Gerbera daisy plants in bloom.
image by Sakurai Midori:commons.wikimedia.org
Gerber daisies are tender tropical flowering perennial plants that are grown as annuals and as temporary indoor plants in cooler climates. Native to Africa, gerber daisies are hardy in USDA zones 9a through 11 and thrive in the sun. They produce large, brightly hued blooms on long, thin, cyclindrical light green stems that hover over slightly furry leaves. They are planted in garden beds, borders and containers and are often massed for a carpet effect.
Select a planting location that will provide at least 5 hours of daily sun exposure but is somewhat protected from temperature extremes. Grow gerberas in the temperature zone they prefer (between 45 and 70 degrees Fahrenheit). Above or below this zone they will cease to bloom or be damaged by blackening foliage.
Maintain and drain soil around the roots well, and when replanting or amending the soil use a commercial potting mix with a high percentage of peat moss.
Water gerberas so that their soil is kept uniformly moist but not sopping wet. Consistently overly wet soil will cause crown rot that will kill the plant or bring on mildew. Water with room temperature or tepid water.
When growing gerbera indoors temporarily during the summer or winter as a flowering houseplant, mist just the leaves of the plant several times a week with water to raise the humidity level and reduce stress on the plant.
Fertilize gerber daisy plants all through their active growing and flowering cycle. Use a general purpose water soluble flowering plant formulation such as MiracleGro or Schultz's. Feed your gerberas every two weeks over soil that is already wet from watering to prevent burn to the roots.
Harvest gerber daisy blooms for cut flowers by cutting them at the base of the stem. Deadhead or prune back faded flowers at the base of the stem to encourage repeat bloom. Regularly inspect the plant for damaged or diseased flowers or foliage immediately, cutting away and discarding any that you find.