Gerbera (70 photos): types and care
Few people know that the multi-colored “daisies” decorating window sills, shop windows and gift bouquets are not daisies, not calendula or even chrysanthemums, but tropical gerberas. They are distinguished by rich and bright color of petals, large flowers and a long flowering period, thanks to which they enjoy a special arrangement of florists. Depending on the variety and growing conditions, the gerbera can be either a garden or a houseplant. High decorativeness, stability and durability of this flower make it the center of any composition, be it a luxurious garland, an arch or just a boutonniere..
Description of gerbera
Like many other flowers, gerberas were brought to Europe from the South African colonies. Their natural habitat is Madagascar, Zimbabwe, Mauritius and other countries of this region. The name of the plant was given by the botanist-discoverer Jan Gronovius in honor of his colleague Traugott Gerber. Later, French and Dutch growers began to call these bright daisies “transvaal daisies”.
Gerbera belongs to the Aster family and is a perennial plant. In the first year of growth from seeds, the bush does not bloom, but in the next few years it pleases with abundant and durable bouquets. Gerbera leaves are dark green in shape and resemble a cross between plantain and dandelion. They are collected in a basal rosette, from the center of which bare stems up to 65 cm high appear. One flower blooms on each stem, the diameter of which depends on the variety and can range from 5-15 cm, large-flowered – up to 30 cm.
Chamomile gerberas can be of any color, excluding the blue-blue palette. There are also terry varieties – they are characterized by transitions of shades from the center to the edges, and the flowers themselves are very similar to asters. Cut gerberas stay fresh for a long time, so they are widely used for bouquets and festive decor. They can stand in water for up to 20 days..
Room gerbera care
Blooming gerberas in a pot are an excellent gift and a great addition to any decor. Such a present will no doubt be appreciated by lovers of living plants who do not like cut buds. But even in this form, after a few weeks, the bright inflorescences wither, and only a rosette of leaves remains. However, proper care will help to resume flowering – you just need to provide comfortable conditions and wait a little..
Watering – this is something without which not a single indoor flower will survive, except, perhaps, cacti. For gerbera, moderate moisture is suitable as the topsoil dries. The water should be settled, at room temperature (+ 20C). Spraying is needed only in case of dry air, for example, near a battery or too hot summer. It is recommended to choose a fine dispersion nebulizer so that not large droplets are formed, but a light cloud of fog.
Temperature, which a room gerbera needs is +20 … + 24C, and in winter – not lower than + 14C. In the cold period, the plant is dormant, it can be watered less often, and should not be fed and transplanted. With increased heat and humidity, new buds do not appear. The most natural time for gerbera blooming is the off-season periods of early spring and early autumn, although when the necessary climate is created, exotic daisies will open at any convenient time..
Lighting gerberas in a pot should be slightly diffused – direct rays of the sun, especially through glass, have a detrimental effect on flowers and leaves. It is advisable to place the plant on the east or west windowsill, and on the south side, the light can be softened with tulle, translucent curtains or light blinds. Gerbera buds need about 12 hours of sunshine a day to bloom..
Fertilizers for “transvaal chamomile” you will need a minimum amount and only two types – nitrogen when growing green mass (in February and July – August) and potash during the flowering period. As a rule, the preparations are diluted in water and the soil in a pot is watered with a weak solution. Organic additives must not be added, since a tropical plant may die from them..
Transplant Gerberas are recommended once a year. The pot should not be too large – only 2–4 cm larger than the previous one, so that the plant does not waste resources on the growth of unnecessary roots. After the base drainage layer, light peat-deciduous soil should be poured into the container, it is possible with the addition of sand and agroperlite (or small foam balls) as a baking powder. After 3-4 years, the gerbera stops blooming, but forms new shoots that can be rooted separately. Also, when transplanting, the plant can be divided into 2-4 parts, depending on the size.
How to grow gerberas outdoors
Being a South African plant, gerbera does not tolerate winter well in temperate latitudes. Here it is, rather, a home and greenhouse flower, but if you wish, you can try to grow it in the open field. There are only two ways to achieve this goal – to prepare seedlings or to keep last year’s sprouts in a “dormant” state, which is not always possible.
Growing gerbera seedlings is a rather lengthy process. Seeds are traditionally sown in a container with soil, watered abundantly and often, then they need to create long-term lighting, air circulation and a positive temperature of about 25C. When 2-3 leaves appear, the sprouts dive into separate pots, after which careful care is required (watering, light, fertilizers). It should be remembered that the first buds begin to appear only 10 months after germination, which means that the gerbera should be sown around the middle of summer, and almost a year later, in May – June, the seedlings can be transferred to an open flower bed. The soil for it should be very light, leafy-peaty, without admixture of humus or compost.
After the end of flowering, but always before the frost begins (that is, at the end of October, November), the gerbera bushes should be watered a little and dug out together with an earthen clod. It is recommended to store the rhizome in a dark, humid room at a temperature of + 14C, wrapped in foil. It is permissible to plant a plant outdoors only with the onset of steadily warm weather, when the nighttime thermometer value does not drop below + 15C. Garden gerberas should grow on the sunny side, but not under the scorching rays – a small shade from trees, bushes or fences will do them good.
On dry days, exotic chamomiles need additional watering at the root. For this procedure, evening or morning hours are suitable, when the sun is not yet so active. Prolonged rains and cold can inhibit flowering, but good drainage of the soil will save the gerbera from waterlogging, which is destructive for it. To do this, the soil should contain sand, crushed charcoal, small shells, perlite or other leavening agents..
Most diseases and pests in gerbera are due to cold and excessive moisture, so the first step to save the flower is to remove the damaged areas and transplant it in a comfortable environment, closer to warmth and light, and in addition use suitable fertilizers and growth stimulants. Careful attention to the plant will pay off handsomely when a real bouquet of bright red, pink, yellow or orange daisies opens up in a green basket of leaves, and this flowering will last 2-3 months twice a year.
Gerbera – photo
For aesthetic enjoyment, we offer you a selection of photographs with these delightful colors. You will be able to see how unusual gerberas can be, different in shape and color. We wish you pleasant viewing and inspiration!