Also called gerber daisy, the gerbera daisy is a flowering indoor and warm-weather outdoor plant in the aster family. The plants are small, usually no more than 18 inches high, and they are full of colorful daisy-shaped blooms that can last for months. Gerbera daisies have been hybridized for hundreds of years, so a huge variety of flower colors is available, with single-colored and mixed bloom plants. Starting gerbera daisies from seed can be tricky because these are such delicate plants, but the resulting long-lasting, beautiful blooms are worth the effort.
Fill plug flats with a very light potting mix to germinate the seeds. A good mix to use is 60% peat moss with 20% perlite and 20% vermiculite.
Choose gerbera daisy seeds that are fresh and have a fat seed pod. The seeds resemble brooms, with a long thin seeds at the bottom and a feather brush at the top. Sow the seeds shallowly, with one seed per plug. The seeds should be sown upright, with the tips of the brush part just barely covered with soil.
Keep the soil very warm and moist while the seeds are germinating. Germination can take up to 20 days. A sunny window with a plastic cover over the seeds is enough for indoor sowing, as long as the seeds get about 8 hours of sun a day and the temperature never falls below 68 F.
Remove the plastic cover when the seedlings emerge, but make sure they’re protected from drafts, and water them daily to make sure the soil stays very moist.
Fill some larger pots with a mix of 30% peat moss, 30% compost and 30% vermiculite. Transplant the gerbera seedlings into the pots when they have 4 or 5 true leaves. Transplant them by removing the whole soil plug from the plug flat and burying it in the larger pot. Handle the seedlings very gently when transplanting them, and touch the roots as little as possible.
Leave the pots indoors until the seedlings start to grow again after transplanting. The shock of the move can slow the daisies’ growth for a short time. If you want to move them outside, wait until it’s warm and set them in a protected area for a few days to harden them off before moving them to the garden.