The Gerbera Daisy (a.k.a. Transvaal daisy, Gerber daisy, African daisy or Barberton daisy – Gerbera jamesonii) from the Asteraceae family are popular indoor and outdoor South African floral plants.
The genus was named Gerbera by Dutchman Jan Frederic Gronovius in 1737 in honor of the German medical doctor Traugott Gerber. [source]
“Gerberas” bring cheer to any setting with their bright and colorful Daisy-like flowers. These attractive plants come in a wide variety of colors including white, yellow, orange, red and salmon.
Blooms vary in size, ranging from two inches to five inches across. For even greater variety, there are single, double and multiple petal versions of all colors.
Just as the Gerbera bloom varies in flower shape and size and their color, they also vary in ease of care.
Gerbera care on more compact types is generally easier to cultivate than caring for taller, more rangy types. Why? Because shorter and more compact plants have stronger flower stems.
Additionally, when growing gerbera daisy in pots the more compact plants are a bit more versatile in that they do well both indoors as container plants and outdoors in flowerbeds or containers.
How Do You Grow A Gerbera Daisy Plant?
It is inexpensive and easy to buy Gerbera seedlings at your local nursery, but it is even less expensive to buy seeds and cultivate your own. Alternately, you can grow the Gerbera plant by division.
If you decide you want to start your own Gerbera Daisies from seed, be advised that you may end up with surprise daisies.
Seed is not always accurately labeled. Additionally, you cannot save the seed from one season to the next.
You must purchase it, take it right home and plant it immediately. It will lose its viability very quickly after you open the package.
It’s quite a bit easier to grow these daisies from divided plants or from seedlings than from seed.
When you do this, you can be absolutely certain of the type of daisy you are getting. Additionally, it’s quite simple to lift and divide the crowns of older plants in springtime.
When you do this, you not only know what type of plant you’re getting, you also have some idea of the past performance of the plant.
Is The Gerbera Daisy An Annual or Perennial?
We often get this question on gerberas – “Are Gerbera Daisies Annuals or Perennials?” The answer to that question is – it depends!
If you live in USDA hardiness zones 8 – 11 the gerbera is considered a perennial and you can expect the plant to rebloom every year.
If your home is located in a colder region the gerbera is grown as an annual.
Planting Your Gerbera Daisies
These colorful daisies enjoy a sandy well-drained soil and full exposure to the sun. When planting your seedlings or divided plants, be sure to add some compost to boost growth and encourage flowering.
If you are planting from seed, use a propagation mix that provides good drainage. Place your gerbera flower seed in pots in a bright, but indirect light.
Because these hearty little spots of color do hail from South Africa, they are used to hot dry weather. For this reason, they fall prey easily to fungal diseases.
Interestingly, some of the older varieties are less susceptible to this problem. With either older or newer varieties, proper planting and judicious watering are very important to prevent crown rot.
Fungicidal sprays are generally not effective.
When planting from divided plants, be sure to avoid crown rot. This is a common problem that is caused by planting the divided plants too close together and/or too deeply and watering too much.
Plant only as deeply as the original soil level, leave plenty of airspace on all sides and above and mulch lightly and in such a way that the mulch does not obscure the crown.
Related Reading: Learn about Bellis perennis (English daisy)
Tips For Successful Gerbera Daisy Care Outdoors
Watering – Water only in the morning because this will give the plants leaves a chance to dry in the light of day. This greatly reduces problems with fungal diseases and rot.
Deeply watering with a soaker hose or a hose with a light trickle once weekly is advised. In this way, you can avoid getting leaves damp at all.
Lighting – Areas with full direct sunlight to partial shade are best for growing and caring for these precious plants.
Fertilizer – Provide your Gerbera Daisies with a high-quality micronutrient-rich liquid plant fertilizer. Fish emulsion and seaweed are both well advised.
Disease – The fungal disease powdery mildew can coat leaves, petioles and the Gerbera flower heads, with a white felty or powdery coating. Keep plants well-spaced; provide air circulation.
Tips On Growing Gerbera Daisies As Houseplants
Planting in pots or containers is advised if you live in an area that has heavy soil or that is very humid.
There are many advantages to container gardening. It gives you the option of controlling all elements of the environment surrounding your plants.
The vigorous, colorful and long-lasting blooms produced by Gerbera Daisies make these plants a showy and decorative choice indoors.
In addition to having very attractive blooms, the lush foliage of these South African plants is also quite attractive.
While growing Gerbera Daisies outdoors is really very simple, growing them inside can be quite a challenge.
Many people receive these cheery plants as potted gifts. They are often considered a temporary sort of plant to be enjoyed briefly and tossed aside, but this doesn’t have to be the case.
If you are able to provide them with the proper growing conditions, you can keep your Gerbera Daisy lively and beautiful for several years.
Establish A Consistent, Nurturing Environment
The key to providing the proper environment for indoor Gerbera is getting the temperature and the lighting just right. Areas with full to partial sun are best for growing and caring for these precious plants.
The temperature should be moderate and consistent, and light should be bright but not direct.
1. LIGHT: If you place your Gerber Daisies in a sunny window, it may become too hot and the leaves may be scorched. On the other hand, if you don’t provide enough light you will have a nice leafy plant but no blooms.
The best kind of lighting for indoor Gerbera is morning sunlight with indirect light in the afternoon.
If keeping your Gerbera in indirect lighting throughout the day, you must be sure that this light is ample. Use overhead lights and/or lamps to supplement natural light.
Providing ample lighting is especially important during the winter months. A moderate, slightly cool temperature is preferred, and you should protect your indoor Gerbera against temperatures over 70 degrees Fahrenheit.
2. HYDRATION: Water judiciously just as you would with outdoor daisies. Poke your finger into the soil. If it feels dry through the first inch of soil, water deeply.
Allow thorough drainage before putting the pot back into its drip tray or saucer. Never allow your Gerbera Daisy to stand in water as this will cause root rot.
Just as with outdoor Gerbera’s, take care to keep the leaves dry. Don’t water too much in the winter, and always keep an eye on the soil.
It should never be soggy, and it should never be bone dry. Ideally, it should stay lightly moist. Water only when the top inch becomes dry.
3. FOOD: Indoor Gerbera does best with a fertilizer formulated for blooming plants. Follow package instructions for the size of your containers.
Fertilize as directed in the spring and summer. In the fall and winter stop fertilizing.
4. TRIMMING: When your plant is blooming, watch the blooms carefully and deadhead as soon as they start to wilt.
This will help stimulate more blooms and also keep your plant tidy and compact. Whenever there is dead foliage, be sure to remove or cut it promptly to keep the plant clean.
5. REPOTTING: If your Gerbera is doing very well, it will multiply and need to be divided. When it begins to look crowded, you can feel safe repotting it in any season.
It can be quite challenging to cultivate Gerbera Daisies, but the large cheerful blooms make all your effort worthwhile.
They bring delightful color to your yard in the spring and summer and can brighten your home all year round.
When you become proficient in their cultivation, you can enjoy sharing with your friends and relations. A potted Gerbera Daisy flower is the perfect gift for any occasion!