All-star gerberas

How to grow summer's show-off daisies

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PLANTING FOR TOP RESULTS

One way to give gerberas the excellent drainage they need is to plant them in mounds of garden soil.

Care tips

EXPOSURE. Near the coast, give plants full sun; inland, partial shade.

SOIL. It should be loose, rich, and fast-draining. In pots, use a packaged potting mix.

WATERING. Irrigate deeply, then let soil go nearly dry before watering again. Avoid wetting the leaves and watering at night, which can cause powdery mildew or crown rot.

FEEDING. Fertilize monthly during spring and summer with a dilute liquid plant food according to label instructions.

Cutting gerberas for the vase

To prepare cut flowers for bouquets: Using sharp shears, cut the stem under warm water to the desired length; make the cut at a sharp angle, as shown above.

Remove the stem from the water and cut a 1/2-inch slit up one side of the stem, as shown here, before arranging it in a water-filled vase. Replace the vase water every day or two.

If flower heads start to droop after a few days, recut stems under warm water.

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