The lovely Gerbera daisy is the 5th most popular flower on Earth. Similar to sunflowers, these stunning blooms follow the sun as it travels from east to west throughout the day. They’re gorgeous in cut flower arrangements because they last longer than most other blooms, and make perfect gifts. That said, these flowers are delicate and require proper care to produce results.
In this article, we’ll show you how you can grow Gerbera daisies year-round no matter where you live. Furthermore, we’ll let you in on the key secret behind growing these picky flowers in pots.
Gerbera Daisy Varieties
The Gerbera Daisy is also known as the African daisy, Transvaal daisy, or Barberton daisy. It’s part of the Asteraceae family, originally from South Africa, and was named after the German doctor Traugott Gerber in the 1700s. It’s popular in both indoor and outdoor flower gardens, as it comes in a wide array of hues such as:
The blooms also vary based on their size, number of petals, shape, and in the level of care required to cultivate them properly. Compact varieties are easier to cultivate due to their stronger stems. In contrast, taller varieties are ideal in a border garden. Potted varieties tend to be more compact, making them versatile for indoor and outdoor planting alike.
Most of the varieties available are named for the color of the petals, such as Gerbera White, Red, Orange, Pink, etc. Here are a few of the most popular options you can grow:
- Gerbera hybrida: Grow these bright and colorful blooms as perennials or ornamentals, as they thrive in most hardiness zones. They’re great in pots or planted along a border, and even come in some two-toned options.
- G. Jamesonii transvall: This larger flower’s striking orange and yellow petals are gorgeous in containers, and popular among garden borders.
- Gerbera Jamesonii souvenir: This easy-to-grow variety offers coral-orange and brownish-yellow petals amid bright green flowers.
- Aurantiaca: A crimson red variety that’s used in bouquets and cut flower arrangements.
- Gerbera spider daisy: Thinner leaves make this yellow ornamental plant absolutely breathtaking. It’s great in containers, and popular in bouquets.
How to Plant Gerbera Daisies
Gerbera daisy seedlings are affordable, and widely available at your nearby garden nursery. Of course, the seeds are even cheaper, and smaller varieties are easy to cultivate on your own. You can also create new Gerbera plants by dividing a mature plant into smaller options. This is perfect for when your flowers grow large enough to require a larger container.
Growing from seed may result in some surprise daisies, however, as the seed isn’t always labeled properly. Keep in mind that you can’t store these seeds either, so you need to use them all at once. Plant them immediately after purchasing for the best results.
Dividing the plant or growing new daisies from seedlings is the easiest route. This way, you know for sure what type of daisy you’re growing, and the process is simple. To divide, all you do is lift and separate the mature plant at the crown. It’s best to do so during the spring.
Depending on your location, you may be able to plant your Gerbera daisy outdoors. However, you may need to dig up and replant it during the Autumn about every other year, as the crown will begin to sink underneath the soil surface over time.
Gerbera daisies are considered a perennial in USDA hardiness zones 8 through 11. In these areas, the plant will bloom each year. If you live in a colder location, they can also grow as annuals. Potted varieties are perfect because they’re easy to move inside during the cold months to protect the blooms from the frost.
In humid areas, plant your Gerbera daisies in containers, especially if the natural soil in your yard is on the heavy side. Growing these plants indoors is more challenging, you can alter the environment very easily to suit your plant’s needs. They can grow for years to come with the right conditions and care.
These daisies can thrive anywhere from full, direct sunlight to partial shade, depending on your location and how you plant these precious flowers. Potted varieties planted from seed, for example, enjoy a bright, sunny area with indirect light.
Instead of placing the pot in a sunny window where the leaves can scorch, look for a place with bright morning sunlight and indirect afternoon light. A bright area with full to partial sun is perfect, but the light must remain indirect.
Without enough sun, the leaves may appear fine but you won’t get any blooms. In a situation like this, use overhead lighting and lamps to supplement.
Plant gerberas in well-draining, sandy soil. When planting these flowers from seed, use a propagation mix with excellent drainage.
Sow Gerbera daisy seeds indoors around 8 to 10 weeks before the final frost of the season. Use starter trays, and plant the seeds with the the pointed end facing downwards. Cover the seeds lightly with soil, keep them moist, and the plants should germinate in 10 to 20 days.
Space Between Seedlings
Fresh seeds germinate better, so make sure you plant them immediately. Space plants 18 to 24 inches apart, and transplant seedlings into larger containers after they’ve developed two true leaf sets.
How to Care for Your Gerbera Daisy
Proper care allows your Gerbera daisy to produce stunning blooms and live a long, healthy life.
Provide a drink of water in the morning once per week, allowing the plant to dry out over the course of the day. Avoid wetting the leaves by watering close to the soil, rather than over the top of the plant. Doing so helps you reduce the likelihood of fungal diseases and rot.
If outdoor soil feels dry when you stick your finger in it, water the plants well. Allow them to drain completely before watering again. Give potted plants time to drip before placing them back on their tray or saucer rather than allowing standing water in the drip tray.
Finally, reduce the amount of water you provide in the winter months. The plant should never feel bone dry or soggy, but should remain slightly moist.
The key to growing a healthy potted Gerbera daisy is all in temperature and lighting. These elements must be just right for the plant. Consistent temperatures are vital, and the plant prefers moderately cool temperatures. Protect them against temperature above 70 degrees F.
Mulching outdoor daisies is highly recommended during the spring. Add around 2 to 3 inches of natural mulch, leaving some space around the crown of the plant. Shredded bark or compost is ideal.
Use a high-quality liquid plant fertilizer that’s rich in micronutrients during the spring and again in the summer. Seaweed and fish emulsion are ideal, and fertilizers made for blooming plants works well too. For best results, add a layer of compost while planting seedlings or dividing these plants to encourage blooms.
Keep an eye on your plants when they begin to bloom and make sure you deadhead the flowers as soon as they begin to wilt. This will help to produce more flowers and maintain a healthy, compact plant. Dead foliage should be removed as soon as it appears.
Common Problems to Growing a Gerbera Daisy
Like all plants, this flowers are susceptible to certain pests and diseases.
Leaf miners and caterpillars are the biggest pests attracted to Gerbera daisies. Protect your plants by spraying an organic pesticide like neem spray or pyrethrum.
Since these flowers enjoy hotter, drier conditions, they’re susceptible to fungal diseases, and fungicidal sprays don’t typically work. Older varieties may be more resistant to fungal issues, but no matter which Gerbera daisy variety you plant, make sure you provide the right care to prevent crown rot.
This type of rot is another common issue this plant can suffer from if you place too many of the divided plants too close together. It can also occur if you water them too much/too frequently. Make sure you don’t plant Gerberas too deeply: just at soil level works best for these plants. Airflow on all sides is also ideal, so keep the mulch from packing in too closely and obscuring the crown.
Also, keep on the lookout for powdery mildew, which is a fungal disease that coats the leaves of the plant before moving on to the flower heads. Prevent this white powdery coating by giving the plants the proper amount of air circulation.
A Final Thought
Potted Gerbera daisy blooms make great gifts for any occasion. Even better, if your plant does well, it should grow large enough for you to be able to cultivate new daisies in no time. With the right care, this delightful flower can grow for several years to produce cheerful blooms. They’re absolutely worth all the effort you put into growing this beautiful, delicate plant.