Transvaal daisy, Barberton daisy, African daisy, Veldt daisy
Gerbera’s daisylike (composite) blooms comprise three types of florets: The center (a.k.a. disc or 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 several new 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 center entirely
• 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 - This category includes Gerrondo® and Pomponi® “cushion”-type Gerberas and the wild ‘Pasta’ series “feather”-petaled varieties.
Gerberas are available in three sizes: miniature (2-3 inches in diameter); standard (3-5 inches in diameter); and giant (5-6 inches in diameter).
Gerbera stems are naturally leafless; however, breeders have developed hybrids that have short, spike-shaped leaves (e.g., Gerfolia® series).
Gerberas 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 dark red/red-violet.
Cut Gerberas last from four to 14 days at the consumer level, 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.
Unpack Gerberas immediately upon their arrival, and check flower quality. If you cannot process these flowers right away, place the flower boxes into a floral cooler until you can get to them.
HYDRATION AND NUTRITION
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 flower-food solution prepared with nonfluoridated water, if possible (fluoride can cause petal tip burn in some varieties).
Suspend flower heads through a mesh support or shipping tray, over the opening of their storage containers, so the stems hang straight into the nutrient solution without touching the bottoms of the containers. This will encourage straight stems.
After processing 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 scientifically substantiated.
Change the flower-food solution and clean the storage containers every day because Gerberas are particularly susceptible to stem clogging by bacteria-contaminated water.
Gerberas are not affected by exposure to ethylene gas.
Provide consumers with packets of flower food, so they can change the solution in their containers daily. Also, advise them to recut the stems daily, as well, removing at least one-half inch of stem, and to display Gerberas out of direct sunlight, away from air/heat vents and out of cold drafts. Encourage consumers to place the flowers in the coolest room at night to prolong vase life.
Some varieties of cut Gerberas tend to “conk,” which is the folding or collapse of the stems 4 to 6 inches below the blooms. Wiring the stems or placing them inside straws (preferable to wiring) can help keep stems straight and prevent conking.
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: Hydration and Nutrition,” ) and by storing them at the proper temperature (33 F to 35 F). Gerberas also will naturally turn their heads toward light (phototropism).
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 medical 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 1884.
The common names—Transvaal daisy, Barberton daisy, Veldt daisy and African 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 the Transvaal region.
• “Veldt” is a term applied to the grassy plateaus of the Transvaal region.
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).
To view 56 Gerbera varieties, please download the PDF.
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Some information provided by:
Botanica, by R.G. Turner Jr. and Ernie Wasson
Dictionary of Plant Names, by Allen J. Coombes
Chain of Life Network® , www.chainoflife.org
Hortus Third, 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
California Cut Flower Commission (CCFC)
Camflor Inc. • Esmeralda Farms
Ever-Bloom • Farmers’ West Flowers & Bouquets, Inc.
Florist Holland B.V. • Johannes Flowers, Inc.
Kitayama Brothers • Ocean Breeze Farms
Pyramid Flowers • Schreurs B.V.
Sunshine Floral LLC • Sun Valley Group, The
Terra Nigra B.V.