Although Gerbera [GER-ber-a] is a genus native to the tropical regions of Asia, South America, and Africa, these days Gerbera daisies are grown and used commercially all over the world.
The plant was named after botanist Traugott Gerber.
Interestingly enough, there seems to be no relation between Traugott Gerber and any of the regions to which Gerbera daisies are native.
The botanist and doctor spent his entire life in Moscow, which makes naming such a faraway flower after him somewhat of a mystery.
Gerbera or Gerbera daisy is also known as Transvaal daisy, Barberton daisy, or African daisy.
The Gerbera genus contains 40 species although it used to have a lot more under its belt.
Various species have since been moved to other genera.
Growing The Gerbera Plant
Gerbera daisies are both perennial and annual plants.
This is because its growth is highly dependent on its environment.
In colder regions, Gerbera daisies grow once a year, but in USDA Plant Hardiness Zones 8 – 11, they rebloom every year.
The flower heads can grow up to 5” in diameter.
And the stem varies greatly in length depending on the species.
Gerbera daisies are fragrant but not overly so.
You may not notice it outdoors, but you will certainly notice it from cut flowers.
The flowers need moist soil but not too soggy.
A daily light watering is required for the plants to maintain their health.
Direct sunlight is not a problem and recommended.
However, too much sunlight can cause scorching.
Even outdoor Gerbera daisies tend to struggle in temperatures above 70° degrees Fahrenheit (21° C).
Rich soil is needed to promote consistent blooming and plant health.
However, there’s rarely a need to add nutrients to outdoor Gerbera flowers unless they’re young and freshly planted.
Grooming is also important.
Not only because it helps keep infestations at bay but also because these flowers suffer from overcrowding and need proper air circulation.
Dead foliage and wilted blooms should be cut frequently.
How To Propagate
Gerbera daisies are propagated by seeds or seedlings.
Both methods yield the same results eventually, but using the seeds tends to be a cheaper option.
It’s also worth noting the seedlings are only viable for a short time.
Caring For The Plant
Taking care of the plant starts with a proper arrangement.
Leave enough room between them to avoid having to do extra maintenance work.
Also, make sure to water only in the morning so the soil dries out naturally by nightfall.
Gerbera daisies need plenty of nutrients.
You want to look for rich plant fertilizer with fish or seaweed-based micronutrients.
Keep an eye out for pests and diseases as Gerbera daisies are known to attract plenty of insects.
They’re also sensitive, so daily checkups are required.
Pests, Diseases, Or Problems The Plant Encounters
While not exactly hard to take care of, Gerbera daisies are viewed as high-maintenance.
Insect infestation is a common problem.
Leaf miners like small yellow flies are attracted to the plant and puncture the leaves to consume the sap.
Caterpillars are also a common problem, as are cutworms.
Various diseases plague the plants and mold develops easily if the plants are overwatered or planted in close proximity to each other.
Insecticide soap is a must if you have a lot of Gerbera daisies in your garden.
Following the recommended watering habits is important if you want to prevent mold and mildew from developing.
Tips, Tricks, And Suggestions About The Plant
Replanting Gerbera daisies every two years is very important.
It helps keep the plant healthy and prevents the crown from sinking into the ground, which is a sure way of encouraging root rot.
Cutting off diseased or infested leaves is a must; so is using insecticide soap as soon as possible as it kills pests on contact.
Regular use is not detrimental to the plant in any way but rather recommended as a precaution.
Keep Gerbera daisies between 12” – 18” inches apart from each other.
This allows for good air circulation and proper root development.
It also helps prevent the spread of disease and infestation to all your daisies.
Best Ways To Use In Design – Indoors Or Outdoors
Gerbera daisies are rarely bought for indoor use.
Commercially they’re used as cut plants for flower arrangements similar to roses, carnations, or tulips.
Because of this, they have a very short lifespan.
Even potted daisies are considered temporary houseplants.
They are also used in landscaping even though they don’t bloom all year long.
The color variety of the many species of Gerbera can help you create an eye-catching garden as well as give you something homegrown to cut and present as a gift.
However, due to the strict restrictions regarding separating individual stems, using just Gerbera daisies may not be enough for complex landscaping projects.
Mix them with other flowers and ornamental plants if you want to escape monotony.
When you’re buying seedlings, you want to plant them as soon as possible.
Also, if you don’t enjoy tending to your garden too often, then shorter species of Gerbera are recommended as they have fewer stems and are less demanding.
If you’re looking to get seedlings or seeds, most nursery or garden supply stores will have them.
Landscaping firms should also be able to supply and plant Gerbera on demand due to the massive popularity of the plant.
What Are The Most Popular Gerbera Species And Varieties?
Gerbera hybrida or the Orange Gerbera daisy is one of the most popular species.
It is a cross between two South African Gerbera species and features very bright petals, slightly more elongated than those of other Gerbera species.
Another interesting variety is the Orange Spider Gerbera which is also a cross.
It has pointed petals and light orange color.
The petals almost look glossy and given their narrowness, and they’re certain to make an impact in any cut floral arrangement or landscaping project.
Although mostly used as cut decorative plants, Gerbera daisies can brighten up any garden if the gardener has the skills and patience to take care of them.
The plants are high maintenance but cheap to get, and they make excellent perennial ornamental flowers as long as the climate is suitable.