All about the popular dimorphotheques

The dimorfoteca is a perennial plant

The dimorphic libraries They are very popular herbaceous plants, something that they have earned since they are very rustic and their cultivation is very simple. Because of this, although they are native to South Africa, today they can be found in a great diversity of climates. In fact, in climates that are not too cold, it is advisable to control its growth, because if it were left, there would come a time when we would have beautiful dimorcabs in the most unexpected corners of the garden.

Perfect plant to give at Christmas someone who wants to start in the care of plants, or to have on the table on the terrace.

Origin and characteristics of the dimorphic library

The flowers in the dimorfoteca are like daisies

The dimorfoteca, whose scientific name is Dimorphotheca ecklonis, It is a perennial or perennial and can reach a height of up to 1 meter., with daisy-shaped flowers with lilac, white, orange, or bicolor petals. The leaves are alternate, simple, elliptical in shape and somewhat succulent, with serrated margins and a dark green color. The stems are thin, light brown in color.

It is popularly known as Cape marigold, matacabra, polar star or Cape margarita, as well as as dimorfoteca. It is native to South Africa, and is cultivated throughout the world, especially in those places with warm or temperate climates.

Although it lives for several years, covering in a very short time that area of ​​our favorite green corner that we like so little, in cold climates it is considered a seasonal plant, as it does not resist moderate frosts. But this is not a problem because it reproduces with such extraordinary rapidity that we can collect the seeds of our own plants and sow them in spring.

What are the care it requires?

If you want to have a copy, we recommend you take care of it as follows:


Your ideal location will be where receive direct sunlight, but it can also adapt to the shade that has some hours of the day. It is recommended that, if it comes from a greenhouse, the first days we protect it from the sun, as the leaves could burn.


The dimorfoteca is a herb

Image - Wikimedia / David J. Stang

  • Yard: It lives in all types of terrain, from clay to acid. However, we will see how it grows faster in those that are fertile. That is why it is advisable, when planting it in the ground, mix garden soil with a little organic fertilizer. If we forget, it is not a problem: we can pay to the dimorfoteca throughout the growing season, that is, in spring and summer, arriving in autumn if it is a warm climate.
  • Flower pot: you can fill it with universal substrate (on sale here!).


The frequency of irrigation will depend on the climate and on whether it is in the ground or in a pot. That is why when in doubt, check the humidity, for example by inserting a thin wooden stick all the way to the bottom, or with a digital meter.

To give you an idea of ​​how often to water, tell you that usually during the summer it is watered 2 or 3 times a week, while the rest of the year it is done 1 or 2 times a week.

If you have it on the ground, from the second year on, you can space out the waterings, as long as at least 300 liters per square meter fall per year.


During the warm months of the year it will be interesting to subscribe to the dimorfoteca from time to time, for example, once every 15 or 30 days. Use for it Organic fertilizers, such as guano or algae extract, following the indications specified on the product packaging.


Can be multiplied by seeds and cuttings in spring or summer:


  1. First, fill in a hotbed -pots, seedling trays, yogurt containers, ... - with universal substrate.
  2. Then water.
  3. Next, place the seeds on the surface of the substrate and cover them with a thin layer of soil.
  4. Finally, put the seedbed outside, in semi-shade, and keep the substrate moist (but not flooded).

So will germinate in about 7 to 10 days.


To get new copies faster, you can cut a stem without flowers of about 10 centimeters, impregnate its base with homemade rooting agents and plant it (not nail it) in a pot with vermiculite previously moistened.

Put it in semi-shade, and you will see how it emits its own roots in about 15 to 20 days.

Plagues and diseases

It is quite resistant, but can be attacked by mealybugs. If you see any, you can remove them with a brush or treat them with anti-mealybugs or diatomaceous earth.

Pruning the dimorphic library

The flowers in the dimorfoteca are like daisies

Image - Flickr / Luca Melette

Since it grows so fast, and spreads so much, it is often necessary to trim its stems to keep it as we want. So if you see that it's growing too big do not hesitate to prune its stems whatever you consider.

It tolerates pruning very well, even regrowing after a drastic pruning in which it is left with very short stems. Of course, use pruning shears previously disinfected with pharmacy alcohol, and This task should be done in early spring.

It is not necessary to prune in winter, as it could suffer damage especially if there is frost.

Planting or transplanting time

In spring.


Resists up to -5ºC.

And you, do you have at home?

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  1.   veronica said

    hello .. dimorphic libraries can be pruned at any time? They have grown a lot but upwards ... what can I do to cover more space? Thank you

    1.    Monica Sanchez said

      Hello Veronica.
      Yes, they can be pruned when needed 🙂. You can cut it all you consider, for example, if it is about 40cm high, you can leave it with 20cm. In this way, you force it to take out new stems.
      Use scissors previously disinfected with pharmacy alcohol to avoid infections.
      A greeting.

  2.   Mari said

    Hello, what is the type of irrigation? And how do I get the seed out of it?

    1.    Monica Sanchez said

      Hi Mari.
      Dimorphic libraries are watered from above (that is, by watering the land) about 3 times a week.
      Regarding your last question, you have to let the flowers wither.
      Once they do, you will be able to see their seeds, which look like this:

      The image is from danmihele.
      A greeting.

  3.   Laura said

    Hello Monica, with these frosts that we are having in the North, I see that the dimorfotecas of my garden are completely flat and without flowers ... is it possible that with a pruning at the beginning of spring they will be reborn? Or am I thinking better of replacing them with new copies?

    Thank you very much for the help

    1.    Monica Sanchez said

      Hello Laura.
      Dimorphic libraries are more resistant than they appear. In spring give them a drastic pruning and it is very likely that they will sprout again.
      A greeting.

  4.   Rosario Slim said

    Hello, a few weeks ago I got a dimorfoteca, it was very pretty and with a couple of flowers, after the flowers wilted I cut them, watered it every two days and sometimes one day if and one day not, it touched the sun a couple hours. A few days ago I noticed that despite watering it, it was wilting, already cut the driest stems and it has not recovered, it is worth mentioning that the soil is damp. Is there anything I can do to revive it?

    1.    Monica Sanchez said

      Hello Rosario.
      When you water, does the water run out of the drainage holes quickly? How is the substrate, does it feel hard and very compacted? If so, it is likely that the liquid will not moisten the soil, so it would be advisable to take the pot and place it in a bucket with water so that it soaks well.

      In the event that you have a plate underneath, you must remove the excess water ten minutes after watering to prevent the roots from rotting.

      And if it's nothing like that, please write to us again and we'll find a solution 🙂

      A greeting.

  5.   Jimena said

    Hello Monica! My question is, from where do I have to cut the dimorfoteca? I want to prune it because it is affecting my other plants

    1.    Monica Sanchez said

      Hello Jimena.
      From wherever you want 🙂. Seriously, dimorphic is a very hardy plant that will sprout again even if it runs out of leaves (although leaving it 'peeled' is of course not recommended).
      Of course, the scissors have to be previously disinfected with pharmacy alcohol.
      A greeting.

  6.   Alice said

    Hello I have a dimorfoteca but it does not bloom, I have it planted in a planter with other plants, it is green. Could it be that it is not flowering time or because it does not receive much sun?

    1.    Monica Sanchez said

      Hi Alicia.
      Dimorphic libraries need sun and heat to flourish. If you have it in semi-shadow it can cost you a lot.
      A greeting.

  7.   zore said

    hello, how long is the life time of the dimorfoteca?

    1.    Monica Sanchez said

      Hello zhore.
      I can't tell you for sure, but it lasts for several years: 7-8, maybe 10.
      A greeting.


    I bought two dimorphic libraries from the nursery and both have dried up. I thought I had put a lot of water on the first one, then I put a lot less on the second. They both dried up. A third is in the same process, all falling and withering away.

    1.    Monica Sanchez said

      Hello Maria Magdalena.

      Do you have it in the sun or in the shade? And how often do you water it?

      This is a plant that has to be put in full sun, but if it was in the shade before, you have to get used to it, since otherwise it will burn. It can also be in semi-shade.

      As soon as you buy it, it is advisable to plant it in another somewhat larger pot -with holes in the base- with universal substrate, so that it can grow well. If you have a plate underneath, you must remove the water that is left after each irrigation.


  9.   laura said

    facing the sea in punta del este with winds can you live?

    1.    Monica Sanchez said

      Hello Laura.

      Here in Mallorca (Balearic Islands, Spain), it is cultivated a lot on the coast and grows very well. I don't think you have problems.


  10.   María Luisa said

    I have several but the lower leaves of the stem always begin to dry while the upper leaves turn green. When I have mentioned them, my plants have dried up. I am not doing something right.
    I have them in planters on the east facing terrace

    1.    Monica Sanchez said

      Hello Maria Luisa.

      So that this does not happen, it is advisable to prune the dimorfotheques in spring. If you have a height of, for example, 30cm, then your thing would be to trim the stems by 5cm. In this way, it is possible to remove more low stems and consequently more leaves.