Gerbera daisies, which have a bright bloom over a long season, are not, in fact, daisies at all, but rather are a member of the sunflower family. These perennials have striking double-lipped flowers available in a rainbow of colors, including red, orange, yellow and white, as well as bi-color varieties. Foliage is emerald green and mounding. Also known as the African daisy or Gerber daisy, the Gerbera daisy (Gerbera jamesonii) is hardy in U.S. Department of Agriculture zones 9 through 11, but may be grown as an annual or in pots in colder zones.
Light and Water
Gerbera daisies require full sun in cooler climates to partial sun to in hot, humid climates to thrive. In the deep South, the plants may wilt during the day. Gerbera daisies require regular watering and soil should be kept moist during hot summer, but may be allowed to dry out in cooler climates. If plants begin to wilt in hotter regions, water multiple times during the day.
Gerbera daisies thrive in highly organic soil that is neutral to mildly acidic (pH between 6.1 to 7.5 for best results). Gerbera daisies prefer loose, well-draining soil that has a high peat content. These plants are avid feeders and calcium and/or potassium may be added to the soil when planting.
Gerbera daisies will bloom nearly year round in the warmer climates, but should be dead-headed in all climates as blooms fade. This will help promote new blooms. To deadhead a flower, simply pinch the stem beneath the spent bloom between your thumb and index finger until the bloom comes off.
Gerbera daisies make excellent, long-lasting cut flowers, but the nearly hollow stems are fragile. When cutting, cut the stem cleanly with shears or scissors about two inches above the soil line. Florists reinforce stems on cut flowers with clear straws or wire. Cut flowers should be re-cut every three to four days and the water should be changed out.