Gerbera is one of the most widespread and appreciated flowering plants: it can be used both for interior decoration (with adequate exposure), and for embellishing balconies, terraces or flowerbeds, directly in the garden. Its corollas are among the most loved for the elegance and regularity of their shape which, in the imagination, make it the symbol of the "perfect daisy". It is available in many colors and some cultivars with long stems are also excellent for use in flower arrangements.
To the genre gerbera dozens of species of perennial herbaceous plants, originating from South Africa, belong; they are cultivated in Europe until the end of the 19th century and for this reason numerous hybrids are also on the market. They produce a thick rosette of leathery leaves, enlarged, dark green, not particularly decorative, which could give the impression of belonging to a weed; from late spring to the first cold they produce numerous flower head inflorescences, similar to large daisies, of a size that varies according to the species or variety; there gerberas that can reach 35-45 cm in height, and are cultivated above all to obtain cut flowers, le gerberas more commonly grown in the garden instead they do not exceed 25-35 cm in height, with particular dwarf varieties, which do not exceed 15-25 cm.
The flowers of gerbera they are very appreciated as cut flowers, because they last even in pots for a few weeks; they are also used in the garden, or for growing in pots, because the plant is very floriferous, has few needs and the flowers are very showy; in fact there are gerberas of many colors: pure white, cream white, pink, lilac, purple, red, orange, yellow. The color of the gerberas is very intense and decisive.
How to grow gerberas
Gerberas are cultivated like most mild climate perennial herbaceous plants: they are positioned in a very bright and sunny place, but avoiding exposure to the scorching sun of July and August; they love loose and fresh soils, very well drained, the water stagnation is the number one enemy of the gerberas, which if left immersed for a long time in the water tend to rapidly develop root and collar rots, fatal for the whole plant.
Before placing the gerberas in the garden we enrich and lighten the earth, working it thoroughly and incorporating good fresh universal soil, little sand or lapillus and mature manure; such a prepared soil will not need fertilizing during the growing season.
|Family and gender|
Fam. Asteracee, gen. Gerbera (contains about 100 species)
|Type of plant||Short lasting herbaceous perennials (about 3 years)|
|Height||From 20 to 70 cm|
|Corolla color||White, yellow, pink, red, orange|
|Exposure||Sun or partial shade|
|Minimum temperature||-5; suffers already at 5 ° C|
|Ideal temperature||18-25 ° c|
|Ground||Draining but rich in organic substance|
|Irrigation||Always fresh substrate, absolutely no stagnation|
|Flowering||From summer to autumn. It can be forced.|
|Pests and diseases||Aphids, red spider mites, root and collar rot, powdery mildew|
|Use||From pot (in the apartment or outside), flower beds, cut flower|
From spring to late summer we water regularly, but it is essential to always wait for the soil to dry before supplying water again; the gerberas can withstand short periods of drought, but if the soil becomes excessively dry the foliage withers, to return turgid as soon as water is supplied.
At the end of summer-beginning of autumn the foliage begins to decay, until it dries up completely: with the lowering of night temperatures the gerberas enter into total vegetative rest, which will last until the following spring.
To allow our plants to survive the winter we will have to preserve them from frost; for this reason it is good to cultivate gerberas in the open ground only in the area with mild winters, where it will be enough to cover the ground with dry leaves or straw, to protect the delicate roots.
In northern Italy it is necessary to cultivate the gerberas as annuals, or in pots, moving the containers in a cold greenhouse on the arrival of winter. As for example for the succulents, the gerberas are better able to withstand the cold the less the soil is wet, so we put the vases indoors, without watering them until the new leaves come out in the summer.
A gerbera in the house
Gerberas are often forced to bloom even in the middle of winter; a plant so treated will necessarily have to live in the apartment for the whole period of flowering; place it in a well-ventilated and bright place, with an average temperature above 10-12 ° C, even a stairwell can be a good place, while the warm and dry air of the apartment often quickly ruins the foliage.
The gerberas in the apartment need moderate watering, rather we lift them from the dry air, often steaming them with demineralized water.
In spring we can place our gerbera on the ground, or move it to the garden in a vase, but it is likely that it will not flower again until the following year.
Characteristics and origins of Gerbera
Gerbera is a medium-small herbaceous plant: the most contained cultivars grow up to 20 cm, cutting ones can reach up to 70 cm. The leaves are not particularly elegant: they are basal, lanceolate, medium green. The youngest are covered with a light down. The flower is very beautiful: the "petals" (more correctly bracts) are elongated, in shades of red, pink, yellow, orange or white. The corolla can be simple or double. Also interesting is the large and regular center, with a beautiful bright yellow.
Gerbera is native to the tropical and equatorial bands of the planet, in particular in Asia, Africa and Latin America. The species, in nature about thirty, have been used to obtain the hybrids we know, several thousand, with long flowering and perfect flowers. The most exploited were the jamsonii and the viridiflora, with a long work begun already at the end of the nineteenth century. The name "gerbera" pays homage to a German naturalist.
Climate for gerbera
This herb is of tropical origin and is not very rustic. The first damages can be noticed when the temperatures approach 5 ° C: the permanent open-air cultivation, in our country, is to be reserved for the extremely southern regions and the coasts with a very temperate climate (with adequate winter coverings and mulches).
Elsewhere, upon the arrival of the bad season, it is necessary to withdraw them, extracting them from the ground or moving the containers. Vegetative growth can, however, last all year, without the need to induce a vegetative rest: they are also very suitable for apartment cultivation, provided that the temperatures always go from 18 to 24 ° C and that environmental lighting and humidity are adequate.
THE CALENDAR OF GERBERA
Flowering in the garden
From April to October
|Flowering in the apartment||All the year|
|Vegetative rest / winter retreat||From October to April|
|forcing||15 days at 10 ° C (at any time of year)|
|Sowing||February to April / October-November|