Gerbera daisies come in such bright colors, with such perfectly formed flowers that they often don’t look real! Here’s how to grow Gerbera daisies.
I’ve received Gerbera daisies in little pots as a gift a few times and I’m so glad I was introduced to this super cheerful flower. They’re not something I would normally look for, but once you get the hang of growing them, they’re so rewarding and fun to have on your porch all summer. Here in zone 6, Gerberas are considered an annual, although they do grow as a perennial in zones 9-11, I hear. Because of our cooler springs and shorter growing season, most people in my area just buy Gerberas already growing in pots, so my expertise in mainly in keeping potted Gerberas happy and blooming all summer long, which as I’ve learned, can be a bit tricky because they have some specific preferences. Here’s how to grow Gerbera daisies!
Gerbera Daisies Light Requirements and Ideal Growing Locations
Gerberas kind of fascinate me because they react in a way that’s so unlike a lot of plants that grow around here. Because of their big, bold blooms, I would automatically think that they love heat and sun, and that they’re probably great contenders if you’re looking for something drought-tolerant for a really sunny side of your house. Like me, if you try this, you’ll probably learn within a day or so that this is not at all the case. Despite their bold look, Gerberas are actually quite sensitive… to everything.
They don’t mind the heat and don’t want to be too cold, but they also really dislike more than a little bit of sun. I find just a couple of hours of late-day sun in OK, but anything more than that and the leaves start to wilt and shrivel up. Even mid-day sun reflected off a nearby building might be too much for Gerberas. Place them somewhere warm, but somewhere that they’ll be protected from any direct sun for most of the day. I keep them on the front porch because we don’t get a whole lot of sun on that side of the house until evening. The side porch is an absolute no-go.
Other Gerbera Dislikes
Wind is a big no-thank-you for Gerberas. Even something that I would classify as a steady breeze is too much. Just like with too much sun, the big leaves start to shrivel up and lose their healthy vibrancy pretty quickly if there’s anything ruffling them up, even just a bit. My perfect no-wind spot is on the porch, right up next to the door, with one Adirondack chair screening the wind from one side, and my big potted fern shielding it from the other side and I did the same thing last year too. They seem to recover within a day or so once I move them out of the wind. These petals got a little too much chilly wind and just decided to pack it in completely. 🙂
Heavy Rain or Storms
A lot of summer plants love a good downpour and will bounce right back from their beaten-down states as soon as it stops raining. Gerberas look strong, but their stems are actually quite delicate and a heavy summer rain can break all of your blooming stems and force you to have to cut back all the blooms completely. Stronger, storm-like winds can have this dramatic effect on them too.
So while Gerberas do need to be watered daily, they want you to do it for them with the gentle sprinkle from your watering can, preferably with a bit of plant food every 2 weeks or so. They want to be completely protected from storms though.
It sounds like a lot of work just for one plant, but it’s amazing to see just how much Gerberas give back when they have the right care and conditions in place. They just keep pumping out perfect bloom after perfect bloom, and even if you’ve had to cut all your blooms back, the broad, dark green leaves are so beautiful on their own and the blooms come back quickly. They really do look almost too perfect to be real.
Has your experience with Gerberas been similar to mine? What little tricks have you learned to keep them extra happy?
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Courtenay Hartford is the author of creeklinehouse.com, a blog based on her adventures renovating a 120-year-old farmhouse in rural Ontario, Canada. On her blog, Courtenay shares interior design tips based on her own farmhouse and her work as founder and stylist of the interior photography firm Art & Spaces. She also writes about her farmhouse garden, plant-based recipes, family travel, and homekeeping best practices. Courtenay is the author of the book The Cleaning Ninja and has been featured in numerous magazines including Country Sampler Farmhouse Style, Better Homes and Gardens, Parents Magazine, Real Simple, and Our Homes.