Gerbera daisies are a tender perennial, but are most often grown as an annual in beds and borders. A tropical flower, Gerbera have large and colorful petals with a brightly-colored center. Each flower grows on a bare stem, making them much desired in cut flower arrangements. Gerbera is hardy in USDA growing zones 9 and 10 but cannot survive the cold winters in lower zones. Growing from seed each year is an inexpensive way to introduce Gerbera to your garden.
Prepare seedling pots 10 weeks before the last expected spring frost in your area. Fill the pots with a quality seed-starting soil mix to within 1 inch of the pot's rim.
Water the soil in each pot until it is evenly moist throughout. Wet until water comes out the drainage holes on bottom then let the pot sit for 4-6 hours so the potting medium has a chance to absorb the moisture.
Sow three to five seeds directly on the soil surface. Gently press them into the soil with your fingers or the back of a spoon, but do not cover them with soil as they need light to germinate.
Cover the top of the pot with clear plastic wrap. Place in a warm, sunny window or under grow lights to germinate, which takes approximately 7-14 days.
Remove the plastic once sprouts appear. Keep the soil moist and provide between six and eight hours of sunlight or 10-12 hours of artificial light a day.
Thin the seedlings once they produce their second set of leaves. Cut off the weaker seedlings at soil level using sharp scissors, leaving only one strong seedling per pot.
Transplant the Gerbera daisy seedlings outdoors once night time temperatures are at least 40 degrees in spring. Alternately, transplant to a larger pot and set the pots outdoors after the first blooming period.