Gerbera flowers are often referred to as gerbera daisies not only because they look similar to daisies, but because they are related to daisies. Both are members of the Asteraceae family. Used as cut flowers in bouquets, gerbera flowers rank about fifth worldwide in popularity. Gerbera flowers are favored as blooms because of their wide range of bright and unusual colors.
History of Gerberas
Native to areas of South America, South Africa and Asia, gerberas were first discovered by botanist Robert Jameson in the late 19th century. The gerbera flowers of today have been a hybrid that produces perfect, long-lasting and popular blooms. They stay open in the dark, and are available in a rainbow of brilliant colors. Columbia and the Netherlands are the leading producers of gerbera flowers for the floral industry.
Meaning of Gerberas
Gerbera flowers are often incorporated into bouquets because the flower symbolizes purity and innocence, the same as all daisies. However, gerbera flowers in a flower arrangement add the spirit of cheerfulness due to their bright, happy colors.
Types of Gerbera Flowers
There are four types, or styles, of modern gerbera flowers. The most common is the single gerbera, with a green center and petals that do not overlap one another. Double, or deluxe, gerberas have two rows of petals that overlap and centers that are green, red or black. Crest double gerberas are similar to deluxe gerberas, with two rows of overlapping petals, but they also have a row of smaller petals surrounding the green, red or black center. Finally, there is the full crest gerbera, with rows of overlapping petals that diminish in size as the rows get closer to the center eye and eventually bend and cover it.
Growing Gerbera Flowers
Gerbera flowers can be easily grown from seeds, either indoors or out in your garden if you live in USDA zones 7 to 11. Gerbera plants are sensitive to temperatures, and they require a constant temperature of 70 to 75 degrees Fahrenheit. Start your gerbera seeds by sowing them to a depth that is twice the size of the seed in an artificial seed starting mix. Keep the mix moist while your gerbera seeds germinate by placing a sheet of glass or plastic over the mix. When your gerbera seedlings have developed their first true leaves, transplant them into small pots filled with rich, loamy potting soil. When the seedlings grow larger, transplant them into your garden, or if you plan to grow them indoors, into a larger pot.
Tips and Tricks
Cut gerbera flowers have a reputation of not lasting long in a vase, but if you place a single or group of gerberas in a broad-based vase with only 3/4 to 1 inch of water, then your cut gerberas will last for two or three weeks. This is because a gerbera stem has the ability to absorb water, making it weaker and causing the stem to disintegrate. If you keep the gerbera stems out of water and allow the tip and end to submerge, then the stems will remain firm. Change the water in your vase daily, and if you notice the submerged end looking soft or soggy, trim it off so the stem remains firm and strong.