Gerbera is a genus of the family of sunflowers, Daisies and Asters - Asteraceae, with a wide distribution from Africa to Madagascar, tropical Asia and South America. Through hybridization, Gerberas are available in a massive array of colors.
The meanings of gerbera flowers stem from those attributed to the general daisy family. These meanings include innocence and purity. Daisies are also a classic symbol of beauty however, the gerbera variety holds an added meaning of cheerfulness, which stems from the assortment of colors available.
Some Interesting Facts About Gerberas
- Having a long vase life, Gerbera flowers are widely used in the Cut Flower Industry. Gerberas are great flowers for adding color to any room or garden.
- Gerberas are also referred to as Gerbera Daisies, daisy being a general name for all species in the family Asteraceae, to which Gerberas belong.
- Gerbera flowers often measure 7 inches (17.8 cm) across.
- Gerberas come in a wide range of colors - from light to dark yellow, orange, pink, brilliant scarlet, deep red, and many more.
- Gerberas can be used in landscapes as bedding plants for borders and flower beds or as Cut Flowers for table arrangements.
- Gerberas are native to Transvaal, South Africa.
- Hybrid Gerbera varieties cloned through tissue culture are uniform, and have long-lasting flowers with thick peduncles that are not light sensitive; hence, flowers remain open in the dark, lending themselves to indoor use in flower arrangements.
About Gerbera Flower
Gerberas are perennial flowering plants featuring a large capitulum with striking, 2-lipped ray florets. The capitulum on the Gerberas has the appearance of a single flower, but is actually a cluster of hundreds of individual flowers. The morphology of the flowers varies depending on their position in the capitulum of the Gerberas.
Various Forms of Gerbera Flowers
Gerberas come in various forms. Broadly, they can be put into four groups-
- Single Flowers - These Gerberas have a row of non-overlapping petals (ray florets) with a green center (disc florets). These are the most common gerberas available in the market.
- Double or duplex - These Gerberas have a double row of overlapping petals with a green, black, or dark red eye.
- Crested doubles - These doubles contain two rows of overlapping petals with one or more inner rows of shorter petals with a green, black, or dark red eye.
- Full crested doubles - These have solid overlapping rows of petals with an inner row diminishing in size, covering the eye entirely.
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- The most inexpensive way to produce gerberas is from seed obtained from reputable seed suppliers.
- Seeds should be germinated in an artificial growing medium. Germinating seeds in field sand or field sand mixed with materials such as perlite and/or peat moss is not recommended because field sand is usually not sterile. Artificial growing media that are sterile, lightweight, and have good water retention capacity and drainage can be purchased in garden supply stores. These materials often have fertilizers incorporated.
- The medium can be placed in flats or pots that have drainage holes. Make shallow rows in the medium approximately twice the depth of the diameter of the seed, sow seeds in the rows, cover lightly with extra medium and water carefully.
- After seeds are planted and watered, cover the container with a sheet of glass or clear plastic and place the germination container approximately 18 inches (45.7 cm) below a fluorescent light. Check the medium daily for moisture and for signs of seed germination.
- The medium should never be allowed to dry, especially when gerbera seeds are starting to germinate. When watering is necessary, apply a sufficient amount to allow excess water to drain out of the container. Any water that collects in the saucer beneath the germination container should be discarded.
- Tall and spindly seedlings can be avoided by transplanting seedlings to small pots as soon as the first true leaves appear. Seedlings can be grown in small pots until they are large enough to transplant into flower beds.
Interested in finding books on growing flowers online? Good books on Gardening are a great asset for gardeners at all levels of expertise.