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Colorful Gerbera daisies are one of our favorite flowering plants to grow indoors or in our gardens. Native to South Africa, these cheery blooms are beautiful to look at and relatively easy to grow. Here's everything you need to know to grow Gerbera daisies at home.
- Botanical Name: Gerbera jamesonii
- Common Name: Gerbera daisy, Gerber daisy, African daisy, Transvaal daisy, Barberton daisy
- Plant Type: Tender perennial
- Mature Size: Six to 18 inches tall
- Sun Exposure: Full to part sun
- Soil Type: Rich, well-drained soil
- Soil pH: 5.5 - 6.5
- Toxicity: Nontoxic
Plant Gerbera daisies outdoors in the spring after your growing zone's last frost date. Water the plants when the top inch or two of soil has dried out.In drought conditions or extremely hot weather, you may need to water more frequently. You can fertilize plants once per month, either by using an organic fertilizer according to package directions or by top-dressing the soil around the plant with organic compost.
After planting, your Gerbera daisies should grow their first flowers within three to four months and bloom through the summer. As they fade, deadhead spent blooms to encourage new floral growth.
Best Growing Conditions for Gerbera Daisy
Gerbera daisies prefer warm weather and lots of sunlight to offer abundant blooms, so a spot with full sun is ideal. In warmer climates, choose a site with afternoon shade so your Gerbera daisies are protected from intense heat. It's also important to select a spot with good drainage and to amend the soil with organic compost before planting if soil quality is poor.
Types of Gerbera Daisy
In addition to different colors, the four main types of Gerbera daisy are classified according to their petals. Single Gerberas have one layer of non-overlapping petals radiating from a green center. Double Gerberas have multiple layers of overlapping petals growing from a black, yellow, or green center.
Even more complex are crested double Gerberas, which have an additional inner layer of small, thin petals between the center and the wider outer petals. Full crested double Gerberas are the most ornate of all, with an outer layer of longer petals surrounding a full, almost chrysanthemum-like inner layer of fine, fluffy petals, giving the flowers a firework-like appearance.
How to Propagate Gerbera Daisy
While you can purchase Gerbera daisies as potted plants and seedlings, the simplest and most affordable way to grow your own is from seed. You'll want to start Gerbera daisy seedlings indoors two to three months before your growing zone's last frost date. Here's how to propagate Gerbera daisies from seed.
What You'll Need
- Gerbera daisy seeds
- Sterile seed starting mix
- Seed starting trays
- Seedling heat mats (optional)
- Grow light (optional)
- Fill seedling trays with sterile seed starting mix. If reusing trays, sterilize them before adding the growing medium to prevent plant diseases from spreading.
- Press the pointy end of each Gerbera daisy seed just barely into the surface of the soil, then use your fingers to brush a very fine layer of soil over each seed. These seeds need light to germinate, so they should barely be covered. Moisten each cell of the tray with water, and keep the growing medium evenly moist until the seedlings are planted outdoors.
- Place the seed tray in a warm spot (at least 70 degrees) that gets at least eight hours of bright, indirect light each day. You may want to cover the seed tray with clear plastic or use a heat mat and grow light to create optimal conditions for germination. Depending on the temperature and light in your space, seeds may germinate in anywhere from two to four weeks.
- Once your seeds have germinated, you can remove the plastic cover, but be sure to keep the growing medium moist but not soggy. When the seedlings have grown two true leaves—or approximately two months after germination—they're ready for you to pot up into small plant pots.
- Once all danger of frost has passed, plant your Gerbera daisy seedlings outdoors and care for them as usual.
Common Problems With Gerbera Daisy
While Gerbera daisies are pretty low maintenance once established, they can fall prey to common plant pests like whiteflies, spider mites, aphids, and thrips. At the first sign of pests, use neem oil or insecticidal soap to treat the affected area.
It's best to apply these organic pesticides to your plants in the evening because doing so in full sun or temperatures above 90 degrees can damage the plants. It also minimizes harm to beneficial pollinators, which tend to be more active during the day.
How to Get Gerbera Daisy to Bloom
If your Gerbera daisies aren't blooming, they may not be getting enough sunlight. They may also need fertilizer; choose one designed for boosting flowers, not foliage. Finally, it's important to note that while Gerbera daisies bloom throughout the summer months, they typically bloom, then take a few weeks off before blooming again.
Is Gerbera Daisy Easy to Care For?
Gerbera daisies are pretty easy to grow outdoors. However, you'll need to ensure that they're well suited to the conditions in their planting site and take steps to prevent issues like root rot and plant diseases.
What’s the Difference Between Daisy and Gerbera Daisy?
Colorful Gerbera daisies and types of daisies with classic white petals and yellow centers—think Shasta daisies and oxeye daisies—are different species. However, they are all members of the Asteraceae family, along with chrysanthemums, asters, zinnias, marigolds, and sunflowers.
Can Gerbera Daisy Grow Indoors?
Yes, Gerbera daisies make a great addition to your houseplant collection. Give them lots of bright, indirect light, such as from a west-facing or south-facing window.