All-star gerberas

How to grow summer's show-off daisies

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  • Amend soil with compost or leaf mold and a bit of horticultural sand.

    All-star gerberas

    Thomas J. Story

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The trick for best results is to give it optimum conditions.

Modern hybrids of Gerbera jamesonii come from parents native to South Africa's Transvaal region; many strains are now sold.

Those grown predominantly as cutting flowers are propagated by tissue culture to ensure consistency in flower color, stem length (up to 24 inches), and general appeal.

For bedding plants, dwarf types (about 7 inches tall) are usually grown from seed, so they vary in petal count, color, and stem length.

In the West, gerberas are perennial in Sunset climate zones 8, 9, 12-24, H1, and H2, where they bloom most heavily in late spring and summer.

Although flowers can appear anytime -- even in winter -- plant growth slows when temperatures drop below 65°.

Irrigate plants as needed to supplement rainfall.

In other zones, grow gerberas as annuals. In the hottest desert areas (zones 12 and 13), plant them in fall for winter and spring color.

In intermountain areas, you may find potted plants at florists; grow them indoors in a cool, sunny room.

Shop for blooming plants at nurseries in 6-inch pots and 1-gallon cans. To enjoy peak bloom, cluster pots on a patio or group several plants in a patio box. Then, after bloom is through, move them to a more permanent home in separate containers or raised beds.

 

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