Gerbera daisy, a member of the Asteraceae plant family and related to sunflowers, is native to tropical regions of South America, Africa and Asia. The main feature of gerbera daisy is that, Green bushy foliage grows from the base of the plant up to 6 inches below the flower heads, leaving the brightly colored flowers standing above the foliage, unhidden by the leaves.
Gerbera daisies grow oversized single or double petal flowers in shades of yellow, orange and red, growing 2 to 5 inches in diameter on 12 to 18 inch stems. With proper care and maintenance, a gerbera plant can bloom endlessly and last quite longer. In this article, find insights on the best way to plant a gorgeous gerbera daisy.
|Gerbera Daisy, Transvaal daisy, Barberton, African Daisy
|Tropical regions of South America, Africa and Asia
|Type Of Plant
|Herbaceous Perennial plant
|8 through 11
|Full sun or partial shade
|10 to 18 inches
|Summer and Spring
|Yellow, orange, white, pink or red
|Macro-nutrient liquid fertilizer
|Caterpillars, leaf miners
|Beds and boarders, patio and containers
Gerbera Daisy Seed Germination
Gerbera daisy seeds germinate effectively in temperature ranges of 71 to 76oF, in bright indirect light. The seeds germinate between seven and fourteen days. They take 14 to 18 weeks to grow from seed to full flower. Seed propagation remains the best and cost effective way to propagate gerbera daisy, though the plant do not grow true to seed, the flower color will vary from the parent plant.
Growing Gerbera Daisy From Seeds
Growing gerbera daisy plant is possible from the seed, seedling or division. Growing from seeds is not only easy to do, but it is also one of the cheapest ways to fill your garden with abundance. Moisture, sunlight and proper soil are the most important components.
- Get seed tray that has drainage holes on it. If you want to grow multiple flowers, you can purchase an indoor planter that has spaces for more than one flower.
- Fill the seed tray with a mixture of sand, peat moss, vermiculite and perlite.
- Bury or sprinkle the gerbera seeds on top of the soil.
- Lightly sprinkle water on top of the soil. The soil should always be moist while the seeds are germinating.
- Cover the seed tray with a plastic wrap. Poke a couple of holes in the top of the plastic wrap so that the plant can breathe.
- Move the seed tray to a warm area of the house that also gets plenty of sunlight. Germinating seeds do best in temperatures of 65-75oF(18-24 oC).
- Wait for the seedlings to germinate. The flowers should germinate within 3 weeks to a month.
- If you plan on transplanting your seedlings outdoor, harden them off by leaving them outside under a shaded area for 7-10 days. This will acclimate seedlings to the change in temperature.
- Gerbera daisy seedlings will be ready for transplant when they have sprout with two sets of leaves.
Transplanting Gerbera Daisy Outdoors
- Transplant the seedlings outside should be after all the danger of frost has passed. Choose a well-draining site with good light exposure.
- Use a rake, tiller or pitchfork to dig and prepare the planting area. In the process, remove all plastic debris and stones from the area.
- Amend the native soil with organic materials such as well-rotten manure or compost. This improves drainage and fertility of the area.
- Dig holes that are large enough to accommodate the root balls of your gerbera daisy.
- Gently remove the seedlings from the tray and place them into the holes. Cover the root balls with soil and pack then firmly and then, water the soil thoroughly.
Propagation Of Gerbera Daisy Through Division
- Water the gerbera daisies thoroughly with water the night before division to get them well hydrated for the stressful division event.
- During the actual day of division, remove the gerbera daisies from the ground with a garden spade, digging around the clump about 8 inches deep before cutting under the root ball. Lift the clump from the ground, hold it by the root ball and move it to a shady area.
- Brush off some of the soil and slice through the roots with a sharp, clean knife or pruning shears.
- Divide the gerbera daisies in such a manner that, each division has healthy roots and at least one crown. In the process, cut off any dead roots and fading leaves.
- Replant the gerbera daisy divisions immediately in a well prepared garden bed. Remove half of the lower leaves that are close to the soil level as well to avoid crown rot.
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How To Grow Gerbera daisy In Pots
- Choose a large pot or container/planter with enough drainage holes.
- Flowers like Gerbera need good soil to grow up strong and health. Fill the planter/pot/container with sand together with a potting mix like vermiculite, Peat moss and perlite. Alternatively, you can just amend sand with organic materials such as manure or compost.
- Moisten the mixture by misting water over it.
- Makes a large hole on top of the soil, the hole should be large enough to accommodate the Gerbera daisy’s root ball.
- Uproot the gerbera daisy seedling from the seedbed and place it into the hole and the cover the root ball with soil and then pack firmly.
- Water the plant and the soil thoroughly and then transfer the plant indoors.
- Place the plant on the balcony, near the window or take it inside the bedroom in a place that receives adequate sunlight.
How To Effectively Care For Gerbera Daisy
For brilliant and long-lasting blooms, place your Gerbera daisy in an area with a lot of direct sunlight. In order for your plants to grow and flower properly, they need at least six hours of direct sun each day. They need a spot that gets full sun or full morning and some afternoon shade. For indoor gerberas, place them in a sunny windowsill where they can get averagely six hours of sunlight per day. For outdoor gerberas, semi-shaded area such as shaded patio or veranda is ideal.
Gerbera daisy can effectively grow in the garden bed in nutrient rich soils, that is, soil rich in organic matter or manure. For container-grown plants, find sandy soil and amend it with peat moss, perlite and vermiculite. This will stimulate the plant’s natural setting and also provide sufficient nutrition for the entire growing season.
Gerbera‘s performance is enhanced if grown in slightly acid soil with PH of between 5.5 to 6.5. PH levels higher than this can result to chlorosis, which is commonly characterized by yellow stripes on the leaves. Slightly lower PH than 5.5 results to black spots or patches to appear on the leaves.
Just like any other houseplant, gerbera daisy too requires regular watering. Keep the soil continuously moist throughout the year, but reduce watering in the winter. Do not allow them to completely dry out.
Always water the plant in the morning so that the plant can dry throughout the day. Water enough to keep the surface soil evenly moist, to achieve this, Water until you see water coming out of drainage hole and discard any water left in the saucer. Allow the top inch of the soil to dry out between watering routines during fall and winter.
Temperature And Humidity
You may have notice that many houseplants and flowers tend to wilt if they are exposed to extreme heat or sunlight. Gerbera daisy grows perfectly under room temperature or warm conditions of temperatures between 70oF and 75oF. Temperatures above these optimum levels reduce the plants life and flower quality.
Fertilize your gerberas at least once after two weeks during the spring and summer flowering period. Use a liquid slow-release fertilizer that is rich in potassium and phosphorus.
Adding a layer of mulch to your gerbera daisy growing in a pot or flower bed is one of the easiest things any gardener can do. Just apply shredded bark mulch or pine straw to a depth of about 3 to 5 inches over the entire gerbera’s plant soil and that’s it.
Covering the soil with a layer of mulch helps to control weed growth, reduce soil moisture loss and moderate soil temperature. In winter, it helps to insulate the root zone and protect your gerbera daisy from extreme cold.
After each successful bloom, heavily prune the whole plant back. The old flower stalks and foliage should be trimmed back to a couple of inches above the soil line. By doing this, you’ll reduce the risk of older foliage becoming disease-ridden and also promote the re-growth of denser foliage.
Caring For Gerbera Daisy During Frost-Winter
Gerbera daisies are frost-sensitive plants. In regions with mild, frost-free winters, the plants grow and bloom throughout the year. They are tolerant to a slight dip in temperature down to 30 oF or 2oF below freezing, but any frost will damage the leaves and flowers and prolonged freezing weather has a potential of killing the entire plant. In areas that experience regular frosty winters, you can grow gerbera daisy as an annual plant or keep it in pots indoors or in a greenhouse.
Deadheading Gerbera Daisy
Deadheading is a horticultural practice of removing spent flowers from ornamental plants. Generally, deadheading must be done regularly throughout the growing season of gerbera daisy because dying flowers tend to turn brown and either dry or mushy.
To deadhead you gerbera daisy, you can pinch off the at the base of the flower or use any sharp tool to cut it off, in effect, the energy that was previously wasted on dying and wilted blooms will now be redirected towards new blooms and growth.
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Common Pests And Diseases
Potted gerbera daisies rarely experience pest problems, although common houseplant pests such as aphids, spider mites, Japanese beetles, scale insects and powdery mildew may attack the plant.
Spider mites are one of the most destructive houseplant pests. They can heavily damage or even kill the gerbera daisy plant in a very short time. The mites use their sharp mouths to pierce the cell walls of gerbera daisy, and thereby easily sucking out all the vital fluids within the cells, making the plant look discolored, speckled, curled under, died or shriveled up.
A big first step in spider mite control is to keep foliage clean. Wipe off dust regularly with a damp cloth. You can also clean the plant using a high-pressure water hose spray nozzle. Pesticides and herbicides are the best options if you need to completely get rid your plant of spider mites.
When spraying the pesticides or herbicides, be sure to spray all of the plant parts thoroughly, especially paying attention to the underside of the foliage where the spider mites love to hang.
Powdery mildew in gerbera daisy usually starts off as circular, powdery white spots which can appear on leaves, stems and sometimes on flowers. If not controlled on time, white spots of powdery mildew will spread to cover most of the leaves or affected areas and in effect making your daisy to look as if they have been dusted with flour.
To effectively control the effect of powdery mildew on your gerbera, consider spraying infected plants with preventative fungicides. Effective organic fungicides for getting rid of powdery mildew include sulfur, lime-sulfur, neem oil and potassium bicarbonate.
Scale insects are one of the more common groups of insects that attack gerbera daisy. They cause damage by feeding on vascular fluids and cell contents. They feed of the sap of branches, attaching to flowers as well as leaves. Typical symptoms of damage include yellow spots on the upper surface of the infested leaves, scales or shell-like bumps on the stems and underside of the leaves. Flowers may also begin to dry and fall.
To control scales infesting your gerbera daisy plant, you can use commercially available insecticide soaps to spray your plant or you can use horticultural oils such as neem oil.
The Japanese beetle is the most destructive garden pest, devours just about everything that it comes in contact with, including the well tended shrubs and flowers like gerbera daisy. It is often easy to see the adult beetles as they land and feed on leaves of plants and trees. They leave multiple holes and brown patches on leaves and branch stems. If urgent care is not taken, your beautiful gerbera daisy may be stunted, injured or even killed from severe, persistent feeding.
To get rid of the Japanese beetles from annihilating your gerbera daisy, grab a bucket and fill it with soapy water, then hand pick or shake the bugs into the bucket to kill them. Alternatively, mix soap, water, garlic powder and cayenne pepper in a spray bottle and apply it to the leaves, stems and flowers of your gerbera daisy plant.
Frequently Asked Question (FAQ)
How Do You Keep Gerbera Daisies Blooming?
Just grow your plant in a peat moss or perlite based potting soil, place the plant in an area that receive maximum direct sunlight and apply nitrogen liquid fertilizer regularly during spring and summer bloom time.
When Is The Best Time To Divide Gerbera Daisies?
The best time to divide your gerbera daisy for planting is after the danger of frost has passed.
How Long Does Gerbera Daisy Plant Last?
Well, with proper, regular care and maintenance, the gerbera daisy can live between two and three years. To guarantee a live longer than three years, repot the plant at least once a year and deadhead regularly.