White Gerbera Daisy

Overview

The white gerbera daisy makes an appearance in all kinds of floral arrangements, from wedding bouquets to funeral arrangements. As a cut flower, it lasts for one to two weeks with proper care, making it popular with gardeners who create cutting gardens as well as florists who want to provide clients with stunning pieces that are eye catching and long lasting. It is a sun-loving natural for white gardens. Once the first bloom has been cut, multiple flowers flourish all spring and summer long.

Botanical Background

As a member of the Asteraceae family, which includes sunflowers, the white gerbera daisy is also called the Hilton daisy. Native to South Africa, it is readily found in ambigua, krausii, jamesonii and crocea varieties. According to Online Flowers Guide, about 30 varieties of gerbera daisies grow in the wild.

Appearance

The white gerbera daisy is available in full crested double, crested double, double or single varieties. Crested means that the center disc of the flower has rows of short, tightly clustered petals that create a beautiful face for the main flower petals. The gerbera leaves are always at the base of the plant. Often they are ruffled and hair covered like sunflower leaves.

Growing

Like all gerbera daisies, the white varieties grow best in full to partial sun, requiring six to eight hours of sunshine per day. The soil should be well draining and slightly acidic to neutral. The gerbera daisy remains hardy as long as temperatures do not fall below 20 to 40 degrees F, which is USDA zones 9 to 11. Care should be taken not to overwater gerbera daisies, making them susceptible to fungus, other diseases and pests. Most often, it is grown as an annual. However, some gardeners move gerberas indoors as houseplants during the winter, often supplementing natural light with grow lights. . This annual is cultivated by seed, with herbaceous cuttings or by breaking off pieces from the root ball.

History

Upon discovery in 1737, Dutchman Frederic Gronovius named this beautiful flower after Dr. Traugott Gerber. Historically, speculation remains as to why this event occurred. Gerber was born in Zodel, Oberlaustiz--lower Silesia, now the Polish border--in 1710. His medical studies began in 1730 and once completed, he practiced in Moscow. From 1735 until 1742, the year before his death, Gerber practiced and taught medicine and was director of the oldest botanical garden in Moscow. From 1739 to 1741, Gerber led expeditions to search for medicinal plants and herbs in Russia. How the path of Grovonius and Gerber crossed remains a mystery.

Popularity

In 1991, the gerbera daisy was ranked the fifth-best-selling flower in the world at Dutch auctions. Being No. 5 behind roses, carnations, chrysanthemums and tulips is a position of honor. The white gerbera daisy, symbolizing purity and innocence, mixes well with almost every flower that comes to mind, whether marrying into a single color bouquet or arrangement or adding contrast. Without a doubt, it is a singular beauty on its own.

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About this Author

Linda Marie was first published in 1969 while a feature news writer for the "Selfridge Flyer". She has held positions in broadcast copywriting, trade magazine publications, retail advertising and medical marketing. She earned a Bachelor of Arts in English from Oakland University, Rochester, Mich.