The gerbera daisy, also referred to as the African daisy, is a garden bed and container flower that produces bright, 3- to 5-inch blooms with numerous thin petals in red, orange, yellow and pink around a center eye. Gerbera daisies are native to South Africa and hardy as a perennial in warm growing zones (USDA zones 9 and 10). The plant does not tolerate frost and is grown as an annual and container flower in cooler growing zones.
Choose a planting location for the gerbera daisy that provides a minimum of six hours direct sunlight and a well-draining soil. Gerbera daisies grow well in either a container or garden bed as long as the area does not have problems with water drainage.
Prepare a garden planting are by adding 3 inches of organic compost to the soil and working it to a depth of 6 inches. This will increase the water-draining ability and nutrient value of the soil.
Prepare container-grown gerberas by filling a pot that is 2 to 3 inches wider than the gerbera root ball half full with a high-quality potting soil.
Dig a planting hole that is the same depth and slightly wider than the gerbera root ball. Set the gerbera root ball into the hole so that the root ball is at ground level. Fill in around the root ball with soil and gently pack to limit air pockets.
Water the soil well after planting the gerbera plant. Provide water to garden gerbera plants by soaking the soil to a depth of 4 to 6 inches once it dries to 1 inch below ground level. Apply water to container-grown plants several times a week when the soil becomes dry to the touch.
Fertilize the gerbera plants with a water-soluble fertilizer diluted to half strength once a month during the spring months. Increase the fertilizer applications to every other week during the summer months.
Cut flowers from the gerbera plant once they begin to fade. This will stimulate the plant to keep producing flowers.
Apply a fungicide to the plant at the first sign of a powdery mildew infection. Remove infected leaves and stem sections, and dispose of them in the garbage. Powdery mildew is a white fungal dust that can appear on the foliage of the plant.