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How to Grow the Beautiful Gerbera Daisies

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Gerbera Daisies: Plant Care & Growing Guide

Gerbera daisies are so brightly colored that it sometimes makes you wonder if they are real. The Gerbera flower belongs to the aster family, along with sunflowers (Asteraceae), and is native to South Africa.

However, the Gerbera daisies we see today are the result of hybridization techniques that produce the large, daisy-like flowers commonly seen. cut into bouquets. Gerbera daisies can be grown from seed outdoors in containers and garden beds, but they are not frost resistant.

The large flower heads of these daisies have ray-shaped petals around a central disk of tiny green or black flowers. There are four different kinds of Gerbera: a single flower, a semi-double flower, a double flower, and a spider flower.

Each class delimits the number, position, and type of petals. The leaves of the plant are lobed or pinnate and often toothed.

Botanical NameGerbera jamesonii
Common NameGerber, Gerbera, Transvaal daisy, African daisy, and Barberton daisy
Plant TypeHerbaceous  perennial
Mature Size10 to 18 inches tall with a spread of 1 to 2 feet
Sun ExposureFull sun to partial shade
Soil TypeRich and moist
Soil pH5.5 to 6.5
Bloom TimeSummer through fall
Flower ColorPale pastels of yellow and pink to bold orange and red
Hardiness Zones8 through 11
Native AreaSouth Africa

How to Grow Gerbera Daisies

Gerbera daisies are sold as starters that can be placed directly on a garden bed, but most varieties can also be easily grown from seed. However, they develop slowly from seed, making this inexpensive option viable only in warmer climates.

  1. Begin sowing indoors approximately 12-18 weeks before the last frost date. Sow in peat or paper pots, as the Gerbera does not like its roots to be disturbed by transplanting.
  2. Press the seeds into the soil mix rather than burying them underneath, as they need light to germinate.
  3. Cover the container with plastic to help keep exposed soil and seeds moist.
  4. Place the planted seeds in a warm, sunny location (70 to 75 degrees Fahrenheit) and allow two to four weeks for them to germinate.
  5. Transplant your seedlings outdoors after all danger of frost has passed. Choose a place with good drainage and good light exposure.
  6. Plant the seedlings in the soil so that the crown is 1/2 inch above the soil line. Or, if you plan to bring the daisies indoors for the winter, just sink a pot into the ground and then remove it. This will be less bothersome for the roots.
  7. Deadhead spends flowers to keep the plant on display. If your plants get thick, remove some of the clustered center leaves to let in more light.

Light

Gerbera daisies require full sun or partial shade, but they don't like intense heat. That said, allow morning sun in warmer areas and full sun in colder climates. Try not to plant Gerbera near a foundation or stone wall that reflects heat back to the plant.

Soil

Start your Gerbera daisy bed with rich soil, rich in organic matter. Gerbera does best in slightly acidic soils with a pH of 5.5 to 6.5. Levels above this can cause chlorosis, which shows up as yellow streaks on the leaves. If the pH is too low, blackheads or spots will appear on the leaves.

Water

Gerbera daisies need regular watering at about 1 inch per week. Water only when the soil is dry, an inch or two below the surface. These daisies may need more frequent watering when they are first established from seed and during hot and dry spells.

Temperature and humidity

Gerbera daisies grow best in USDA plant hardiness zones 8-11 (though they need winter protection in zone 8, where most gardeners grow them as annuals or in pots).

The flowers prefer a cooler winter temperature of around 45 to 50 degrees Fahrenheit and strong, bright sun. Do not overwater this plant during the winter, as the overwintering plants are dormant and only need light watering once a month during this phase.

Fertilizer

The amount of fertilizer your Gerbera needs depends on the quality of your soil. To keep it blooming throughout the summer, monthly feeding with water-soluble chemical fertilizer or the addition of organic compounds around the roots is recommended.

Varieties of Gerber Daisies

Gerbera jamesonii is the most common species cultivated in North America. You can buy seeds in individual colors, or in different combinations, in the Jaguar variety. Gerber minis are also becoming more and more popular.

They come in a nice selection of colors and can be grown from seed. Purchasing plants as seedlings allows for greater selection, as gerbera breeding is done through tissue culture.

Look for Gerbera Spider daisies with bright green leaves and pale yellow flowers, or go for a variegated red or yellow Lalbagh for a showy flower hybrid.

Common Pests and Diseases

Aphids, whiteflies, spider mites, and thrips feed on Gerber leaves. They are attracted to stressed plants, so be sure to keep your plants in good health and monitor them regularly for signs of problems.

Small populations can be removed with a strong jet of water and large populations can be controlled with insecticidal soap or natural essential oils such as neem.

Miners can also infest the leaves. Remove any damaged sheets that show the telltale sign of tunnels. Mold, crown and root rot can affect plants when their soil is continuously moist. Let the soil dry out between waterings, but don't leave them without water for so long that they wilt and become stressed.

Landscape Uses

The striking colors of Gerbera daisies should be carefully integrated into flower beds with subtle colors. They work best in contrast to simple plants with delicate white or light flowers and airy foliage.

Calibrachoa and Diascia in complementary colors make a good contrast. To bring out the bold colors, pair Gerbera daisies with yellow foliage plants like Hakonechloa macra short grass. Small or pointed blue flowers, such as those found in sage and lobelia, also enhance the boldness of Gerber daisies.

And, of course, you can always grow gerberas on your own. They easily fill a pot for a colorful statement.

Cut the Gerbera daisies when the flowers are fully open, but the center remains firm. The rods will receive as much water as you give them, but too much water will shorten the display time.

Place them in 1 inch of water and add more as needed. If the base of the stem begins to discolor, make a new cut at an angle.

Enjoy This Video Tutorial About Planting Flowers

Source: Hallmark Channel

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