172 Gerbera JamesoniiCommon Names: Gerber daisy, Transvaal daisy, Barberton daisy, African daisy Family: Asteraceae (aster/daisy Family)
Huge brilliantly-colored flowers are the hallmark of this tender perennial. The spectacular flowers resemble large daisies with a golden center surrounded by one or more ranks of “petals” (actually ray flowers). In nature these ray flowers range in color from yellow to deep orange but selected varieties extend the color palette to include white, cream, pink, red, crimson and even violet. Both single and double forms are available. Flowers range in size from 2.5 to 4 inch diameters and are held on 12 to 18 inch stems. The coarse leaves are 8 to 10 inches in length and are arranged in a rosette forming low mounds that are about 12 inches wide.
Gerbera jamesonii, the gerber daisy, is a native of the Transvaal region of South Africa.
CultureThis long-rooted plant likes deep, well-drained loam or sandy soil. Plant about 1 foot apart in beds. Fertilize frequently throughout summer to encourage blooming. Soggy conditions and soil in the crown will cause gerbers to rot - do not plant too deeply. Light: Full sun. Will tolerate light shade Moisture: Water during dry periods. Hardiness: USDA Zones 9 - 11. Can tolerate some frost but freezing temperatures will kill plant to the roots. Gerber daisies are becoming popular with gardeners in colder zones where they are grown in the garden as an annual or dug up, potted, and overwintered indoors. Propagation: Propagate by division of clumps. Seeds will work too, but plants will vary wildly in form and color.
For obvious reasons this plant is popular as a bedding and container plant in all parts of Florida and in other warm climate areas as well. Match gerbers of a single color with other bedding plants of similar or complementary hue. I have a bed of bright yellow gerbers planted among blue Stokes' aster that explodes into a glorious blanket of color every April. The asters are gone by May but their deep green foliage provides the perfect background for the yellow gerbers who keep the display going until first frost. For gardeners "up north", there's nothing like a pot of blooming gerbers to brighten up a winter window sill. (The cultivar, 'Happy Pot' has shorter flower stems and is perfect for indoor containers.)
Gerber daisies are prolific, sturdy, and available in a spectacular palette of colors - this is one of our finest perennials for long-lasting cut flowers.
Steve Christman 04/02/99 7/23/07, 9/26/10