Gerbera Daisies Plant Care & Growing Guide


Updated: 09 Nov, 2023

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Gerbera daisies boast such vibrant colors that at times, they may leave you questioning their authenticity. Originating from South Africa, Gerbera jamesonii belongs to the Aster family, alongside sunflowers. The Gerbera daisies we see today are the result of hybridization techniques.

In most regions of the United States, Gerberas are considered tender perennials, returning year after year. However, in colder winter zones lacking proper protection, they are treated as annuals. The ideal time for planting them is in the spring, once the threat of frost has subsided. Gerbera daisies can be cultivated from seed outdoors, either in containers or garden beds. They establish themselves at a moderate pace, gracing us with their first blooms within 14 to 18 weeks, and continue to flower throughout the summer.

These daisies sport large flower heads with petal-like rays surrounding a central disk adorned with tiny green or black flowers. Gerbera daisies fall into four distinct classes: single flower, semi-double flower, double flower, and spider flower. Each class defines the number, arrangement, and type of petals. The plant’s leaves are either lobed or pinnate, often featuring toothed edges.

Read also: How to Plant and Care for a Hydrangea in a Pot

Common NameGerbera daisy, Transvaal daisy
Botanical NameGerbera jamesonii
FamilyAsteraceae
Plant TypeHerbaceous, perennial
Mature Size10–18 in. tall, 9–12 in. wide
Sun ExposureFull, partial
Soil TypeMoist, well-drained
Soil pHNeutral, acidic
Bloom TimeSummer, fall
Flower ColorRed, yellow, orange, pink, white
Hardiness Zones8–10 (USDA)
Native AreaAfrica

What are Gerbera Daisies?

Gerbera Daisies (Gerbera jamesonii) are colorful and vibrant flowering plants known for their large, daisy-like blooms. They belong to the Asteraceae family and are native to South Africa. These popular ornamental plants are widely cultivated for their striking, often multi-petaled flowers that come in a variety of bright hues, including red, pink, yellow, orange, and white. Gerbera Daisies are commonly used in floral arrangements and as potted plants, making them a popular choice for gardens, bouquets, and indoor decor. They are cherished for their cheerful appearance and are a favorite among gardeners and flower enthusiasts worldwide.

Gerbera Daisy Care

Gerbera daisies are available as starts for direct planting in garden beds, but most varieties can also be grown from seed with relative ease. However, it’s worth noting that they tend to develop slowly from seed, making this option more practical in warmer climates where you can care for the flowers throughout most of the year.

For optimal growth, provide Gerbera daisies with the right growing conditions. Pair them with plants sporting yellow foliage, such as the short grasses of hakonechloa macra, to enhance their vibrant colors. Additionally, small or spiky blue flowers like those found on sage and lobelia can complement the sunset hues of Gerbera daisies. To maintain their vibrant blooms, be sure to deadhead spent flowers. If you observe excessive business, consider removing some of the clustered center leaves to allow more light in. Gerbera daisies can also be grown as standalone plants, readily filling a pot or patch for a striking display of color.

When harvesting Gerbera daisies, wait until the flowers are fully open, but the center remains tightly packed. The stems are thirsty and will absorb as much water as you provide, though excessive watering can shorten their display time. Place them in about an inch of water and add more as needed. If you notice any discoloration at the base of the stem, make a fresh angled cut to ensure water uptake.

Light:
Gerbera daisies thrive in full sun but are not fond of intense heat. In regions with particularly hot summers or afternoons, it’s advisable to plant them in an area that offers afternoon shade. Additionally, avoid placing them near structures that reflect heat onto the plant, such as a foundation or stone wall.

Soil:
Prepare the bed for your Gerbera daisies with nutrient-rich soil that is high in organic matter and well-draining. They also prefer soil with a pH level between 5.5 and 6.5—levels above this range can lead to chlorosis, which manifests as yellow stripes on the leaves. Conversely, if the pH level is too low, black spots or patches may appear on the leaves.

Water:
Gerbera daisies require regular watering, approximately 1 inch per week. Water only when the soil has dried about an inch or two below the surface. During their initial establishment in your landscape and in hot, dry spells, they may need more frequent watering. However, refrain from overwatering during the winter, as daisies that overwinter go dormant and only require light watering once a month during this period.

Temperature and Humidity:
Ideally, Gerbera daisies thrive in USDA hardiness zones 8 through 11. In zone 8, where most gardeners grow them as annuals, they will need protection during winter. These flowers prefer a cool (but not excessively cold) winter temperature ranging from about 45 to 50 degrees Fahrenheit. Gerbera daisy plants do not have specific humidity requirements.

Fertilizer:
The amount of fertilizer your Gerbera daisies require depends on the quality of your soil. It’s recommended to feed them monthly with a water-soluble fertilizer to promote continuous blooming throughout the summer. Follow the instructions on the product label for the appropriate amount. Alternatively, you can also apply organic compost around the roots every month.

Types of Gerbera Daisies

  • Terracotta’: This Gerbera daisy variety features double yellow petals with a touch of peach encircling its deep red center.
  • Winter Queen’: A crested double Gerbera daisy, characterized by its white petals and a central disk or eye that is black.
  • Giant Spinner’: This Gerbera daisy boasts a full-crested double flower structure, with two sets of outer petals and two sets of inner petals. The first inner row envelops and conceals the central disk at the flower’s core.

How to Prune Gerbera Daisies

According to Parker’s recommendation, it’s advised to deadhead gerbera daisies as soon as the blooms start to wilt to encourage future blooms. “Trace the fading flower’s stem back to where it emerges from the main plant, and delicately trim it at the base,” she suggests. Additionally, home gardeners have the option to prune leaves from the base for shaping purposes, enhancing air circulation and allowing more sunlight to reach the plant—or simply to enhance the overall appearance by removing any leaves that appear faded or untidy.

Pruning

Removing spent blooms through deadheading prolongs the blooming duration. When Gerbera blooms start to wither, and the petals are on the verge of falling, trim the flower stems back to the point where they meet the leaves. This practice helps prevent seed development. Additionally, for a neat appearance and to stimulate fresh leaf growth, it’s recommended to pinch or trim any older, worn-out leaves.

Propagating Gerbera Daisies

Here are the steps for growing Gerbera daisies through seed, division, or cuttings:

Growing from Seed, Division, or Cuttings:

You can propagate Gerbera daisies through three methods: seed, division, or cuttings. The best time to do this is during the spring or summer.

For Division:

  • Gather the necessary materials: a sterilized sharp knife or pruning snips, fresh soil, and a clean pot with a drainage hole.
  • Carefully remove the flower from its growing medium. Use the knife or snips to divide the root ball into two separate parts.
  • Replant each part in its new, permanent location, using soil that closely matches its current soil type.
  • Ensure that each division receives a thorough watering.

For Propagation from Cuttings:

  • Summer is the optimal time for taking cuttings. Use sterilized pruning snips to take cuttings from the base or side shoots of the plant.
  • Gather a new pot, fresh well-draining soil, and optionally, rooting hormone.
  • To increase the success rate of the cuttings, dip the cut end in rooting hormone. This helps promote faster root development.
  • Plant the cuttings in the new soil, ensuring good drainage. Water the cutting when the substrate feels dry to the touch.

By following these steps, you can successfully propagate Gerbera daisies through seed, division, or cuttings.

How to Report Gerbera Daisies

Parker advises that Gerbera daisies in containers will likely require repotting after one to two years, once the roots start to fill and crowd the current pot. “As with most plants, it’s best to carry out this repotting in early spring, before they initiate new growth for the season. Select a pot that’s one size larger than the current container—excessive new soil can retain too much moisture and potentially lead to root rot,” she cautions. “Initially, the plant may show signs of wilting, but with proper care, it should bounce back within one to two weeks.”

Here are Parker’s detailed steps for repotting Gerbera daisies:

Begin with 2 to 3 inches of new soil, preferably a blend tailored for flowering houseplants, in the new pot.

Gently extract the plant from its current container and carefully inspect the roots for any indications of disease or rot. You can gently brush away loose soil to get a clearer view.

If necessary, use clean and disinfected clippers to delicately trim away any dead or poorly looking roots.

Set the plant into the new pot and gently fill in the soil around the sides, leaving about 1 inch of space between the soil and the rim of the pot.

Give the plant a thorough watering; ensure that the water drains through the pot.

How to Grow Gerbera Daisies From Seed

For those interested in growing Gerbera daisies from seed, it’s advisable to initiate the process indoors roughly 12 to 18 weeks before the anticipated last frost date in your area. Opt for peat or paper pots, as Gerbera daisies are sensitive to root disturbance during transplanting. Gently press the seeds onto the surface of the soil mixture rather than burying them, as they require light for proper germination.

To maintain soil moisture and protect the exposed seeds, cover your containers or pots with plastic wrap or a lid. Place them in a warm, sunlit location, ideally within a temperature range of 70 to 75 degrees Fahrenheit, and anticipate germination within approximately two to four weeks.

Once all threat of frost has passed, you can safely transplant your seedlings outdoors. Select a well-draining site with ample sunlight exposure, ensuring that the crown of the seedling sits about 1/2 inch above the soil line when planted in the ground.

Potting and Repotting Gerbera Daisies

It’s advisable to report Gerberas every one or two years in the spring, before the onset of new growth, especially when the roots begin to overcrowd the current pot. Opt for a pot that is one size larger than the current one, ensuring it has at least one sizable drainage hole.

To begin, carefully remove the daisy by turning the current pot upside down while supporting the root ball. Gently brush away any excess soil and trim any browned or diseased roots. Then, place the root ball on top of a bed of approximately 3 inches of fresh soil and fill in around the sides. The root ball should be positioned about 1 inch below the rim of the new pot. Water the plant until water starts to flow out of the drainage holes.

Common Pests and Plant Diseases

Aphids, whiteflies, spider mites, and thrips are common pests that can harm Gerbera daisy leaves. They tend to target plants under stress, so it’s crucial to maintain your plants’ overall health and keep a close eye on them for any signs of trouble. If you notice small populations of these pests, you can remove them by using a strong spray of water. For larger infestations, consider using insecticidal soap or natural horticultural oils like neem.

Another potential pest is leafminers, which can infest the leaves of your Gerbera daisies. Look for signs of tunneling and promptly remove any damaged leaves.

Powdery mildew, crown rot, and root rot can affect the plants when the soil remains consistently wet. To prevent these issues, allow the soil to dry out between waterings. However, be cautious not to let the flowers go too long without water, as this can lead to wilting and added stress.

How to Get Gerbera Daisies to Bloom

For Gerbera daisies, much like other repeat-blooming flowers, regular pruning and deadheading are highly beneficial. Typically, daisies have a lifespan of several weeks, but with proper deadheading, their flowering period can be extended. In optimal conditions, the plant can thrive for two to three years. Throughout the growing season, it’s important to maintain the plant by removing dead or diseased leaves and spent blooms. Keep in mind that high summer temperatures may cause Gerbera blooms to fade prematurely. To prolong their blooming period, consider relocating them indoors after they’ve flowered.

In most cases, pruning is not a concern for gardeners, as many cultivate Gerbera daisies for cut flower arrangements. Regardless of your purpose, when you observe a stem beginning to wither, it’s advisable to trim it back to the point where it intersects with the leaves. This helps prevent the plant from diverting energy into seed production. Before the first anticipated frost in your region, trim your Gerbera daisy plants down to about one inch above the soil level.

Common Problems

Gerbera daisies are relatively low-maintenance outdoor plants, but it’s crucial to manage their water, light, and soil conditions appropriately. However, they are prone to certain fungal issues.

Velvety Coating on Leaves and Flowers:
A fungal condition known as gray mold, caused by Botrytis cinerea (or Botrytis blight), results in a velvety coating on infected flowers and leaf tissue. Additional signs include pockmarks or brown spots on the leaf stalk and tan spots on flower petals. If left untreated, the lower stems may die, and the entire plant may develop a grayish growth. To prevent this, ensure good air circulation around the plant during periods of high humidity, and focus watering on the soil rather than the flowers and leaves. To treat it, remove all affected parts of the plant and apply a suitable commercial fungicide. Always verify that the product is effective against botrytis before use.

Lower Leaf Yellowing:
Interveinal chlorosis, or yellowing between the green veins on lower leaves, is typically indicative of an iron deficiency. This condition can also impact flower production. The deficiency may stem from inadequate iron in the soil or fertilizer, or if the soil pH exceeds 6.2. Cooler temperatures below 68°F can hinder nutrient absorption, as can overly wet soil. Additionally, if a plant has root damage or rot, it may struggle to absorb nutrients properly. To address this, monitor temperature, soil moisture, and pH levels, and adjust as needed by acidifying the soil, incorporating iron chelates, or avoiding overwatering. Also, assess the overall health of the plant’s roots.

Stunted Growth or Sudden Wilting:
Stunted growth, reduced flower production, and wilting of leaves and stems are often indicative of crown or root rot, typically caused by the fungus Phytophthora cryptogea. This condition may present as a rotting or discolored appearance in the plant’s roots. If left untreated, it can lead to the demise of the entire plant. Increasing copper content in the fertilizer can help mitigate disease severity. To prevent this issue, avoid overwatering and refrain from watering overhead.

What Colors Do Gerbera Daisies Come In?

Gerbera Daisies come in a wide range of colors, including red, pink, yellow, orange, white, and various shades in between.

How Do I Care for Gerbera Daisies Indoors?

Gerbera Daisies thrive in bright, indirect light and well-draining soil. They prefer regular watering, allowing the soil to dry slightly between waterings. It’s important to avoid overwatering, as they are susceptible to root rot.

Can I Grow Gerbera Daisies Outdoors?

Yes, Gerbera Daisies can be grown outdoors in suitable climates. They prefer full sun or partial shade and well-draining soil. It’s important to protect them from extreme heat and provide good air circulation.

How Do I Deadhead Gerbera Daisies?

To deadhead Gerbera Daisies, follow the fading flower stem to where it emerges from the plant and carefully cut it at the base. This encourages future blooms.

Can I Propagate Gerbera Daisies?

Yes, Gerbera Daisies can be propagated from seeds, division, or cuttings. Each method has its own specific steps to follow.

What Common Pests and Diseases Affect Gerbera Daisies?

Gerbera Daisies should be repotted every one to two years, especially when their roots start to fill and crowd the pot. It’s best to do this in early spring before the plant starts new growth for the season. Use a pot one size larger than the current one, and ensure proper watering after repotting.

Conclusion

Gerbera Daisies are captivating flowering plants cherished for their vibrant, daisy-like blooms and wide range of striking colors. Native to South Africa, these ornamental gems have found popularity worldwide, gracing gardens, bouquets, and indoor spaces with their cheerful presence. Their large, multi-petaled flowers make them a favored choice for floral arrangements and decorative displays. Proper care involves providing them with well-draining soil, ample sunlight, and regular watering, while also safeguarding against common pests and diseases.

Deadheading spent blooms and occasional repotting contribute to their continued vitality and prolonged blooming period. Whether adorning outdoor landscapes or brightening up indoor environments, Gerbera Daisies bring a touch of natural beauty and vibrancy to any setting. With their enduring popularity and ease of cultivation, it’s no wonder they remain a beloved choice among gardeners and flower enthusiasts alike.


Mary Lloyster

Mary Lloyster

Mary, the ultimate oracle of indoor gardening! With years of experience and a flourishing indoor expo, Mary has become our go-to expert for all things related to house plants and indoor gardening. Despite her background in Political Science, Mary has discovered a delightful way to blend her full-time job with a touch of relaxation through indoor gardening. Now, she eagerly shares her wisdom and experiences with our readers on a daily basis. If you have any inquiries about house plants, indoor gardening techniques, or caring tips, don't hesitate to leave a comment for Mary in the designated section below!

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