A member of the sunflower family, the Gerbera genus is a genus of about thirty species of flowering plants native to South Africa. These flowers, which are called gerber daisies, are cultivated throughout the world for their colorful blooms, which come in shades ranging from solid pink to red, orange and white.
When grown outdoors, gerber daisies are best suited to full sun locations in USDA zones 9 to 11. The plant may tolerate some dappled shade in warmer climates. While the plant can handle very light frosts, it will die all the way down to the roots during more moderate freezes. Gerber daisies grown indoors will do best in bright, indirect or diffused sunlight. Choose an indoor cultivar such as Happy Pot for indoor locations. Happy Pot offers shorter stems, making it more manageable for indoor cultivation.
Gerber daisies prefer a well draining loam or sandy soil. Avoid planting the gerber daisy in a particularly shallow container or pot, as the plant has deep roots which like to stretch out. Keep individual plants at least a foot away from each other to prevent overcrowding, which may lead to fungus and mildew. When planting, put soil just over the top of the root ball, not so high that it will cover more than 1/2 inch of the stem. Too much moist soil can cause the plant's roots to rot. Water the plant as needed---more during dry summer spells, less as fall and winter approach. Applying fertilizer during the summer will help extend the flower's colorful blooms.
The gerber daisy is generally pest free, but like many plants, it can be prone to aphids and spider mites. If purchasing a gerber daisy from a nursery, be sure to check under the leaves and around the stem for these pests, which are tiny and white. Mild spider mite and aphid infestations can be taken care of with a gentle dousing of soapy water. Powdery mildew may also be a problem, and it's best prevented rather than cured. Avoid overcrowding plants, as high humidity is often the problem. Keep plants spaced at least a foot apart, and water the soil, not the foliage of the plant. Heavily damaged leaves can be removed, often lessening the severity of the problem.