The rich quality of the multi-petaled gerbera daisy is reason for its rising popularity. Florists market the elegant blooms for weddings, table centerpieces, classic and specialty floral arrangements. Colors that range from shades of yellow, red, white, orange and pink brighten any room or garden. Gerbera daisies are symbols of innocence, happiness, purity and cheerfulness.
Gerbera daisies were discovered in Barberton, South Africa, in 1880, by Robert Jameson from Scotland. They grew naturally in the Cape Province and Transvaal regions of the country. The flower is also known as the Transvaal, Barberton or African daisy. By the end of the 19th century the newly discovered plant was being cultivated in Germany, England, Belgium, Italy and the United States.
Gerbera daisies are part of the Aster family. The blossoms are composed of a center, an inner ring or disk of trans florets and outer rings of ray florets. Each trans floret is a miniature blossom with three petals and stamens. Layers of ray florets or petals are likened to rays of sunshine that flow out from the center disk. A single blossom may be large enough to cover the palm of an adult hand as some varieties grow to 7 inches across.
The gerbera daisy is sold in potted plant form and as a cut flower. The sturdy stem gives strength to the single flower for a long vase life. Blossoms are wired for additional support and placed into wedding bouquets. The gerbera is versatile as a long-stem cut flower or as components in floral arrangements.
Gerbera daisies are placed in five main groups. The single flower has a green center and layers of petals that do not overlap one another. The duplex or double flower has a green, red or black center with a double row of overlapping petals. Crested double gerbera daisies have two double rows of overlapping petals with shorter rows of petals around the colored center. The eye is completely covered with florets inside solid rows of overlapped petals on the full crested double. The quilled, crested double gerbera blossom has a green or brown center with spiky petals.
Gerbera daisies require proper care by the florist and wholesaler. Wrinkles, folds or bruises on the petals are signs of damage that will worsen as the blooms deteriorate. Healthy white-stem interiors with no sign of brown decay make for a long-lasting flower.