Singapore, the Gerbera is commonly known as the African
Daisy. A native plant of South Africa, it grows in well-drained
sandy soils. This beautiful member of the Asteraceae family
is also known as the Barberton Daisy and the Transvaal Daisy.
These names are suggestive of the locations where the plant
was first discovered. Botanically, the full name of the African
Daisy is Gerbera jamesonii. The genus name "Gerbera"
is derived from the family name of the German naturalist, Traugott
Gerber while the species was named after Robert Jameson, who
was the first to have collected live specimens of the plant.
flowers are popular as cut flowers; they are pretty and
elegant in their own right. Their daisy-like flowers come
in a colorful array of crimson, cream, yellow, orange
and pink. The hairy, deeply lobed leaves, which resembles the
Garland Chrysanthemum (a steamboat vegetable, commonly
called Tang Oh), serves to enhance the brightly
coloured blooms. Nowadays, local nurseries carry hybrids
both with single or double-petal blooms.
Gerbera plants could be more economical than buying
cut flowers in the long run. A well-grown plant will reward
you with endless blooms which last longer than those dipped
in a vase of water. Guys, if your girlfriend adores
Gerbera, consider buying and growing a pot for her;
she would certainly be swooned by your sincerity more
than receiving a bouquet of cut ones from the florist.
on Growing the Gerbera
Semishade outdoors. Give about 6 hours of sunlight
on a bright windowsill indoors.
Does well under local temperatures.
Allow the soil to dry out a little before the next
watering. Overwatering leads to crown/root rot.
Mist leaves often to discourage spider mites.
Give a water-soluble fertiliser regularly for flowering
plants to encourage flowering.
Well draining potting mix; add river sand to assist
plants grown in locations with insufficient light will not bloom
well. If you intend to grow a Gerbera indoors,
give the plant as much direct sunlight as you can. Six hours of
direct sunlight usually suffice in this case and can be achieved
by placing it on a sunny windowsill. Do not try to grow it under
office lights, since fluorescent lighting, even if placed within
close proximity, don't seem to give encouraging results.
Gerbera loves to suntan but it must still be protected
from the afternoon sun. The afternoon sun here will very likely
fry your plants, hence Gerbera is rarely grown outdoors.
They grow pretty fine as potted plants under semi-shaded conditions,
like under a shaded verandah or patio, if placed outdoors. Slowly
acclimatise your newly bought plants before exposing them to full
thrive well in well-drained soil. The peaty substrate in which
a newly bought Gerbera is grown is not suitable for growing
the plant on the long term under local conditions. After the first
flowers have wilted, grab the opportunity to change the substrate
to one which river sand is added to improve its drainage. Never
over water the plant and let the soil dry out a little before
watering it again. This is especially important if the plant is
your plants regularly to encourage flowering. You can use a water-soluble
fertilizer for flowering plants - those with a high phosphorous
(P) and potassium (K) ratio.
spent blooms to encourage further flowering. Remove flower stalks
of wilted blooms at the base of the crown, and at the same time
remove yellowing leaves, if any, to reduce the possibility of
These are the common colours and forms that are commonly available
on sale in local nurseries.
Gerbera is extremely prone to red spider mites and one
of the most obvious symptoms is distorted young leaves with a
puckered appearance. In serious infestations, you can literally
see spider webs on the plants and you can also rub off some "red
dust" from the undersides of the leaves. It is highly recommended
to discard the plant once an infestation sets in. Red spider mites
can spread really fast before you can take any action. Miticides
are often extremely toxic and are not recommended for use in an
environment where there is human traffic. Besides, a bottle of
miticide will cost more than a new pot of Gerbera! Prevention
is better than cure - mist your plants regularly to increase the
humidity which may deter red spider mites.
pests include aphids which like to cluster around young growth
and whiteflies which are tiny fly-like insects that hide on the
underside of leaves. Minor infestations can be treated with thorough
washing using a water spray. Alternatively, you can also eradicate
these pests by using pyrethrum-based insecticides or soaps. These
insects suck sap from the plant, weakening it and are capable
of spreading viral diseases from an infected plant to a nearby
Crown and root rots are common due to over-watering and burying
the crown in the growing medium.
Remember to check the undersides of both young and mature
leaves to ensure they are pest-free before buying! Do the
same for routine checks at home.
can be grown from seeds but it will be an exceedingly tedious
process. Germination can be tricky since the seeds do not remain
viable for long. Give up if you notice no seedlings emerging for
more than a fortnight.
faster and easier method of propagating Gerbera is via
division of the crown. The Gerbera will produce numerous
suckers, which can be split into many individual plants. In the
process of dividing the plant, try to give each sucker some roots
and be as careful as you can so as to minimize any damage to the
plant. You may find it necessary to cover the divided plants with
a clear plastic bag to reduce moisture loss.