By Mary H. Dyer, Credentialed Garden Writer
Gerbera daisies are relatively simple to grow outdoors, but growing gerbera daisies indoors can be tricky. However, if you can provide the right growing conditions, your gerbera daisy may survive for two or three years. This article will help.
Gerbera is a genus of the family of sunflowers, Daisies and Asters - Asteraceae, with a wide distribution from Africa to Madagascar, tropical Asia and South America. Through hybridization, Gerberas are available in a massive array of colors.
Kingdom Plantae Division Magnoliophyta Class Magnoliopsida Order Asterales Family Asteraceae Subfamily Mutisioideae Genus Gerbera
The meanings of gerbera flowers stem from those attributed to the general daisy family. These meanings include innocence and purity. Daisies are also a classic symbol of beauty however, the gerbera variety holds an added meaning of cheerfulness, which stems from the assortment of colors available.
Gerberas are perennial flowering plants featuring a large capitulum with striking, 2-lipped ray florets. The capitulum on the Gerberas has the appearance of a single flower, but is actually a cluster of hundreds of individual flowers. The morphology of the flowers varies depending on their position in the capitulum of the Gerberas.
Gerberas come in various forms. Broadly, they can be put into four groups-
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Gerberas are becoming fashionable again, particularly as cut flowers. Gone are the narrow petals and insipid pale orange and salmon flowers. Available now are gerberas in vibrant new hues with broad petals in double and semi-double forms. As well as improving flowers, plant breeders have developed a range of more compact plants for the instant potted colour market.
Cultivated gerberas (Gerbera jamesonii) are derived from a wild South African daisy sometimes referred to as the Transvaal or Barberton daisy.
Gerberas are perennials and do best in full sun, in well-drained soil. They will grow in most parts of Australia but are happiest in a warm climate. In cool or moist areas plants need excellent drainage and shelter from the cold. If your soil is poorly drained, grow the plants in a raised garden bed. If you experience wet autumns and winters plant gerberas where they will keep dry during the colder months.
Gerberas are susceptible to fungal disease (sclerotium stem rot and phytophthora are two diseases which attack gerberas) so must have very well drained soils. Clean up plants by regularly removing diseased leaves and spent flower stalks. Fertilise once a month in spring and summer to encourage vigorous growth and plenty of big flowers. Reduce watering in autumn and winter.
1. From seed. Gerberas can be raised from seed planted in spring or early summer.
2. Crowns. Divide up your own gerbera clumps in late summer or autumn outside the tropics, or all year round in northern Australia.
Planting tip: When planting gerberas make sure that the crown (the part of the plant from which the new growth arises) is 1-2cm (1″) above the soil level. This will reduce the likelihood of disease such as rots which affect the crown and stems.
3. Potted plants. A wide range of gerberas should be available at your nursery, especially in warmer climates.
As cut flowers gerberas are available at florist shops most of the year. If you are growing gerberas yourself, you can pick your own flowers. Pick flowers that are fully open. As cut flowers gerberas should last 10 to 14 days.
Picking tip: Careless picking can leave behind a spot that can become infected. Instead of cutting the stem, waggle it at its base until it pulls away cleanly. To arrange the flower cut off the hairy white part on the bottom of the stem, or the flower won’t be able to absorb any water.
Arctotis Grandis also is known as the “Blue-Eyed African Daisy” has satiny-white petals with a hint of blue and a very distinct blue center.
Gerbera daisies make a beautiful addition to any garden.
Gerbera daisies are a little tricky to grow from seed, but it definitely can be done. Follow these tips for propagating and growing Gerbera daisies from seed in your garden.
Unfertilized Gerbera daisy seeds (left), and viable Gerbera daisy seeds (right).
Preparing to plant daisy seeds. Step #1: Prepare Trays: Fill trays or pots with a light seed starting medium, or make your own mix using peat moss, perlite, and vermiculite. Dampen the medium with water.
Step #2: Plant Seeds: Use a toothpick to poke a hole in the planting medium. Plant the Gerbera daisy seeds with the seed end pointing down, and the little brush part just barely at the top of the soil.
Step #3: Grow Seeds: Keep the seeds moist, but not waterlogged, and above 70° F, with eight hours or more of bright light per day. The easiest way to do this is to cover the trays with a clear plastic tent and place them indoors in a bright window or under grow lights. When the Gerbera daisy seeds germinate in two to three weeks, remove the plastic cover but keep the seedlings moist.
Gerbera daisy seedling. Step #4: Transplant Seedlings: After the Gerbera daisy seedlings have developed two sets of true leaves, you can carefully transplant the plants to larger pots.
Step #5: Harden Plants: When it’s consistently warm outside, and the Gerbera daisy plants are hardy and growing, move the pots outdoors to a protected spot for a few days to get the young plants used to the breezes and temperature shifts found outside.
Step #6: Enjoy Flowers: At this point, you can leave the daisies in their pots or plant them in the yard. Locate the plants in a spot with plenty of morning sun and a little afternoon shade to keep them from wilting. Feed the plants regularly with a balanced organic fertilizer, and keep them watered but not soggy.
Beautiful Gerbera daisy flowers can brighten up any garden.