Publication Date


Advisor(s) - Committee Chair

James Martin, James Worthington, David Coffey

Degree Program

Department of Agriculture

Degree Type

Master of Science


Gazania splendens is a tender, herbaceous perennial that belongs to the Compositae family. The leaves are green and glabrous above, white tomentose beneath, toothed, simple and/or pinnatifid, 4”-6” long tapering to a winged petiole, lanceolate to obovate-lanceolate, and arranged in a basal clump. The flower heads are large, showy, 2”-3” in diameter, and range in color from white to yellow, orange, pink, purple, ruby, and bronze with a dark ring or spot at the base of most.

Twelve cultivars of Gazania splendens were to be evaluated to determine which would perform the best under Kentucky conditions. A seed germination test was conducted to check the environmental conditions thought to give the best germination rate. Physical characteristics were observed for each cultivar throughout the growing season.

A seed germination test was conducted using seed from ‘Sundance Red’ and ‘Sundance Striped.’ The seeds were tested at both 15.5°C and 22°C in light and dark conditions. The highest percentage of seeds germinated at 22°C in the dark.

Seed from each cultivar was sown in flats containing Jiffy Mix Plus media, watered, covered with black plastic and white Styrofoam trays, and put in the greenhouse for germination. The seedlings were transplanted into cell packs containing Sunshine Mix media. ‘Sundance Red’ had a very low germination percentage and was the only cultivar not transplanted. The plants were later planted in beds at the Western Kentucky University Farm.

Physical characteristics were evaluated throughout the growing season. In the evaluation, monthly flower counts were taken, flower stem stiffness was measured, plant height was measured, plant width was measured, foliage characteristics were noted, and spent flower heads and dead leaves were observed. The flowers were also observed throughout the growing season to evaluate their opening and closing habits. This characteristic is thought to be in response to the amount of sunlight the plant receives.

From the evaluation, it was found that ‘Grandiflora Mixture,’ ‘Golden Margarita,’ ‘Ministar Yellow,’ ‘Sundance Yellow,’ and ‘Ministar Mixture’ were the best cultivars for Kentucky. These cultivars exhibited abundant flowers, strong flower stems, good foliage characteristics, and spent flower heads and dead leaves went unnoticed throughout the growing season.


Agriculture | Horticulture | Life Sciences | Plant Sciences