Taxonomy of Gerbera Daisy Flowers:
Plant taxonomy classifies gerbera daisy flowers as Gerbera jamesonii . "African daisy" is listed as a common name for this plant, since it is indigenous to South Africa. But in North America you're more likely to see an altered version of the scientific name (either "gerber daisy" or "gerbera daisy") used essentially as the plant's common name.
Plant Type for Gerbera Daisy Flowers:
Characteristics of Gerbera Daisy Flowers:
Gerbera daisy flowers exhibit large (4") blooms with yellowish central disks surrounded by colorful rays. The rays are most commonly yellow, red or orange. However, growers have also produced varieties in white, pink and violet. Gerbera daisy flowers reach a little over one foot in height, with a width slightly less than that.
Planting Zones for Gerbera Daisy Flowers:
Gerbera daisy flowers are grown as perennials in zones 9-11. Elsewhere, they are treated as annual plants. In zone 8 some homeowners report success in growing gerbera daisy flowers as perennials, especially if garden mulch is used.
Sun and Soil Requirements:
Grow gerbera daisy flowers in full sun to partial shade in well-drained soil.
Uses for Gerbera Daisy Flowers:
In the South, gerbera daisy flowers are popular in perennial beds. Elsewhere, they are sometimes treated as annuals. However, a more popular use in the North is as holiday plants, to be given as gifts and kept as (short-lived) houseplants.
Indoor Care for Gerbera Daisy Flowers:
Gerbera daisy flowers will bloom for 4-6 weeks as houseplants with proper care. Put them in a sunny window. Water thoroughly when the soil surface is dry to the touch, but do not overwater. Avoid over-head watering and keep gerbera daisy flowers sprayed for whitefly pests. For more, see care for houseplants.
Outdoor Care for Gerbera Daisy Flowers:
Whether you are growing gerbera daisies as perennials or as annuals, water them faithfully; and fertilize regularly for optimal blooming. Gerbera daisy flowers are susceptible to crown rot, so don't plant them too deeply. They are also susceptible to powdery mildew, so avoid overhead watering; and water the plants early in the day. Plants bought at the florist should be introduced only gradually to direct sunlight outdoors; otherwise, they'll wilt.
Origin of the Name for Gerbera Daisy Flowers:
The genus, Gerbera comes from the name of an 18th-century German naturalist, Traugott Gerber. This name origin will come as quite a disappointment to those who fancy that gerbera daisy flowers are in some way connected with Gerber baby food!