How to Care for and Grow Gerbera Daisies
From soil to sunlight, here's what you need to know about growing these colorful flowers like a professional.
If you're a fan of big, colorful flowers, then chances are you've come across a gerbera daisy or two in your day. Also known as Transvaal daisies, gerberas originate from South Africa and come in an array of eye-catching hues, including orange, pink, and yellow, making them a popular pick for any size or style of garden. "Gerbera daisies are exuberant and playful," says landscape architect Janice Parker. "The symmetry of the flower is perfection. The soft texture of the petals will make you want to touch them."
In addition to being bold and bright, gerbera daisies are much bigger than traditional daisies, too. "The flowers can measure two to two and a half inches across," Parker says. "There are single and double varieties available. They have a tall, slim stalk and the deep green leaves are spread out nicely on the stems—much lower than the flower, which adds the elegance of form. The leaves are rugged, deeply notched with cut lobes."
Plant gerbera daisies in full sun.
Gerbera daisies bloom in the late spring and early summer and require plenty of sunlight to grow. "They need full sun to grow but do not like extreme heat," explains Benjamin Godfrey, garden manager at Cornerstone Sonoma. If high temperatures are common in your geographic location, then he suggests planting your gerberas in partial shade to protect them from damage.
Remember to water your gerbera daisies accordingly.
Gerberas thrive in moist, fertilized soil, which is why Godfrey says they need to be watered and drained regularly. "Plant them so the crown is a half-inch above the soil line in a well-draining site," he says. "In warmer months, water gerbera daisies regularly, about once a week when the top inch or two of soil is dry-to-touch. In colder winter months, water them less frequently, about once a month."
Bring gerbera daisies inside if it gets too cold.
If you live in a warmer, southern climate, Parker says it's fine to leave your gerbera daisies in the ground over the winter, as long as they have a protective cover like mulch. However, these plants don't fare well in cold temperatures, so in colder climates, they might need to be brought inside. "In northern areas, you should take it out of the ground in the fall, pot it up, and enjoy it indoors," she says.
Fertilize gerbera daisies the summer.
When warmer weather arrives, Godfrey suggests fertilizing your gerbera daisies with organic compost to help them grow. "In the summer, feed them monthly by adding organic compost around the roots," he says. "Remove some of the bunched center leaves to allow in more light if they are getting bushy."
Set gerbera daisies straight-up after you cut them.
If you plan on using your home-grown gerberas in your next bouquet, Parker recommends keeping them upright as soon as you cut them. "One issue with gerbera daisies is that the heads can droop and the stems can bend once you put them in water," she says. "Make sure that they stand upright from the beginning; do not lie them down even for a short time."