The most commonly cultivated species is the Gerbera jamesonii. This species is native to the Transval region, in South Africa, it can reach the height of 50-60 cm and the diameter of 60 cm.
The leaves of the gerbera jamesonii are lobed, internally tormented, green-glaucous on the upper page, downy white on the lower page; they are about 20-40 cm long. The flowers are numerous, isolated, of a scarlet orange colour, wide even 10-12 cm. The flowering period is from May to September. It grows in bushes.
There are many varieties and hybrids on the market, both with single and double flowers, with delicate colors and brighter colors.
Family and gender
Asteraceae , Jan. Gerbera (contains about 100 species)
Type of plant
Deciduous, lively herbaceous perennials
Sun or half shade
White, yellow, pink, red, orange
Summer to autumn. It can be forced.
Seed, division, root cutting
The plant is small in size. The leaves start from the base and are medium green lanceolate. As the season progresses, the older leaves run out and are replaced by new ones, which in the first few days are light and covered with thick down. The flower stems are bare, rising from the base and can reach up to 60 cm. The flower has the typical daisy shape, but very regular. The sepals are pointed and the corolla can be single or double.
At the centre there is a ring more or less wide of stamens, extremely decorative. The flower is found in many colors: white, yellow, red, pink, fuchsia and purple and also a pale green.
- The gerbera is one of the most popular and appreciated flowering plants: it can be used both for interior decoration (with an adequate exposure), and to embellish balconies, terraces or flowerbeds,…
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There are three flowers but two are closing… how should I deal with this type of plant? is the first jar I buy to keep at home…
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the gerberas can be grown outdoors, in regions with a mild climate throughout the year, or in special containers in colder regions.
The important thing is to place them in a sunny and well sheltered position; if, during the winter period, they are withdrawn inside, it is necessary to place them in illuminated areas, where the temperature does not fall below 5-7 degrees.
In any case, the soil must be well drained, light and sandy. Fertilisation should normally be carried out in spring.
occurs from the end of spring to the end of summer. It is also possible to obtain winter blooms; to this end it is necessary to stop watering in May, thus favouring the rest of the plant during the summer period, and then, in September, fertilize and resume watering, constantly and abundantly the plant, so as to stimulate the resumption of vegetative growth.
Multiplication: can be by seed, by cutting or by division. The cuttings must be obtained from non-fructiferous jets and must be placed in pots containing sandy soil during the spring. Also in the case of the multiplication by division, the practice to be followed is the same. If, on the contrary, the reproduction is by seed, already in February-March the seeds will be planted in the appropriate containers, initially of small size.
As the seedling grows, it will be taken care of to repot it in bigger containers.
should not be too frequent or abundant, as it is preferable for the soil to dry between watering. If watered too frequently or too abundantly, the gerbera becomes vulnerable to root rot.
Aphids can also compromise the health of the plant; in this case we recommend the use of one of the many aphids currently on the market.
These plants are native to most of Africa, Asia and South America. The specimens we find on the market are a cross between the jamesonii gerbera of Natal or Transvaal and the G. viridifolia del Capo. These hybrids were obtained in England by Lynch by the end of 1800.
The name derives from the German naturalist Traugott Gerber, friend of Linnaeus.
They are not very rustic plants and usually do not bear temperatures below 5°C. It is therefore advisable to grow them in the ground only where the winters are particularly mild. Elsewhere it is strongly recommended to keep them in a pot to withdraw them during the winter in a bright place.
However, when grown outdoors, it is always a good idea to offer them a good winter mulch consisting of leaves, manure and straw.
Gerberas love very bright and possibly ventilated positions. So in almost all of Italy it is better to give them a southern exposure. Positioning them in the middle of the shade can be recommended in the extreme south of the peninsula because the strong sun can cause leaf burns and the appearance of parasites such as the red spider.
The gerberas prefer sub-acidic soils and, in any case, draining and little calcareous. In fact, they are particularly susceptible to radical rottenness.
If we are growing them in the ground, it is therefore best to carefully evaluate our substratum and eventually replace it in the area where we are going to plant them. For further safety, a fairly thick layer of gravel can be placed at the bottom of the planting hole to help the water to drain off.
A further problem that could occur is leaf chlorosis, caused by a too calcareous soil and therefore with a high pH. You can try to remedy this by dusting the soil with ferrous sulphate or, in the most serious cases, proceed with the administration of products based on chelated iron.
Gerber trees are very sensitive to irrigation. It is therefore necessary to try to avoid water stagnation in any way, either by placing it in a suitable soil or by moderating the water supply.
In general they grow better in dry climates and therefore it would be better to avoid them if we live in mountainous or very humid areas.
To obtain a long flowering period, it is a good idea to administer every 15 days a liquid fertilizer for flowering plants with a high content of potassium and phosphorus. It is also possible to dilute it more by administering it with each irrigation.
Under normal conditions, gerberas bloom from May to the end of summer. When temperatures constantly drop below 10°C they enter the resting phase.
They can be forced if you want. To obtain flowering in winter, the irrigations must be suspended in April-May and stored in a cool place. It will resume to water them and to administer the fertilizer in autumn, placing them in a bright area and with temperatures constantly above 13 ° C. This will help the vegetative recovery and we will be able to have blooms even in the middle of winter.
Cultivation of gerberas in pots
The gerberas, in reality, are rarely cultivated in the gardens. It is actually more common to see them used as indoor plants. In fact, they are very pleasant both for their very elegant flowers and for their capacity to bloom for a long time and, forcing them, they can cheer us up even during the winter months.
They are usually sold in very small pots. If we want to make them live long it is advisable to put them in a container at least 25 cm deep. It is very important to create a good drainage layer at least two or three centimetres thick at the bottom. The soil should be light but not peaty. Ideally it should contain clays, pumice and perlite, but not too much peat.
It is absolutely better to avoid the saucer and water when the substrate will be dry even in depth.
These plants need, even inside, very bright positions so it is advisable to place them near a window or a source of direct light.
The reproduction of gerberas can be done in a variety of ways. Seed propagation is particularly difficult and is used almost exclusively for the production of new cultivars.
First of all, it is essential to use fresh seeds. In fact, in a short time they lose their vitality and risk not germinating.
The seed has a feather. It must be buried very little and the feather must be at ground level. A very light soil mixed with vermiculite or agri-perlinte should be used.
They should be sown in boxes or directly in alveoli (they don’t particularly like to be repicked) which should be kept slightly moist and at a temperature of about 15° C. They usually germinate in one or two weeks.
When they have reached a good development, they can be transferred in small pots of 8-10 cm of diameter and then planted when the roots will be clearly visible from the bottom of the pot.
The best time of year is autumn, but good results can also be achieved with spring sowing.
The most commonly used method, however, is the division of the heads. It is usually done at the end of winter or in August-September.
A healthy plant is extracted from the soil without damaging the roots. Then, we look for the young jets, we try to detach them from the mother plant and, finally, we cut them using a spade or a very sharp razor blade.
We suggest planting them initially in a pot, waiting for them to recover and begin to vegetate.
Afterwards, they can also be put in the open ground.
Another method of reproducing them may be to take a section of the rhizome from the mother plant. The important thing is that each part taken has capillary roots and at least one eye.
After taking them, they should be planted just below ground level. The soil must be very light and avoid water stagnation in order to facilitate rooting. The ideal, therefore, is that it is formed by a mixture of sand, peat and, possibly, agri-perlite.
The plant does not need much attention in this respect. During the vegetative period it is sufficient to remove the leaves that gradually wither. It is also necessary to remove the wilted flowers by simply pulling them to the side, without using leaves.
If the plant is in the ground, a seasonal cleaning is necessary at the end of autumn and the consequent mulching is necessary to overcome the winter period.
Pests and diseases of gerberas
Gerber can be attacked by many insects, but the most common are aphids. If the attack is not important you can intervene manually. If, on the other hand, it causes a significant debilitation of the plant, we can use pyrethrum-based products (also useful for other phytophagous insects).
More frequently, these plants are affected by rotten collars or radicals. In these cases, as we have already said, it is very important to prevent them by choosing the right substrate and using controlled irrigation.
However, if this should still happen, you can try to remedy it by administering products based on propamocarb or fosetyl aluminium.
It can also happen that the leaves are affected by powdery mildew. It usually happens during periods and in areas where the humidity of the air is very high and if there is little movement of air.
If the leaves are very damaged, it is certainly a good idea to remove them (to avoid further propagating the contagion). You can then intervene with systemic products against powdery mildew or, if there were only traces of infestation, with sulfur.
Care of cut flowers
In recent decades, the use of gerberas as cut flowers has become widespread. It is in fact much appreciated for the elegance of its flowers, very regular, for the variety of colors, for the length of the stem and because, if well treated, it can last very long in pots, even several weeks.
To keep our bouquet at its best, it’s important:
– Put it as soon as possible in a jar
– The water must be clean and therefore must be replaced frequently
– You can add to the water of the varechina or a specific product to increase the duration of the cut flowers
– Care must be taken when handling the stems as they could bend and this would shorten the life of the cut flower.
– Periodically, it is necessary to cut the base of the stems with a sharp scissor, removing the damaged part. The ideal is to make an oblique cut which, by increasing the surface in contact with water, facilitates the absorption of liquids.
The red gerbera is one of the most sought after varieties by lovers of flowers and gardening. On the market by florists and nurseries you can easily find yellow, orange, red and pink gerberas and the characteristics of the plants in different colors are the same.
To make our red gerbera shine, we must ensure that the plant has plenty of sunshine. The red gerbera is in fact a heliophilous plant which needs to be cultivated in sunny positions and in dry soils.
By ensuring these conditions to gerberas we will have a greater chance of ensuring our plants a beautiful and prolonged flowering.
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