These bright, happy blooms rank No. 6 on the list of most
consumed flowers in the U.S.
call my name
Although Gerbera (GUR-bur-uh) is the botanical name for these
South African natives, it is the term people most commonly use to
refer to these flowers. The common names—which are not frequently
used—are Transvaal daisy, Barberton daisy, veldt daisy and African
daisy. They denote these flowers’ geographical origin in South
Africa (“Transvaal,” a province there; “Barberton,” a city in
Transvaal; and “veldt,” a term for the grassy plateaus of this
what a family
Gerberas are a member of the huge Asteraceae/Compositae
(composite/sunflower) family. Close relatives include sunflowers,
chrysanthemums, Asters, Dahlias, Zinnias, marigolds,
bachelor’s buttons, yarrow and Solidago (goldenrod).
Gerbera’s daisylike (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 blooms: singles,
doubles and crested doubles, full crested doubles and quill crested
doubles (spider). New specialty hybrids include cushion types (e.g.,
Gerrondo®, Pomponi®); “feather”-petaled (‘Pasta’ series); and
novelty green flowers (‘Loco’ series).
size ’em up
Gerbera blooms are available in three sizes: miniature (2 to
3 inches in diameter), standard (3 to 5 inches in diameter) and
giant (5 to 6 inches in diameter).
a new leaf
Gerbera stems are naturally leafless; however, breeders have
developed hybrids that have short spike-shaped leaves (e.g.,
Gerfolia®, ‘Deco’ series).
out of the blue
Gerberas are available in virtually every hue imaginable
(including, now, green) except for true blues and blue-violets.
Striking bicolors also are available. The centers can be yellow,
green, brown, black or dark red/red-violet.
Unpack Gerberas immediately upon their arrival, and check
flower quality. Recut stem ends with a sharp blade, removing at
least 1 inch of stem, and immediately dip or place stem ends into a
hydration solution, to help the flowers absorb nutrient solution
more quickly and easily.
Then place stems into sterilized containers partially filled with
flower-food solution prepared with nonfluoridated water, if possible
(fluoride can cause petal tip burn in some varieties). To encourage
straight stems, suspend flower heads through a mesh support or
shipping tray placed over the container opening, so the stems hang
straight into the flower-food solution without touching the bottom.
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
Change the nutrient solution, clean the storage containers and recut
stems every day because Gerberas are particularly susceptible
to stem clogging by bacteria-contaminated water.
time of their life
Four to 14 days is the typical vase life for cut Gerberas,
depending on variety, care, environmental conditions and maturity at
the time of sale. Some new varieties reportedly last as long as 18
not an issue
Gerberas are not affected by exposure to ethylene.
Wiring the stems or placing them inside straws (preferable to
wiring) can help keep stems straight and prevent conking (stem
collapse 4 to 6 inches below the blooms), but neither action will
increase the vase life of the flowers.
on the homefront
Provide consumers with packets of flower food so they can change the
nutrient solution every day, and advise them to recut the stems
daily, as well.
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