How To Grow And Care For Gerbera Daisies

Tips for keeping your daisies looking fine.

Gerbera daisies up close.
Gerbera daisies are safe to have around dogs. Photo:

Getty Images/Maria Mosolova

Southerners buy Gerbera daisies by the thousands on a regular basis. There are two main reasons for this. First, the red, orange, coral, pink, and yellow blooms are simply stunning. Second, the Gerbera daisies they bought three weeks earlier are likely already dead. Gerbera daisies hail from South Africa, so you might conclude they'd like growing here in the South. You'd be so wrong. Gerberas don't like high heat, high humidity, and summertime frog-strangler thunderstorms. Oh, and they don't like heavy clay soils either. Nonetheless, you'll probably have to care for a Gerbera sometime, because either someone who's never tried to grow one before will present one to you as a gift or you want to be able to brag that yours is still around after three months. If either is true, let us give you some advice on the best conditions for growing Gerbera daisies.

Plant Attributes
Common Name Gerbera daisy, gerber daisy, African daisy, Barberton daisy, Transvaal daisy
Botanical Name Gerbera jamesonii and hybrids
Family Asteraceae
Plant Type Perennial, annual, herbaceous
Mature Size 12-18 in. tall, 12-15 in. wide
Sun Exposure Full
Soil Type Moist, well-drained, rich in organic matter
Soil pH Slightly acidic (5.5-6.5)
Bloom Time Spring, summer, fall
Flower Color Yellow, orange, red, pink, white, lavender
Hardiness Zones 8-11
Native Area Africa

About Gerbera Daisies

Gerbera daisies are known by the scientific name of Gerbera jamesonii. They're also known as the Transvaal daisy and are members of the family Asteraceae. According to The New Southern Living Garden Book, these flowers are "perennial in coastal and tropical south; annual elsewhere." They also bring bright, eye-catching color wherever they're planted. That's why everyone's planting them in the first place. If you've been living under a rock and have never seen them before, let The New Southern Living Garden Book describe them to you: "The 4- to 5-inch daisies, borne one to a stem, fairly glow in colors of red, orange, coral pink, yellow, and cream." The petals are actually called "rays," and those brightly colored rays encircle the center of the flower, which is a prominent disc shape. Gerbera daisies make great cut flowers and are very nice additions to arrangements. When cutting, be sure to snip the bottom of the stem before placing it in the water to allow for optimal absorption. Thirsty, thirsty.

Gerbera Daisy Care

Remember your gerbera is coming from the Goldilocks zone of a greenhouse, where the temperature, humidity, and moisture levels are not too high and not too low, but just right. When it arrives in the imperfect conditions of your yard, it will likely experience a panic attack. Speak to it in soothing tones and give it plenty of sun and well-drained soil. Full sun is a must or the plant won't bloom. Remove spent flower stems to encourage blooming from spring to fall.


While this plant requires six hours of sunlight each day for the best blooms, gardeners in the Coastal and Tropical South need to protect Gerbera daisies from the afternoon heat. Plant where your daisies will receive morning sun. By mid-afternoon, they'll want to take refuge in the shade.


Unless your soil is sandy or gritty, don't plant it in the ground. Gerberas need excellent drainage. If the soil stays soaked for long, the plant will develop crown rot and croak before your eyes. Instead, grow it in a container you can fill with fast-draining potting soil. If there's a saucer under the pot, empty it as soon as it fills with water. According to The New Southern Living Garden Book, "Where gerberas are perennial, they can bloom at almost any time of year, unless frost kills them to the ground. In this case, they'll sprout from underground stems in spring and begin blooming shortly afterward." That's as long as the soil is good, i.e. if it's gritty enough to drain like a colander.

If you do plant your Gerbera daisies in the ground, add lots of organic matter to your sandy soil—an inch or two of compost or peat. Place your Gerberas so that the crown (where the stem and roots meet) is slightly above soil level. When mulching, be careful not to bury the crown. You may need to replant your Gerberas every couple of years to keep the crown above soil level.


Hot sun will cause its foliage to wilt, so you'll naturally want to water it without first checking the soil. Don't do that, or your plant will soon die. Your object is to keep the soil evenly moist while the plant is blooming. Water if the top inch of soil is dry. Do it early in the day, don't wet the foliage, and allow the crown to dry out between waterings. If you find the plant wilting in the morning before the sun hits it, the soil is probably too dry and you'll need to water. Potbound transplants will require more water when first planted.

Temperature And Humidity

Gerberas must be planted outdoors after all danger of frost has passed. Plants may rot in excessive rain. This tender perennial will overwinter in a frost-free climate and may survive as far north as Zone 8 in mild winters. The plants can be brought indoors or moved to a sheltered spot, ideally spending the winter where it is at least 45 degrees Fahrenheit.


To keep your Gerbera daisies healthy and blooming, apply a controlled-release fertilizer two to three times during the growing season or use a liquid fertilizer twice a month. Gerberas can develop iron and manganese deficiencies, so use a fertilizer that contains those micronutrients. Keep fertilizer off of foliage and the crown to prevent burning.

Types Of Gerbera Daisies

  • Jaguar™ Rose Picotee from Proven Winners has multi-layered, dusty pink petals tipped with white, while Revolution™ Red Dark Eye has scarlet petals around a dramatic black center. Both grow to just 8 inches tall.
  • From Monrovia, Garvinea® Sweet Sunset has a dark brown center and yellow petals that deepen to orange. The flowers of Garvinea® Sweet Spice are magenta and have a contrasting yellow and dark center. Both can grow to almost 20 inches.
  • The corals, pinks, white, yellows, and reds of the Flori Line® Maxi series grow to a tidy 12 inches tall and are often found in florist shops.

Propagating Gerbera Daisies

If you want to double your daisies without making a visit to your local garden shop, you can divide those that you have growing in your garden (this is prohibited for patented plants, so you will need to make a stop at the garden center for those). Do this in spring at the first sign of new growth, and only with clumps that have developed multiple crowns. Dig up the plant and separate the crowns using a sharp garden knife or pruning shears. Remove any dead roots, dying leaves, and about half of all the lower mature leaves. Replant immediately and water well. Keep the plants moist until well established.

How To Grow Gerbera Daisies From Seed

Gerbera daisies can be grown from seed, but it will take four to six months for your plants to flower. Get a head start by sowing the seeds indoors 8-10 weeks before the last frost in spring. Here is how you do it:

  1. Fill a seed tray or small pots with sterile potting mix and moisten. Sprinkle seeds on top of potting mix, lightly press into soil, and barely cover with potting mix. The seeds must have light exposure to germinate.
  2. Water lightly. Cover with a clear plastic dome or plastic wrap to conserve moisture and set in bright light in a room that is 70 degrees Fahrenheit. Use a spray bottle to keep soil moist.
  3. Once seeds germinate in 10 to 28 days, the seedlings must be placed in a sunny windowsill or under fluorescent plant lights. After the seedlings have developed at least two sets of true leaves, you can transplant them into 4-inch pots to continue growing.
  4. Harden off seedlings after all danger of frost has passed. Move into a shady spot outdoors and gradually increase light exposure and time outdoors over the course of a week.

Potting And Repotting Gerbera Daisies

Unless you're lucky enough to have the perfect garden soil, try growing your Gerberas in pots. You can set them all around to dress up your patio with their cheerful blooms, and this also allows you to keep a close eye on how they're doing.

Repot your plant in a container about 2 inches wider than the existing pot. Use a container that has drainage holes. Fill with a potting mix that includes organic matter and perlite for nutrients and drainage. You can also mix in a small amount of coarse sand to improve drainage. Plant your flower so that the crown is slightly above soil level and the stems do not touch the soil. Water deeply whenever the top inch of soil is dry. Feed twice a month with liquid fertilizer during the growing season.


Gerbera daisies generally won't survive temperatures below 40 degrees Fahrenheit. Move containers to a sheltered spot before that point (follow the directions for potting Gerberas if your plants are in the ground.) They can spend the winter in a cool but frost-free location, like a cold frame or unheated garage, as long as they have some light and are protected from excess moisture. You can also overwinter your Gerberas indoors on or near a sunny windowsill. The plants prefer less watering in winter. Once temperatures remain above 45 in spring, you can begin to reacclimate the plants to the garden.

Common Pests & Plant Diseases

Quickly clip off faded blooms and their stems or they'll develop mold that will spread to the rest of the plant.  Gray mold, powdery mildew, and anthracnose are common causes of stem and root rots. Remove affected foliage. Sometimes a chemical solution is needed to control the problem. If this is the case, then reach out to your local Cooperative Extensive Office, which is a great resource for answers to your planting questions. Plants with root rot should be pulled and disposed of.

Don't wet the foliage when you water or the leaves may develop powdery mildew that looks like white powder and usually sends the plant over the edge. According to The New Southern Living Garden Book, "Crowded plantings and shade make the problem even worse. The best defense is to start with disease-free plants and to choose the newer, more disease-resistant selections." Divide plants every few years to reduce overcrowding.

Common pests include whiteflies, aphids, thrips, and spider mites. Use neem oil or insecticidal soap sprays to control them (a strong stream of water can also help deter aphids and spider mites). Do not use sprays when the temperature is above 90 degrees or the plant is in full sun, as this may cause sunburn. Spray in the late evening to avoid harming pollinating insects.

How To Get Gerberas To Bloom

Gerberas require adequate sunlight to bloom, so consider a sunnier location if yours aren't performing. Provide light shade during the hottest hours of the day only. Fertilize during the growing season as instructed above. If clumps grow crowded and produce fewer flowers, that's a sign you should divide them. Some cultivars may take a break during hot summer weather or rest for a couple of weeks between each set of blooms.

Common Problems With Gerbera Daisies

A healthy Gerbera daisy should have sturdy green leaves and stems. Drooping plants and yellowing foliage are signs of trouble. Here are some possible causes:

Wilting Plant

If your Gerbera is wilting, either over or underwatering could be at the root of the problem. If the plant wilts in the heat and the soil is dry, water deeply. Provide more protection from the mid-afternoon sun if needed. If the plant is wilting while the soil is moist or you see other problems like mold, lesions, or stunted foliage, root or stem rot has likely taken hold. Consult your extension office on whether a fungicide may help, or simply discard the plant and start over with fresh soil.

Yellowing Leaves

Yellow stippling on leaves usually indicates spider mites sucking the sap from your plant. Look for tiny, spider-like insects or webbing and spray if necessary. Viruses can also cause yellow spots or ring patterns on leaves; the only recourse is to dispose of plants. Plants that have leaves that are yellow around the edges and green in the center may have a magnesium deficiency. Yellow leaves with green veins indicate an iron deficiency. Apply liquid fertilizer or spray with a foliar spray for iron.

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