Gerbera Daisy: How to Grow Indoors
The gerbera daisy, also called Gerber daisy (Gerbera jamesonil), is a brightly colored flower featuring a prominent center surrounded by satiny pettals, and large rich green leaves. Native to warm climates, these flowers love a full sun or partial shade. With bloom 4 to 5 inches across, these beautiful flowers are an excellent choice for growing indoors, adding a rich splash of color against any backdrop.
TIP: Our expert gardening advisor, Rachel Klein adds,"Cut gerbera blooms can survive for 2 weeks, making them an exceptional flower to use in centerpieces or cut flower arrangements."
Step 1 - Germinate the Seeds
Plant your seeds in pots with seed starter, making sure you place them vertically with the fuzzy part on top. Cover the seeds with a very thin layer of seed starter. Place the pots near a sunny window to keep them warm. If the temperature indoors falls below 68 degrees, cover the pots with plastic to conserve heat. Water thoroughly to ensure the soil is moist. The seeds should take 15 to 20 days to germinate.
TIP: Rachel recommends, "Keep soil moist (but not soaking) during the germination process. The germination rate is always low, so be sure to plant more seeds than you need plants."
Step 2 - Transfer Seedlings to a Larger Pot
Once seedlings develop 4 leaves or more, they are ready to be transplanted into bigger pots. Gerbera daisies thrive in well drained soil, so make sure your pots have adequate drainage holes to prevent the root ball from staying wet for long periods. You can even place small stones or pieces of broken pots in the bottom of your pots to increase drainage.
Plant your root ball a little higher than average to prevent rot, decay or disease, and cover it with soil.
TIP: Rachel advises, "If buying a gerbera daisy plant from a nursery, choose one that has dark green leaves and new flower stalk growth. Make sure to check underneath the leaves of the plant for signs of whitefly infestation, a common problem with gerbera grown outside. If an infestation is present, you will see tiny white fly-like critters hiding under the leaves."
Step 3 - Provide Sunlight and Water
Gerbera Daisies need at least 6 hours a day of direct sunlight to grow abundant flowers, so place your pots on a sunny windowsill, and supplement with grow lights if lighting is inadequate.
TIP: Rachel suggests, "Once your gerbera daisy seedlings reach 5 inches in height, pinch off the center leaves to force the plant to fill out around the sides."
Keep your Gerbera daisies evenly moist when they are blooming, otherwise allowing them to dry slightly between watering is fine. Mist the foliage once or twice a week to simulate humidity indoors. Your daisies may wilt if kept too warm, so make sure temperatures do not rise above 70 degrees.
TIP: Rachel cautions you, "Avoid misting directly on open blooms, as this may encourage rot and decay."
Step 4 - Fertilize
Use a water-soluble fertilizer every other week, especially when the daises are in bloom. Fertilizing regularly provides them the necessary nutrients they need to grow. However, avoid fertilizing if your daisy goes dormant in the heat and stops blooming.
TIP: Rachel adds, "African violet fertilizer works very well for gerbera daisies, though it does not mention this on the fertilizer package."
Step 5 - Groom
Gerberas do not need much grooming other than removing dead leaves and flowers with sharp clippers to encourage new blooms. The leaves are slightly hairy and may develop dark patches if treated with any leaf shine products, so avoid those. Use sharp scissors to cut off yellowing leaves and dead flower stalks at the base of the crown.
Step 6 - Control Pests
Pests such as aphid and whitefly may be a problem for your indoor Gerber daisy, but can be prevented by spraying mild insecticide or a mixture of water and organic soap.
By providing the right amount of care and optimal growing conditions, you can grow gerbera daisies as perennials indoors, flowering 6 weeks of the year and going dormant for the rest. Be careful to plan ahead though, these daisies may take up to 8 months to reach the blooming stage. With more than 30 varieties, these daisies require minimal gardening care and can be grown successfully by home gardeners. This plant not only adds a vibrant splash of color to your home when in bloom, but also purifies the indoor air of harmful toxins.