cut flower of the month
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(also JUR-bur-uh, jur-BEE-ruh,
gur-BEE-ruh and JAYM-sun-eye)
Transvaal daisy, Barberton
daisy, African daisy, Veldt daisy
(composite) blooms comprise three types of florets: The
center (disc, eye) contains disc florets; around the center is a
ring of intermediate trans florets; and the petals that
compose the outer ring are known as ray florets.
There are five standard
types of Gerbera flowers plus specialty hybrids:
Singles - one row
of nonoverlapping petals (ray florets), usually with a green
center (disc florets)
Doubles (Duplex) - two rows of overlapping petals,
with a green or dark center
Crested doubles - two rows of overlapping petals,
with one or more inner rows of shorter petals (trans
florets), and a green or dark center
Full crested doubles - solid overlapping rows of
petals, with inner rows of shorter petals that cover the
Quilled crested doubles (Spider) - overlapping rows
of spike-shaped petals, with one or more inner rows of
shorter petals, and a green or dark center
Specialty hybrids - Terra Nigra’s Gerrondo®
and Florist De Kwakel’s Pomponi® branded hybrids are
“cushion”-type Gerberas, which have 500 to 700 petals
in multiple overlapping rows. Other new hybrids include the
wild “feather”-petaled varieties (e.g., Schreurs’ ‘Pasta’
series) and Preesman’s limited novelty green ‘Loco’
Gerberas are available in
three sizes: miniature (2-3 inches in diameter); standard
(3-5 inches in diameter); and giant (5-6 inches in
Gerbera stems are
naturally leafless; however, breeders have developed hybrids
that have short, spike-shaped leaves (e.g., Terra Nigra’s
Gerfolia® series and Florist De Kwakel’s Deco
are available in
virtually every hue imaginable (including, now, green) except
for blues and blue-violets. Striking bicolors also are
available. The centers can be yellow, green, brown, black or
Four to 14 days is the
typical vase life for cut Gerberas, depending on variety,
care, environmental conditions and stage of maturity at the time
of sale. Some new varieties reportedly last as long as 18 days.
Gerberas are available
year-round from domestic and international growers.
immediately upon their arrival, and check flower quality.
Next, recut stem ends with a sharp blade, removing at least 1
inch of stem. Immediately after cutting, dip or place stem ends
into a hydration solution to help the flowers absorb water more
quickly and easily, then place them into a nutrient solution
prepared with nonfluoridated water, if possible (fluoride can
cause petal tip burn in some varieties).
Finally, suspend flower heads through a mesh support or shipping
tray, over the opening of their storage container, so the stems
hang straight into the nutrient solution without touching the
bottom of the container. This will encourage straight stems.
Gerberas, immediately place them into a floral refrigerator
at 33 F to 35 F, and allow them to hydrate for at least two
hours before selling or arranging them. Except for design time,
keep these flowers refrigerated until they’re sold or delivered.
It has been a widely held belief that some varieties of
Gerberas are chill sensitive, but that has never been
Change the nutrient
solution and clean the storage containers every day because
Gerberas are particularly susceptible to stem clogging by
are not affected by
exposure to ethylene.
Provide consumers with
packets of flower food so they can change the nutrient solution
in their containers daily. Also, advise them to recut the stems
daily, as well, removing at least one-half inch of stem; to
display Gerberas out of direct sunlight, away from
air/heat vents and out of cold drafts; and to place the flowers
in the coolest room at night.
One problem with cut
Gerberas is their tendency to “conk,” which is the folding
or collapse of the stems 4 to 6 inches below the blooms. This
condition is more prevalent in some cultivars than others and
varies throughout the year.
Gerberas often have curved
stems—making them difficult to arrange—which is primarily a
response to the forces of gravity (geotropism). This often can
be rectified by suspending flower heads through a mesh support
atop their storage containers (see “Vase-life Extenders:
Processing”) and by storing them at the proper temperature (33 F
to 35 F). Gerberas also will naturally turn their heads
toward light (phototropism).
Wiring the stems or placing
them inside straws (preferable to wiring) can help straighten
the stems and prevent conking, but neither method will increase
the vase life of the flowers.
WHAT’S IN A NAME
The genus Gerbera is named after Traugott Gerber,
an 18th-century German medical doctor and naturalist who
was the director of the oldest botanical garden in
Moscow, taught medicine at the university and created a
medicinal garden to educate medical students in herbology.
The species epithet,
jamesonii, was given in honor of Robert Jameson
(1832-1908), a Scottish condiment manufacturer who
collected live specimens of these plants while on a gold
prospecting expedition in Barberton, South Africa, in
The common names—Transvaal daisy, Barberton daisy,
African daisy and Veldt daisy—come from the flowers’
origin: Transvaal is the former name of the northeastern
province of South Africa to which these flowers are
native; Barberton is a town in that region; and “veldt”
is a term applied to the grassy plateaus of this region
of South Africa.
Gerberas are a member of the huge Asteraceae/Compositae
(Aster/composite/sunflower) family. Close
relatives include sunflowers, chrysanthemums, Dahlias,
Zinnias, Asters, marigolds, Calendulas,
black-eyed Susans, bachelor’s buttons, safflowers,
Veronica, yarrow and Solidago (goldenrod).
Some information provided
by R.G. Turner Jr. and Ernie Wasson
Dictionary of Plant Names,
by Allen J. Coombes
Chain of Life
by Liberty Hyde Bailey and
Ethel Zoe Bailey
New Pronouncing Dictionary of Plant Names
by Florists’ Review
SAF Flower & Plant Care,
by Terril A. Nell, Ph.D.
and Michael S. Reid, Ph.D.
Stearn’s Dictionary of Plant Names for Gardeners,
by William T. Stearn