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Symptoms of the Gerbera Virus

By Sheri Engstrom ; Updated September 21, 2017

The Gerbera Daisy jamesonii or African daisy has large flowers that look much like sunflowers. Gerbera daisies come in bright varieties of flower colors. The gerbera daisy was discovered in 1884 in South Africa by a Scotsman. The scientific name gerbera jamesonii comes from the name of the breeder Traugott Gerber. Its popularity soon hit the Netherlands, which is one of the primary distributors of the flower today. The gerbera currently ranks as the fifth most popular flower in the world behind the rose, carnation, chrysanthemum and tulip.

Every flower is susceptible to viruses, disease and pests. The gerbera daisy in no exception and has its types of problems

What is a Virus?

A virus is a non-living infectious, whose survival structure is called a viron. Viruses can manufacture millions of virons and it only takes a few to infect a plant. They are dependent upon their host plant to multiply and move throughout the plant. There are no chemicals that can kill a virus; a plant will remain infected for its entire life.

Viruses can gain entrance into greenhouses through three main routes: infected plants, people and insect vectors. Some viruses are seed-borne and these plants become infected right after germination. Good greenhouse management should help alleviate the first two risks. A person who enters a greenhouse can also introduce viruses with contaminated hands or clothing. Insect vectors can arrive with or without a virus yet still create issues. They can acquire a virus from an infected plant and spread it to healthy plants.

Symptoms of the (TSWV/INSV) Viruses

There are two main viruses that affect gerbera daisies. The tomato spotted wilt virus (TSWV) and the impatiens necrotic spot viruses (INSV), formerly known as TSWV. However, the INSV is now thought to be a different virus. Symptoms vary depending on the plant. The virus interferes with normal growth and can cause changes in the leaves, such as stunting, deformation and irregular dark or light spots. On petals it causes discoloration, texture and shape deformations. Symptoms are often most severe in the shoot tips as viruses tend to move to the growing points first. Viruses can cause stunting of the whole floral crop.

Symptoms of Crown and Root Rot

Viruses cause many diseases in plants as well. Crown and Root Rot is one that is very susceptible and can cause serious losses in gerbera daisies. Plants don’t grow and remain noticeably smaller. The leaves develop an evident off color from normal plants. The plant can become infected where the leaves attach causing the leaf to die. As the disease progresses, it will cause the entire plant to wilt and eventually die. If you look at a plant with this disease, the root ball will be very discolored and deteriorated.


There are many meanings associated with the gerbera that make it so popular. They are a classic symbol of beauty and an added meaning of cheerfulness. The large number of varieties available has helped it become a favorite choice for many occasions. Consult a plant guide or call your local nursery if you think you have an infected plant.



About the Author


Sheri Engstrom has been writing for 15 years. She is currently a gardening writer for Demand Studios. Engstrom completed the master gardener program at the University of Minnesota Extension service. She is published in their book "The Best Plants for 30 Tough Sites." She is also the online education examiner Minneapolis for Examiner.com.