Gerberas, commonly known and recognized as daisies, are one of the sweetest flowers. Traditionally white, these flowers have experienced a newfound popularity in recent years, and breeders have cultivated varieties in every colour of the rainbow. Double- and even triple-blooms add more excitement, making today's gerberas a much more lively flower than the plain, simple ones you may remember from years gone by.
Traditionally, gerberas feature elongated (usually white) petals surrounding a small center. Most varieties will reach somewhere between forty and sixty centimetres in height, and feature short, slightly ruffled leaves. Single gerberas have a single row of petals, whereas double and triple gerberas feature several overlapping layers, giving them a fun "fluffy" appearance. The most common modern colours include oranges, corals, pinks and purples. Gerberas make excellent cut flowers and look very effective as a simple single stem in a tall bud vase.
Cultivating gerberas is a relatively easy task in most areas of Australia, although they prefer warmer climates. Pick a garden spot which receives as much direct sunlight as possible, and ensure your soil is well-drained. Gerbera are susceptible to fungi, so be careful not to over-water. Prepare soil a few weeks before planting if you're adding fertilizer, loam or peat. If your area receives a lot of rain and cold during fall and winter, plant gerberas on a small hill to avoid drowning.
Gerberas are one of the most traditional flowers for get-well-soon bouquets. They're also great as a simple indoor decoration, and make excellent "just because" gifts for friends and neighbours! Remember to cut flowers early in the morning and add flower preservative to the water. This will help prolong the life of your cut flowers, maximizing enjoyment.