Gerbera - Barberton Daisy


Gerbera jamesonii

Top Tips

  • Keep the soil evenly moist whilst in flower, using lukewarm water and the bottom-up method of irrigation. Reduce the frequency of irrigations slightly over the autumn and winter months, to avert the promotion of persistent droughts. 
  • Average room humidity is acceptable for Gerbera - never situate it within three metres of an operating heat source due to the high risk of dehydration.
  • Bright, indirect light is best. A splash of winter sunlight for an hour is highly beneficial to counteract the darker days and longer nights.
  • Supplement fortnightly using a potassium-based feed whilst in bloom, reverting back to a general plant fertiliser at monthly intervals, soon after.
  • Scroll down to the 'Dormancy Care' section to learn about annualising blooms.
  • Transplant every three years during the spring, using a houseplant potting mix and the next sized pot.

∙Water - 🔸🔸🔸

Allow half of the soil to dry out in between irrigations during the spring and summer, while reducing this further in the colder months. Only hydrate the plant using the bottom-up method, as splashing the flowers and leaves will result in diseases such as botrytis petal blight, southern blight and basal rot. Place the plant on a saucer one water around a quarter deep, until thorough absorption. You may have to repeat this twice a week if needs be, especially with those grown in bright, warm locations. Under-watering symptoms include rapid flower loss and dry, crispy leaves - these issues are usually due to either forgetfulness, too much sunlight or too much heat. Even though an under-watered Gerbera is far better than a soggy one, never allow the soil to thoroughly dry out for too long as this could reduce the chance of new buds forming. Over-watering symptoms include rotting lower leaves, yellowing leaves, a loss of buds & flowers and root or crown rot. Allow most of the soil to dry out in between waters and prevent a pool of standing water accumulate beneath the pot.


∙Humidity - 🔸🔸🔸

Average room humidity is more than enough to occupy a Gerbera, as too high humidity and poor air circulation will result in powdery mildew. Over-misting those grown in darker locations or a bathroom is always a bad idea; diseases such as leaf-spot disease as powdery mildew are only around the corner if excess moisture is allowed to sit on the leaves or flowers. Botrytis is caused when excess moisture is allowed to settle on the flowers that can spread quickly if not dealt with accordingly. For those displaying signs of this, be sure to click on the link below to learn how to address them.

Identifying Common Houseplant Pests & Diseases


∙Location & Light - 🔸🔸🔸

A location with little to no direct light is the ideal setting for this species. Shady locations must be avoided at all costs due to the heightened chance of over-watering and crown rot (when watered from above). If you're worried about its location being too dark, if a newspaper can be read while having your back towards the light source, you're good to go.

In terms of the ideal room around the house, as long as the desired location is above 15ºC (59ºF) and is at least four metres away from an operating heat source, it should be accepted. a north, east or west-facing windowsill is great, but try not to place it in direct sunlight where a chocolate bar would melt within thirty minutes.


∙Fertilisation - 🔸

Use a fertiliser high in potassium to prolong its flowers during the festive period - an excellent example would be a Tomato Feed. Regular fertilisers, for instance, BabyBio or Miracle-Gro, will still do the job but will favour foliar growth instead. For the rest of the year, a standard fertiliser can be used to supplement the plant.




Common Issues with Gerbera

Over-watering is the biggest issue, with typical signs of this include brown leaves with soft spots on the underside of the leaves, basal/crown rot or powdery mildew forming in the centre. Not only do you have to be mindful of these problems, but also have a think about which plant parts to keep dry. Its central crown must also remain dry at all times to prevent the development of basal rot or mildew. Avoid waterlogging; there's no point fulfilling the ukhouseplants' phrase, 'drenches in between near-droughts' if the base of the pot is submerged, as root rot will arise. For any more information about over-watering related issues, be sure to click on this link.

Too much sunlight will lead to sun scorch, with typical signs including browning or crispy leaves, dry leaf-edges, sunken leaves or stunted growth Although too little light will cause over-watering issues, too much sunlight will negatively affect the plant as well. A location that offers over two hours of sunlight a day will bring the optimum growth for the Gerbera. If yours has fallen short of this issue, reduce the amount of sunlight considerably and always be mindful of environmental shock (when too locations offer too different growing conditions). Remove some of the affected leaves and increase irrigations slightly. Only hydrate the plant using the bottom-up method.

As mentioned before, powdery mildew and botrytis are major threats among heavy foliaged plants due to the compact nature that aids the spread of the diseases. Watering above the foliage will allow excess moisture to sit in the cubbyholes of the stem, enticing harmful bacteria to thrive. Remove the affected areas and improve the growing conditions by situating the plant in a brighter location with the use of the bottom-up method of irrigation.

Over-supplementing a Gerbera will bring nothing but grief in the likes of yellowing leaves and weak, dramatic growth. Although a monthly feed is an excellent way to promote healthy growth, the combination of dry soil and sharp chemicals will quickly lead to the burning of roots. The best advice for this issue is to pre-moisten the soil beforehand; not only will this remove the chemical-edge found in fertilisers, but it will also adversely remove the chance of damaging the roots.

A lack of flowers is caused by a insufficient dormancy period, served in the winter months. Locations that offer near-similar temperatures all year round won't allow the plant to go dormant, resulting in poor spring growth. To achieve, situate in a location that dips to around 12°C  (54°F) with fewer waters. Allow the majority of the compost to dry out and provide a humidity tray while the radiators are operating.




Dormancy Care & Annual Flowers

Trying to re-flower a Gerbera isn't the easiest of tasks, but those that have a cool room without artificial light at night will be on the upper-hand. Repotting isn't usually mandatory if you want it to re-bloom - in fact, this may hurt the chances. Only repot every two to three years and after the blooming has finished. To get it to flower in the spring or summer months, think back to its previous dormancy period served in the winter. The following steps should be done at the start of autumn until the tail-end of winter, during their dormancy.


Light

Be sure to provide a bright location with no direct sunlight over the course of the year. Although the sunlight won't necessarily hurt the plant, you can easily fall in the trap of under-watering, potentially weakening the plant. In order for the Gerbera to fully become seasoned, avoid the use of artificial lighting during the autumn and winter nights.

Hydration

Reduce irrigations so that the majority of the soil becomes dry. Remember, they should only be watered from the bottom-up as rotting foliage are a common issue with cooler temperatures.

Occasional Feeds

While it's bloom, use a Tomato fertiliser to provide a nourishment of potassium. During the dormancy period, only supplement once or twice to carry it through until the following spring, using a general houseplant fertiliser. 

Reduce Everything

This one is to remind you that everything needs to be reduced - especially the temperature.

Temperature

This is the most significant step - keep the temperature within 12 - 15℃  (53 - 59℉) throughout spring, until buds form in late summer. It'll be highly unlikely for Gerberas to sufficiently bloom when the ambient temperatures are kept the same all year around, so we can't empathise the importance of temperature.



Origins

Gerbera is a perennial genus consisting of thirty-eight species, originating from South Africa and neighbouring countries. The genus was discovered by Carl Linnaeus who named it in honour of Traugott Gerber - a German botanist and medical doctor during the eighteenth century.

Did you know that Gerbera came third in NASA's Clean Air Study back in 1989. They introduced unnatural amounts of benzene, formaldehyde, and trichloroethylene into a enclosed environment to see if 33 tested plants can naturally remove them from the surroundings. Lady Palms, Parlour PalmsPeace Lilies & Chrysanthemums came out on top, removing all of the toxins and even others such as ammonia and xylene.


Temperature

5°C - 25°C   (41° - 78°F)
H1b - can be grown outdoors in spring and summer in a sheltered location, but is fine to remain indoors. If you decide to bring this houseplant outdoors, do not allow it to endure more than an hour of direct sunlight a day as this will burn the leaves. Regularly keep an eye out for pests, especially when re-introducing it back into the home.


Spread

Up to 0.3m in height and 0.4m in width, with the ultimate height taking between 4 - 6 years to achieve.


Pruning

Remove yellowed or dying leaves and plant debris to encourage better growth and improve the all-round appearance. Pruning must be done with clean scissors or shears to reduce the chance of bacterial and fungal diseases; remember to make clean incisions as too much damage can shock the plant. Remove the flowers as they elapse to prevent the chance of spreading diseases. 


Propagation

Via seed or offset division. To learn about the essentials with sowing seeds, be sure to click on this link - Seed Propagation Tips.

For the latter propagation method, take division cuttings once the new growth appears in springtime. Divide the rootstock into several sections, all with at least one growth bud attached. While the plantlet is still young, avoid direct sunlight and water-logging - use a well-draining potting mix like Multi-purpose Compost for the best chance of survival.


Flowers

Gerberas are a tender perennial, meaning that as long as the temperature doesn't dip below 5°C, it should rebook in the following spring or summer. The genus can be split in four group, based off the flowers' morphology; single, double, crested double and full-crested doubles. The primary difference between the groups is to do with the amount of petal rows on each flower head. Fo reference, the most common Gerbera, the G. jamesonii, is a single-crested flower.
Did you know that the Gerbera is the 5th most cut flower in the world; narrowly being out-placed by Chrysanthemums, Roses, Carnations and Anthuriums.


Repotting

Repot every three years in the spring using Houseplant compost with added perlite or grit, whilst the plant isn't in bloom. For matured specimens, introduce more grit to promote a stronger root ball as well as the reduction of potential root rot; click on this link for more information on how to perform the perfect transplant.


Diseases & Pests

Common diseases with this species are root or crown rot, leaf-spot disease and powdery mildew. Keep an eye out for spider mite, thrips, aphids & mealybugs. For more info on how to address any of these issues, hit this link.  Identifying Common Houseplant Pests & Diseases


Toxicity

Not known to be poisonous by consumption of pets and humans. If high quantities are eaten, it may result in vomiting, nausea and a loss of appetite.


Retail Locations

Some florists & Online Stores. Specimens are likely to be found in summer outside at most garden centres; it's not advised to bring outdoor plants inside as this could lead to environmental shock with the risk of introducing pests into the home.

Comments
* The email will not be published on the website.