatering.
  • Rust : Rust can affect diascia, especially in humid conditions. Remove infected parts of the plant and be sure to water it at the base to prevent water from sitting on the leaves.

Pests :

  • Aphids: Aphids can attack diascia by sucking sap from the leaves. Use soapy water or neem oil sprays to kill aphids.
  • Mites : Mites can cause damage by sucking juices from leaves. Pressurized water jets can help kill mites. Neem oil is also effective.
  • Slugs and Snails: These creatures can eat the leaves of diascia. Use physical barriers like crushed eggshells or ferramol pellets to discourage slugs and snails.
  • Thrips: Thrips can damage flowers by stinging them to feed. Use neem oil sprays or soapy water to control thrips populations.

Multiplication of Diascia

Diascia can be propagated in several ways, including sowing seeds, cuttings or division.

Here’s how to proceed for each of these methods :

1- Sowing seeds:

  • Sow diascia seeds in well-drained pots or seedling trays, about 6 to 8 weeks before the expected last frost date.
  • Lightly sprinkle the seeds onto the substrate and gently press down to lightly embed them.
  • Keep the soil moist but not soggy.
  • Diascia seeds need light to germinate, so make sure you don’t cover them with soil.
  • When the seedlings have reached a sufficient size, transplant them into individual pots or directly into the garden.

2 – Cuttings:

  • Take cuttings 5 ​​to 10 cm long from healthy stems of the mother plant. Make sure the cuttings have multiple nodes.
  • Remove the bottom leaves of the cutting to expose the nodes.
  • Plant the cuttings in a light, well-draining potting mix.
  • Water lightly and place the cuttings in a bright location, but out of direct sunlight.
  • Once the cuttings have developed roots, they can be transplanted into individual pots or directly into the garden.

3 – Division:

  • Division is generally carried out on more mature plants.
  • Carefully dig up the mother plant, making sure to preserve as much of the root system as possible.
  • Divide the plant into sections, carefully separating the roots.
  • Replant each section in a suitable location, water well and monitor growth.

Diascia Companion Plants

Diascia, also known as ” Cape carnation “, is a flowering plant often used as an annual in gardens or as a houseplant. It tends to pair well with other plants that share similar requirements in terms of sun exposure, watering and soil type.

Here are some companion plant suggestions for diascia :

  1. Petunia (Petunia spp.): Petunias offer a variety of colors and textures that pair well with diascias. They also have similar full sun needs.
  2. Verbena (Verbena spp.): Verbenas are heavy-flowering plants that can create a beautiful balance of color and shape alongside diascias.
  3. Begonia (Begonia spp.): Begonias bring a variety of leaf shapes and sizes, as well as colorful flowers. Some begonias also enjoy partial shade, which can be beneficial if you are growing diascia in shadier areas.
  4. Gazania (Gazania spp.): Gazanias, with their bright flowers and gray leaves, can create an interesting contrast with diascias. They also prefer a location in full sun.
  5. Osteospermum (Osteospermum spp.): Also known as Cape daisy, osteospermum offers abundant blooms and attractive colors that coordinate well with diascia.
  6. Alyssum (Lobularia maritima): Alyssum is a covering plant that can be planted along the edges of diascias for an attractive visual effect.
  7. Impatiens (Impatiens spp.): If you are growing diascia in shadier areas, impatiens can be excellent companions. They offer a variety of bright colors and prefer shade.
  8. Perennial Flax (Linum perenne): Perennial flax, with its delicate blue flowers, can complement diascia, especially in a cottage-style garden.