Both common names of this South African native, Transvaal daisy and Barberton daisy, spell out its geographical origin, Transvaal being a province and Barberton a city there. A perennial, it is too tender to live through winter except in parts of Zones 9 and 10, but it will bloom the first year from seed. Gerbera is grown as an annual.
Description of Transvaal daisy, Barberton daisy: Gerbera forms a nice rosette of notched, glossy leaves, from which the flowers grow 12 to 18 inches high, depending on the variety. Flowers are single, semi-double, or double in shades of pink, orange, red, yellow, and white and are up to 4 inches or more in diameter.
Growing Transvaal daisy, Barberton daisy: They grow best in full sun but will tolerate partial shade. They need moist, well-drained soil high in organic matter and high humidity. Use started plants and plant out after last frost and when the ground has warmed. Make sure to plant at ground level. Depending on the variety, space 12 to 15 inches apart.
Propagating Transvaal daisy, Barberton daisy: Start new plants from seed. Be sure to use fresh seeds. Press seeds into the soil but do not cover; they need light to germinate. Sow 14 to 18 weeks before setting out. Seeds will germinate in 10 days at 70 to 75 degrees Fahrenheit.
Uses for Transvaal daisy, Barberton daisy: Cluster them at the front or side of a bed, or in a border. Mix them with other plants. Individual flowers last a long time on the plant, but when they're done, you need to deadhead to keep new flowers coming. Gerberas are good container plants. As cut flowers, they last up to two weeks.
Transvaal daisy, Barberton daisy related varieties: Happipot is a compact variety with a 10- to 15-inch height. The flowers are single red, rose, pink, salmon, orange, yellow, and cream. Parade is a dwarf series with double flowers in many colors. A taller, cut flower type is Gigi, with 18- to 24-inch stems and 4- to 41/2-inch flowers. Many of the flowers are crested. California Giants is a mix of colors with long stems for cutting.
Scientific name of Transvaal daisy, Barberton daisy: Gerbera jamesonii