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The genus, Gerbera comes from the name of an 18th-century German naturalist, Traugott Gerber.
Gerbaras popularly also known as Hilton daisies or African Daisies ,are native to South Africa.They are perennial flowering plants with very attractive blooms that come in bright shades of pinks, red and orange .They are the fifth most popular flower in the world.
They are extremely popular in the flower business as they have a long vase life, Right upto a week or more if proper care is taken.
The flowers are very attractively colored and striking.The more popular colors are different shades of Red,Orange, different shades of pink,Yellow, white , cream ..
Growing Gerbaras at Home or in ones garden
It is very easy to grow Gerbara at home.They can be successfully grown with very little effort.The species is a low-growing herb growing to about 24-30 inches in height, with thick dark green leathery leaves.They start flowering within a month after transplanting, and can go on flowering for a long time nearly six months , sometimes even longer..
I have grown them in a large pot, as i live in an apartment. I was gifted with 2 lovely specimens in Red and a bright Yellow color.I let it grow in the container that it came with.I repotted the plants after nearly a year.It is 3 years since i got them, now i have 7 plants growing in different pots, got through plant propagation. I have gifted a few new saplings to others too.It is a sight to behold when the plants are in full bloom.Being restricted to a pot , i cannot hope to see too many flowers , but the occasional bloom makes all the efforts worthwhile..
Ideally they need porous soil with a good amount of drainage.An equal mix of potting soil, sand and peat is required. They can be grown from seeds or like i did transplanting a full grown plant into a larger pot.The best position for growing Gerbera Daisies is in full sunlight to ensure maximum flower production.The plant needs to be kept moist but taken care not to be over watered.
They are very hardy and not easily attacked by pests.I use a mild soapy water once a month or fortnight to wash the leaves and this keeps the germs and pests away, quite effective and there is no need to use any other pesticide which has its own adverse effect especially with children around.
By taking basal cuttings from the plant one can grow new plants. But the easiest and the most economical method of growing new plants is is through propagation by seeds.
I have felt that if one has the convenience it is better to grow them outdoors , they look very ornamental in ones garden , making a brightly colored splash and grow so much healthier and in abundance than within the restricted space of a pot.It is very easy to propagate them as they keep multiplying and growing in the prepared bed.With a little care, manuring and watering one can easily grow these round the year.
While picking plants from a plant nursery or a garden store it is better to buy healthy-looking plants with signs of new growth in leaves and flower buds.
Some Botanical facts about Gerbara
Kingdom - Plantae
Class - Magnoliapsida
Family - Asteraecea
Genus - gerbara
They are a lovely decoration in family rooms and they attract instant attraction as soon as people enter the room. The flowers exhibit large (4") blooms with yellowish central disks surrounded by colorful rays,and the Flowers are borne on slender, single, long stalks. The blooms are long-lasting both on the plant and as cut flowers. Both single and double-petal varieties are available.
Some Tips on Growing Gerbera:
Light: Semishade outdoors. needs about 6 hours of sunlight on a bright windowsill if grown indoors.
Temperature: Does well under temperatures 16-25 degrees C
Water: Allow the soil to dry out a little before the next watering. Overwatering leads to crown/root rot.
Feeding: Needs to be given a water-soluble fertiliser regularly ( fornightly) for flowering plants to encourage flowering.
Substrate: Well draining potting mix; add river sand to assist drainage and plenty of dry leaves , peat mixture.
Planting:Gerbera daisy flowers are susceptible to crown rot, so care should be taken not to plant them too deeply.
There are more than 30 species of Gerberas and they are found in Africa, Madagascar, tropical Asia and South America, where the weather is suitable for its propagation ( between 16- 25 degree C)
P:S - The elegant Gerbera Daisy is associated with the star sign Leo.
The Gerbera is one of the finest perennials for producing long-lasting cut flowers. It is a spectacular choice for flower beds, patio containers, window boxes, or can be used as a houseplant. In cooler areas it can be treated like an annual. In pots it can grow easily indoors during winter.