Gerbera daisies (Gerbera jamesonii) are tropical perennials originally from Africa and Madagascar, much loved for their large, brightly colored, daisy-like flowers that can reach 4 inches across. The flowers have yellow centers surrounded by rays of red, orange, yellow, pink and salmon. Because they cannot tolerate freezing temperatures, gerberas are usually grown as annuals, but they can be brought indoors over the winter. They do well in pots or in the ground. Plants usually live three to four years.
Gerbera daisies flower best in a sunny spot, though in hot climates, they can tolerate light shade. Plant them where they get at least 6 hours a day of direct sunlight. If you have been keeping them as houseplants, you might want to let them acclimate outdoors in a shady spot for a week or so before planting them in their permanent sunny place.
The gerbera plant consists of a rosette of long, pointed leaves at the base surrounding the flower stem, which can rise to 18 inches tall. Be sure to place the crown of the plant above the soil when you plant them. Planting too deeply can lead to rot.
Water enough throughout the summer to keep the soil around the plants moist but not soggy, which can cause the plants to rot, and water around the base of the plant, not into the rosette of leaves. Too much moisture can be deadly.
To promote flowering, fertilize gerberas during the summer with a weak liquid fertilizer every two weeks and pull off dead flowers. This stimulates the plant to create new ones. It’s also a good idea to pull off dead leaves to prevent fungus infections.
If you want to keep your plants indoors over the winter, dig them up well before freezing temperatures arrive and plant them in a free-draining soil mix. Do not fertilize over the winter, and water only when the soil is quite dry.