Characterized by large flowering heads that closely resemble those of sunflowers, gerbera daisies come in a vibrant rainbow of colors. Bright pink, snow white, sunny yellow and ruby red are just a few of the gorgeous colors that these happy flowers boast. The gerbera currently ranks as the fifth most popular flower in the world behind roses, carnations, chrysanthemums and tulips. Sending these gerbera daisies is the perfect way to brighten someone’s day.
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Gerbera Daisy Overview
Gerbera is the name for a breed of colorful daisies, which also are known as gerber or transvaal daisies. They have satin-looking petals that surround a distinct center. A gerbera daisy bloom can measure as wide as four or five inches across, and the plant naturally grows low to the ground in a pile of lush green leaves. The gerbera daisy was discovered in 1884 near Barberton, South Africa, by Scotsman Robert Jameson. Gerbera daisies are indigenous to South Africa, where they grow perennially.
Breeding programs that began in England in 1890 enhanced the flower’s quality and color variations. The gerbera daisy’s popularity soon traveled to growers in the Netherlands which, along with Columbia, is one of the primary distributors of the flower’s cut version today.
Gerbera Daisy Meaning
The meaning stems from the general daisy family and stands for innocence and purity, as well as being a classic symbol of beauty. However, the gerbera variety holds an added meaning of cheerfulness, which is attributed to the numerous colors. They are believed to lessen everyday stressors.
The gerbera variety holds an added meaning of cheerfulness, which is attributed to their perky variety of colors. An assorted bouquet of gerbera daisies can quickly lift the spirit and are an ideal way to brighten someone’s day.
How to Grow Gerbera Daisies
Starting the growing process of your gerbera daisies is best in early spring. Gerbera daisies make for a wonderful plant in the garden or as a houseplant. You’ll always want to start with growing the seeds indoors and then transplanting them outside (if that’s your plan) in late spring or early summer. It’s also best to start growing the seeds indoors, then move the gerberas to grow outdoors. If you want to pot the gerbera daisies indoors, wait till they reach full maturity outdoors.
Germinating Gerbera Daisy Seeds
The first step is to fill a seed tray with seed starting mix (soilless potting mix) which is ideal for germinating seeds.
Once the tray is filled, mist water with a spray bottle to moisten each section of the tray.
Now, use a pencil to poke a ¼ inch hole in the center of the soil in each section of the tray.
Place a seed in each hole with the pointed end facing down and the top of the seed just below the soil line. Pack a little soil to cover the top of the seed.
Then, water the seeds by misting with a spray bottle.
Lastly, cover the tray with plastic wrap and place the tray somewhere bright for eight hours. Then set in an indirect sunny spot. Leave the plastic wrap on until the seeds have sprouted in two to three weeks.
Transplanting Gerbera Daisy Outdoors
The first step is to make sure the daisies sprout with two sets of leaves, which can take 15-30 days. Once this happens, make sure that any potential frost threat has passed. Pick a place with bright morning sun and afternoon shade for the baby gerberas.
Next, for the chosen location, amend the soil with compost.
Now, use your hand to dig holes that are large enough for the gerbera’s root ball. The holes should be spaced about 12 to 18 inches apart.
Place the baby gerberas into the soil by gently removing the seedlings from the trays and placing them into the holes. Cover the root balls with soil and pack firmly.
Lastly, water the soil deeply and avoid getting the leaves wet.
Potting a Gerbera Daisy Indoors
The first step is to pick out a large pot (at least 12 by 12 inches) with around five drainage holes.
Now fill the container with a light potting mix (fertile and well-draining soil) and moisten the soil by misting water over the mix.
Next, dig up the daisies from the garden by using a gardening shovel. Dig the soil around the roots. Once you feel the roots are loosened from the soil, shovel completely under the root ball and lift the flower.
Set the flower next to the new home for the plant. Shovel a hole in the soil just big enough to fit the root ball of the flower. Place the plant into the hole, then cover and pack the roots with soil.
Water the gerbera flowers deeply, then only water when the soil is dry (up to one inch deep) — test this with your finger.
Lastly, place the pot where the plant will receive direct morning sun and afternoon shade.
How to Care for a Gerbera Daisy Plant
Gerberas don’t need too much attention, as they’re quite sturdy plants! Follow our simple guide below to be the best plant parent to your gerbera daisies.
Sunlight: Gerberas are huge fans of the sun. They prefer direct morning sun and afternoon shade. Unless you’re in temperatures of 80ºF and higher, allow the gerberas to receive more shade (at least two to three hours a day). If the gerbera is placed indoors, make sure to place next to a window.
Water: Deeply water gerbera daisies exactly once a week. To deeply water, a general rule of thumb is to soak at least eight inches below the soil surface. This is beneficial for gerberas since their roots grow deep into the soil. During hot summers (85ºF or higher), you may want to water your gerberas twice a week. If you’re leaving on vacation, use our guide to water plants while away.
Temperature: Gerbera daisies thrive best in temperatures between 70ºF and 75ºF. Since the gerbera daisy is a frost-tender perennial they can tolerate temperatures as low as 30ºF, but any frost will cause damage. Ideal temperatures are between 40ºF and 70ºF.
Toxicity: The plant is non-toxic to humans and animals, but it should be noted that ingesting any plant may cause gastrointestinal discomfort for animals.
Pests and Problems:
Pests: Gerbera daisies are susceptible to aphids, or plant lice, which are easily controlled with herbicides.
Problems: The flowers are prone to developing grey mildew, especially when conditions are very damp. The leaves become covered with mildew, and it can infect the roots and stems, killing a crop. When the flowers are infected with mildew, they develop brown spots, which tend to expand after the flowers are picked. Flowers may be left to dry to ward of grey mildew. Greenhouses should be well aerated. Avoid getting the leaves wet when watering the plants to prevent mildew from developing.
Repotting and Propagation:
Repotting: To repot, pick one pot size larger than the current pot the gerbera is in. Make sure the pot has a drainage hole. Next, fill the pot with three inches of potting soil. Gerberas prefer average to rich soils with medium moist conditions (bonus if you add soil amendments).
Now, with the daisy stem between your fingers, lay your hand on top of the soil and turn the pot upside down. Remove the excess soil from the root ball gently. Trim off any rotten or dead roots and place them into the new pot. Add or remove soil so that the top of the gerbera root system sits one inch under the rim of the new pot. Fill the empty spots with soil mixture. Lastly, water the gerbera daisy until droplets are seen from the pot bottom.
Propagation: The easiest way to propagate a gerbera daisy is by using seeds. We recommend this for best results, especially if you’re new to growing flowers. Follow our section on “How to Grow Gerbera Daisies” above.
Common Gerbera Daisy Questions
Have a question about your gerbera daisy plant? Check out these frequently asked questions and find your answer. If you don’t see your inquiry, feel free to post it in the comment section below.
How long do gerbera daisies last?
Gerbera daisies can live two to three years with proper care. To guarantee a longer life, repot the gerbera daisy once a year. Their blooms last for several weeks once they appear.
Do gerbera daisies spread?
Usually, gerbera daisies will spread quickly (once mature) about one to two feet, while still staying in a tight crown. If you plant more, give the original plant space (12–18 inches).
Do gerbera daisies close at night?
Gerbera daisies close at night in order to save energy for the next day. Once the sun is shining again, they reopen their blossoms. They also close in stormy weather to protect themselves.
Do gerbera daisies rebloom?
The gerbera will rebloom every year in the springtime. It is more likely to rebloom when planted outdoors rather than in a pot indoors.
When you send gerbera daisies, know that these fresh flowers convey a deeply meaningful message of innocence and beauty. They make for a lively lasting impression. There are many types of flowers to gift for celebrations and birthdays, but the Gerbera daisy and its meaning stands out as one of the most distinctly bright and merry.
If you’re forgetful when it comes to caring for houseplants, check out these houseplant care printables to be the best plant parent out there.