Gerber Daisies

Bouquet of only Gerber daisies in red, orange, white, pink, and yellow
Colorful Gerber daisies Credit: engin akyurt via Unsplash

(Gerbera jamesonii) aka Transvaal Daisy

Gerber Daisies are the fifth most popular cut flower in the world. And for good reason.

Dignified and irresistible as a wide, flat, colorful daisy on a single, thick, plain stem, they last very well in the vase!

Growing Gerber daisies in your garden is easy in the right garden zones. Or they can be grown in containers or as an annual.

They’re native to South Africa.

What Gerber Daisy Flowers are Like

Vase-life is 7-14 days—if you don’t put too much water in it. See How to Harvest below.

Each stem bears one daisy like flower,  about 4-5 inches wide in clear, strong colors. Colors range from white, cream, yellow , orange, red, purple, and pink.

Flowers are arranged with a single ring of petals, or they may be semi doubles with an outer row of long petals  and a second row of shorter petals or tufted petals, or fully double flowers with all tufted petals. There are also spider Gerbers that are single but with narrow twisted petals giving a fluffy appearance. 

I think the classic single flowers are most elegant, showing off their color and simplicity.

They may be long-stemmed with flower stems reaching up to 18 in. tall or they may be dwarf, with stems reaching up to 7 in. tall. The shorter ones are good for summer bedding plants or planting in pots.

Try to choose the taller ones for good cutting flowers.

When you shop for Gerber daisies for cutting flowers, it’s best to find the ones with the longer stems. I have found nice long stemmed specimens in the 4 inch summer annuals section of nurseries and they performed very well. Often you’ll find premium flowers in gallon pots. Just choose the plants that are blooming so Growing you can see their stem length.

Though, the ones with the smaller flowers tend to have a longer vase life.

What the Plants are Like

The plants have  low basal leaves that are about 10 in. long. They send up their flower stem mostly in early summer and again in fall, but in warm climates they can bloom any time of the year.

The plants are perennial in zones 8-10. In zones 9 and 10 they tend to remain evergreen and can bloom any time of the year, but mostly in their peak time as described above. In zone 8 they’re perennial but deciduous, so don’t forget about them when you tend your garden in the winter.

In the zones outside 8-10 they can be grown as summer annuals.

Bright pink gerber daisy flower with a tiny bee on it
These Gerber daisy leaves are emerging from their winter dormancy

Growing Gerber Daisies

Zones:  8-10; deciduous in zone 8, 9, evergreen in zone 9, 10, depending on weather. Outside these zones Gerber daisies can be planted as annuals and in pots.

Sun: Full sun, partial shade in hottest climates

You can start Gerbers by seed. See below for a good source.

The plants need good draining soil (make sure the soil won’t stay wet and soggy) and good garden soil rich in organic matter. Mulch with compost in fall and spring, use organic flower fertilizer at planting time and again each early spring, applying it under the compost mulch.

Plant them a little high. After a few years the plant may sink into the soil a bit. If that happens, you can replant it so that it’s up higher again.

They prefer regular watering, allow to dry out somewhat between waterings.

They’re said to be deer resistant…but I wouldn’t risk it. It would be one that I keep in my deer fenced area.

Gerber daisies grow very well in pots. If you’re in a region that’s too cold, you can bring the pots into a warmer spot to keep them from freezing over the winter.

Bright pink gerber daisy flower with a tiny bee on it
Gerber daisy in the garden, with a tiny bee on it. That means it's a little late to get the best vase life from it, but still works.

How to Harvest Gerber Daisy Flowers

Cut the flowers when the petals are fully open, but before the anthers open. This is hard to see, but if you see any yellow pollen or if the white stigmas are showing…cut them before that. This is just for best vase-life, so if it’s too late you can still cut the flower.

Cut the stems at the base, at an angle, and put directly into warm water.  The stems last longest with just one inch of water. (That’s the word in the world of Gerbers.) This works well if you have only Gerbers in the vase. But if your bouquet is mixed, you’ll need to compromise or watch the water level very carefully because it’ll go down quickly.

If it droops while in the vase, recut, replace the water, and return it to the vase.

Some people recommend slitting the bottom of the stem, but I’ve never tried that on these.

See Harvesting Your Flowers for more details on harvesting flowers.

If you won’t harvest the flowers, deadhead them to keep them flowering. For these that simply cutting the flowers even if you won’t use them.

My Favorite Varieties of Gerber Daisy

I happen to like the single flowers, all the colors, and obviously the ones with the longest stems.

But shorter stems can be useful, too, because short bouquets are nice as tabletop bouquets in shorter vases, so everyone can see each other across the dinner.

They’re also fun to tuck into small spots to cheer up a room.

Sources for Gerber Daisy Plants

Outside Pride has a beautiful selection of seeds.

I’ve never started Gerbers by seed. But I do like to get them from my local nurseries.

Starting in early summer, you can find them in your local nurseries. They may be in the 4 inch bedding plant section or in 1 gallons. Just find the ones you like and at the stem length you like. Stems tend to be longer once the plant is established in the garden.

Growing Gerber daisies is satisfying, and here are other flowers that bloom at the same time to go with them…

Flowers to Go with Gerber Daisies:

Ornamental Oregano : Excellent as a filler

Veronica: These vertical flowers will be nice mingling with the Gerber Daisies

Alstroemerias: All around perfect in a mixed bouquet as a filler and blender (and on their own)

Silver King Artemisia: Good as a foliage filler

Statice: Great for filler providing color and fullness to a bouquet.