Gebera daisies (classified as Gerbera jamesonii, and commonly called African daisies) are large, colourful annual or perennial flowers, depending on the growing zone. In warmer zones they return year after year as perennial plants. In all other zones, they must be treated as annuals and replanted each year. Usually bright orange, red or yellow, they can be more rarely found in pale lavender or pink as well.
Location and seedlings
It is best to plant gerberas in early spring, after the danger of the last frost has passed. Seeds can be planted a few months before then, indoors in moist, rich potting soil. Once they have sprouted, they can be moved outdoors and planted in a sunny location. However, because gerbera daisies have shallow roots, they usually thrive better if planted after they become a large, established plant. For this reason, many gardeners prefer to purchase the daisies rather than growing them from seed, especially since seedlings will not bloom for one to two years after being planted outside. Gerbera daisies like full sun. Blooming plants that are purchased to be transplanted, however, should be planted in partial shade, because most will not have been exposed to full sun and can wilt.
Planting and watering
Gerbera daisies have shallow roots, so they should be planted in a hole no deeper than the root ball. Make sure the crown of the plant is above the soil, or the flower will not bloom. The flowers thrive in moist, but not soggy, soil. Because they can suffer from rot, it is best to water them from below rather than above. This means that you should not spray them from above with a hose, but rather lay the hose directly on the ground and let the water seep into the ground by the plant's roots, such as with a drip system (hoses that have holes in them that allow the water to slowly seep out).
Fertilising and blooming
Gerbera daisies benefit greatly from fertilising and deadheading. Feed them once a week with a balanced water-soluble fertiliser. When the blooms are spent, deadhead them (pinch or clip them off) to encourage new blooming. Frost will kill gerbera daisies, so if you live in a cold climate, you must dig them up every autumn and take them inside for the winter. Plant again the following April. For this reason, many gardeners grow them as potted plants. The plants only live for about three years, at which point they will start to bloom less and eventually will stop blooming. It is best to purchase new gerberas every three to four years.