Short Characheristics

Gerbera is a genus of plants in the steraceae (daisy family), ative to South Africa and are also found in the wild in Madagascar and Asia. It is a flowering perennial plant related to the sunflower and attracts birds, bees and butterflies. It is also often used as an ornamental plant when deer are a problem, as they will not eat it.

This species are highly variable in terms of leaf structure and inflorescence color. It is a stemless perennial herb with a basal rosette of leaves emerging from a silky crown. The cylindrical roots are thick and fleshy. Leaves are very variable in shape, size, petiole length and indumentum (covering of hairs).

They grow on grasslands, rocky slopes, the veldt and in sandy soils. They thrive in full sun or partial shade in tropical, subtropical and temperate climates and are very tolerant of infertile soils but do not like temperatures below about 7 degrees C. Gerbera needs a well-drained soil in a sunny spot in the garden. It responds well to a standard fertiliser. Prolong the blooms outdoors by dead-heading.

In pots indoors, it is best grown in an equal mixture of peat, compost and sand. It is prone to aphids, so use a pesticide outdoors and indoors and wash the leaves with mild soapy water once a month to keep pests away

Gerbera is very popular and widely used as a decorative garden plant or as cut flowers. The domesticated cultivars are mostly a result of a cross between Gerbera jamesonii and another South African species Gerbera viridifolia.

Flower stalks (up to 35 cm) emerge from the crown and bear a single inflorescence (flowera) which is up to 5 cm in diameter. The ray florets are commonly white with a pinkish underside, or more unusually, yellow, with a coppery underside. The pappus hairs, which give the daisy centre its colour, may be deep purple or cream. Flowers occur mainly from September to December but may be found throughout the year.