The Gerbera daisy, also known as Transvaal daisy, is a perennial flowering plant native to Transvaal, South Africa. Winter hardy in USDA zones 9 through 11 only, the Gerbera daisy cannot tolerate freezing conditions and is typically grown as an annual throughout the rest of the country. Prized for its colorful blossoms, prolific blooming habit and ease of care, the Gerbera daisy is a popular bedding plant and often makes its home in cutting flower gardens. Long, leafless stems bear flowers about 6 inches above the plant's foliage. Blooms appear in shades of white, yellow, orange, pink, purple and red throughout summer.
Plant Gerbera daisy during mid-spring in a location that receives full morning sun and partial afternoon shade when temperatures peak. Apply a 2-inch layer of peat moss to the soil and use a garden tiller to work it into the soil to increase fertility and drainage to adequate levels. Space plants 12 to 18 inches apart.
Spread a 2-inch layer of organic mulch over the ground surrounding Gerbera daisies to insulate the soil and increase moisture retention. Begin the mulch at least 3 inches from the crown of the plants to allow enough air circulation.
Water once every seven days during spring and fall, allowing the soil to dry slightly between applications. Increase watering frequency during summer to once every five days, except on weeks that receive more than 2 inches of rainfall. Soak the soil to a depth of at least 2 inches at each application.
Feed Gerbera daisy plants using a complete 10-10-10 NPK fertilizer once per month during spring, summer and fall. Water before and after applying to reduce the risk of nitrogen burn or root injury. Apply according to the manufacturer's directions for the best results.
Remove dead or spent Gerbera daisy flowers to encourage the formation of new blossoms. Pinch off old flowers, including their stems, near the base of the plant to minimize shock and prevent damage. Continue until blooming ends.