As members of the Asteraceae family, Gerbera daisies produce vibrant, daisy-like blossoms. Gerbera daisies were once strictly garden plants, but they are growing in popularity as potted plants. Although they typically bloom in May, it is possible to prolong the life of Gerbera daisies and encourage new blooms throughout the growing season. Gerbera daisies are perennials, but typically grow as annuals in outdoor gardens.
The duration a Gerbera daisy stays in bloom depends on the growing conditions the plant experiences. Gerberas bloom throughout the year in the greenhouse. Gerberas in the garden can continue to bloom until October, in the best growing conditions. As houseplants, Gerberas do not thrive and only bloom for about six weeks.
Maintaining the best growing conditions is an effective way to encourage extended blooming for Gerberas. Gerberas grow best in well-drained soil that contains at least 50 per cent peat. They need regular watering and tolerate slightly dry soil between waterings. Place Gerbera plants in a location that receives bright light. Highlight intensity helps to increase blossom production. Fertilise Gerberas twice a month to encourage flower growth. Auburn University recommends a slow-release 14-14-14 fertiliser or a 15-16-17, low-ammonium fertiliser.
Encouraging New Blooms
Each Gerbera blossom can live up to four weeks. Pruning old blooms as soon as they die encourages the growth of new blossoms. Remove dead blooms with sharp gardening shears to avoid excessive damage to the plant. In addition, remove dead leaves to discourage disease and pests. Gerberas need repotting in the spring, and prefer a soil pH between neutral and mildly acid. Avoid exposing blooming Gerberas to temperatures that exceed 21.1 degrees Celsius or drop below 4.44 degrees Celsius.
Poor light conditions and inadequate nutrients affect bloom production in Gerberas. Additionally, disease and pests can weaken the plant and even kill it. Make sure the Gerbera receives adequate air circulation, especially during excessively humid weather. Diseases like Botrytis and powdery mildew thrive when Gerberas experience stagnant air or inconsistent watering. Gerbera daisies are susceptible to insects like thrips, aphids, spider mites and white flies.
Gerberas typically grow as annuals in outdoor gardens. Gerberas can tolerate mild winters, but require heavy mulch to protect them from low temperatures. Gardeners should divide overwintered Gerberas in the spring, to propagate new plants and increase blossoms.
Cut Gerbera blossoms are long-lasting and may live up to 14 days. They should only receive indirect light and prefer resting in shallow water. Trimming the stems and changing the vase's water every few days also extends the life of Gerbera blossoms.