gerberas cultivation tips

pete55March 10, 2003

Hi, everyone, as a beginner to growing gerberas, and as there is so little cultural information and books about on the subject. How about Tips and Cultural information from other growers, experienced and beginners..what works for you etc. Then we can keep this info for reference. All problems with mould, fungus, and bugs, heat, cold, sun , shade and so on.I live in Perth Western Australia, but I am sure any information from anywhere will be of such help to us beginners in this field.


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Hi Pete, Gerberas are just great,you will lose more than you save, they like warm dry, sandy soil, well drained. Only water early in the morning so they dry out by evening.No special fertiliser required, plant up on a small mound and in rows to keep them together and good luck. Yes they get fungus and die,you can spray them for it, fongarid or similar. But you just have to keep learning as you go. Good luck. Peter R.

    Bookmark   March 14, 2003 at 4:27AM
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Thanks Peter R for your advice, yes I have already lost 3, don't know what I did but, leaves went brown in patches and just collapsed, will try again.

    Bookmark   March 18, 2003 at 2:41AM
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Yes, that's a problem. I recently lost my first attempt over a year ago. So I started again 2 months ago. They are doing great just by keeping them dry, growing in big pots to avoid wet feet problem. And I use fongarid for the first time to treat the root to prevent rot. They are growing prolificly but the last couple of weeks of extremely humid and fairly warm weather send in fungal attacks. I have just sprayed them with Mancozeb. Then again snails and insects love eating the leaves. So snail bait and pest oil are used.

Gerberas are not the easiest to care for! They won't die but do not look good if not well cared for. It's hard to find the ones with big flowers for cutting. I got only the popular one with short flowers. I think the cut flowers type is worth growing.

    Bookmark   April 1, 2003 at 12:20AM
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trouble! I check them this morning and the potting mix is giving them problem. The potting with lots of wood chips support mold and fungus in rainny weather like this. The plants with yellow flowers are particularly weaker than the rest (the red ones are the strongest). Also the humid air causes the fungus growing on flowers as well! I suppose Fongarid had helped otherwise the root would have rotted. I am going to take some drastic action to see if the problems can be controlled. When I get home today I will remove some of the pot mix to expose the crown more to improve air circulation and pour clean sand in to reduce problem with the fungus. I think all the leaves that are infected heavily with fungus and mildrew should be removed as well. Also I told my wife to stop watering them for a few days for the water to dissipate from the root system.

Even though they have so many young blooms at the moment, the problem with Gerberas is that one day you see plenty of blooms the next day you see them killed by rot. And the flowers continue to bloom until death is certain! It's quite deceptive until you look at the roots.

    Bookmark   April 1, 2003 at 9:50PM
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Thanks dmaivn, yes you are right, not the easiest plants.
I have used this yates rose gun, for mildew, and so far it has worked, used every 14 days. Some of my earlier ones have started to grow but I noticed dark patches on the leaves and some just went brown..too much water from the rain?? The tall ones are VERY fussy about heat and sun, if they get too hot the flower stalk sulks and sometimes kinks, thats it for them. Have to keep them under a large tree to get shade and cool breeze.Tried under pearl fibreglass sheets...too hot. The smaller ones are easier to grow so far, but winter comming and here in Perth, it is very wet..don't know what to do then.They all grow in the shady side of our outdoor room and get no sun at all!!They do flower so far.

    Bookmark   April 2, 2003 at 2:57AM
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My drastic action seems to work. I move all mulch out of the pots. I remove more soil to expose the crown of the plants. Remove all diseased leaves that the Sun can hardly reached. Then I pour clean play sand in to make it harder for any mold to grow on the soil. I also fertilise strickly with mild inorganic soluble stuff. They seem to respond better so far. The weather also cools further so that helps as I can see the fungal problems with the roses also subside.

The idea of having to care too much for them really discourage me. I remember that I had the tall blooms before. Thse plants have their best flowers in Autumn and Spring. The rest of the year they may not look good. I also have a few big and busshy geberas in the ground. They have lots of flowers and do not need any care. But the flowers are not looking very nice. Little snails make holes on the leaves even though I try to bait them.

I think Gerberas will be Ok on sandy soil in the ground, but they do not look very nice. The ones I have in pots now look much better but probably because they are younger and have better care. The current lot of blooms are bad probably because I use pesticide on the plant or because of the fungal attack. The coming lot looks much more promising as the climate gets cooler and less humid. They want filter Sun but I can only give it 1/2 unfiltered Sun which is a little too intense for the flowers.

    Bookmark   April 7, 2003 at 9:33PM
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Hi all
from my experience of growing Gerberas, both in pots and in the ground, I find them easier to grow in the ground - over in WA I find they prefer a little shade each day - the hot sun in summer just scorches them. Also, they drink so much water. My potted ones needed 2 drinks a day in the hot - so in the ground they will go very shortly. I also just planted one I had had in a pot for a year or so. It was very sick looking, but has recovered very well now it is in the ground and putting out lots of new growth. I have also had no disease at all on the plants in the ground, whilst it is a constant battle with my potted ones.

    Bookmark   April 7, 2003 at 11:20PM
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Thanks to Dmaivn and Gardengirl for the followups, nice to get other ideas, and see what others can do to get these plants flowering. I have moved mine under pearl roofing now, as the rains are not far off. The trouble with that sort of roofing is as it is low (about 6foot) it does get very hot. Plenty of bright light though. Have also put washed riversand on the crown. Some of my flowers are only half!!!the bottom section of petals are so small, wonder what caused that to happen? The big tall plants are sulking as always, have staked the flower heads otherwise they bend and kink...overs for them. Have heard that potassium or potash is good to build strong flower stems, will try some in the watering. Good luck and happy growing, keep the ideas going.

    Bookmark   April 8, 2003 at 4:39AM
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In my experience, most plants do prefer by far to be in the ground, rather than a pot - it must be that the conditions are more constant, dunno!

    Bookmark   April 18, 2003 at 4:46PM
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Thanks Liatris, you could be right, I have heard ther same thing, perhaps a big root run or just cooler and moist soil?

    Bookmark   May 4, 2003 at 4:21AM
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I have this theory that plants feel very frail with their root mass being moved around. After all they are supposed to be solidly rooted in the earth. (What's the botanic version of anthropomorphism?) :-D

    Bookmark   May 13, 2003 at 8:21AM
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My friend got a beautiful crop of Geberas in his ground on good garden mix last Summer. The blooms have the quality of cut flowers. I have just discovered after I bought good garden mix from Flowers power that the commercial garden mix can retain water much better than those in expensive bags! That's why my friend got a neautiful crop of Gerberas last Summer as he had them in 1/2 Sun and excellent quality garden mix. The garden mix is good in water retension but does not promote mold and mildew. It is quite heavy as it has a lot of sand (quite different from the garden mix in bags which has been designed to be light and easy to carry). When I pour a lot of water into it, it feel like mud for a little while then drain away. The moisture retension is simply excellent. They also have composted manure giving them a slight odour.

As my bushes of gerberas in the ground have stopped growing due to colder climate. I dig them up, break them apart and pot them into pots with this "good" garden mix. Next Spring I will get them down to the ground again.

My big pots are still fowering. They no longer suffer mildew as the climate is cooler. And as long as the pots are big and they sit under a big tree to collect only 1/2 Sun, the Gerberas should do well in mild climate. When it comes to mid Winter I will take them out and repot with good garden mix as well to help them grow well in Spring.

    Bookmark   May 18, 2003 at 11:07PM
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Thanks for all the hints Dmaivn, so far so good with mine, even have a few flowers on their way. I also found that half sun seems to be best. I went to the local gerbera show and bought some of the large tall hybrids, and was told they will grow in full sun and are hardened off, but hey! after only one hour in the sun they drooped and the leaves as well, so back into the shadehouse and now they are looking better.I bought some washed riversand and mixed his half with a good potting mix, seems ok.
Good growing.

    Bookmark   May 20, 2003 at 3:49AM
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hi gardengirl, are the ones in the ground just in normal (grey) sand? Im getting ready to grow some from seed, not sure what the best time to do this is, and now Im worried after reading this thread! I was planning on planting them in the ground once they were big enough.

    Bookmark   May 20, 2003 at 7:38AM
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Hi Libster and everone
The ones I have in the ground I started from seedlings that you used to be able to get in the foam punnets (there used to be four to a punnet in those white foam things that made a mess, I can't get them anymore, I have asked at my local nursery, and it is a problem with the punnet production! Sunnyvale plants used to distrubute them). I potted them on in potting mix in a larger pot, and when ready, planted them out. Some I kept in pots, but found these got sick and dried out too quick, so in the ground they went too, where they picked up 100%. I did amend the soil with some soil conditioner and old manure, but yes, I have that lovely grey sand too! I haven't grown them from seed myself yet, but am actually looking out for some, cos, as I mentioned, I can't find them in the punnets anymore, and the pretty greenhouse grown ones are too week I find, and the stems are short. does anyone know if Yates or any of the seed company's sell seeds in the common places (eg BigW, Bunnings or nurseries) as I can't find any seeds either, the only gerberas I can find are the greenhouse grown ones.
I have some lovely ones I got at the local markets, I think these are the florist ones, very vivid colours and very long stems. I am hoping they set some seed, as they are pretty tough too, they are in pots currently, but need to be thinned out, so I will try some in the ground and pot on a few. Pete55, I think they may be hybrids too, I also find them too tender for full sun, they are doing wonderful just getting the morning sun. I hope the fellow I bought them off visits the markets again soon, at $5 for a large pot of beautiful healthy gerberas was a good price. I have had these for about 6 months, and haven't seen the vender since.Wish I had bought more than 3 pots off him now!

    Bookmark   May 21, 2003 at 3:25AM
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Hi Gardengirl, I believe that the gerbera show is on at the Southlands or Gardencity shopping complex from tomorrow until Saturday. We live South of the river so it is not too far to go. One of the members sells a large variety at the Canningvale markets on Sundays, he is not always there, but at $5 each for the huge hybrids, triplex, doubles and singles they are a good buy. He also sells the handbook Gerberas for W.A.These should also be available from this weekends show at $5.
You can also email Margaret on
She is involved in the gerbera society. I am hoping to get down there and just perhaps get another one....or mmm two.
Happy gardening.

    Bookmark   May 21, 2003 at 4:19AM
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thanks for the tip Pete, unfortunatly, I am down south in Bunbury, so won't be able to make it. We occasionaly have the locals do a show at one of the shopping centers, so will look out for them.
Next time I am in Perth though, will definatly check out the Canningvale markets, have been meaning to for ages anyway, sounds like another good reason to go. Actually, my dad often talks of going there, might get him to pick me up a few if he sees them, then again, I don't know if they would survive living with him for a month or two till I get up there again!!

    Bookmark   May 21, 2003 at 4:59AM
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Hi Gardengirl, I will find out this guys name and get his phone no. This way you can check if he will be there before you come up. He has a very large range and all are very tempting. I am sure your Dad can keep a few for you, if they are kept in a shaded position and watched each day for wilting, they seem to like a lot of water in the pots, so when they look like old lettuce...water...water.They seem to survive very quickly. Good growing and happy gardening.

    Bookmark   May 22, 2003 at 4:01AM
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thanks for the tips gardengirl, it sounds a bit more promising now! Im not sure where you can get the seeds from, I got a few off my neighbour (I think they were given to them by someone else) so theyre not commercial seeds. Its sounds like they might like the sandy soil after all.

Im going to give it a go anyway and see what happens, I'll let you know if I have any success or if they all just up and die on me :)

    Bookmark   May 23, 2003 at 5:28AM
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gardengirl, I bought some gerbera seeds at Bunnings- think they were Yates. Although I got them in Qld. They only had the one type in the one brand.

    Bookmark   June 1, 2003 at 7:36AM
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Thanks trendyme, I have checked out my local Bunnings, but they had none. I will ask them to order me some from Yates. I collected some from some finished blooms, so hoping these are fertile and grow for me!

    Bookmark   June 5, 2003 at 4:18AM
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It looks like gerberas need some attention. They are not the type that will grow well, die back and grow well again. Mine are in sort of hybernation now. I pulled some out of the ground, divide them and put into pots. Netx Spring they will grow big and I have to worry where to put them down again. It's a shame that I lost those long flowers ones due to rot. The ones I have now only grow medium length flowers.

As they seem not suitable to be grown permanently at one spot in the garden, I would probably grow them just for a show in good months and shove them away out of sight when the climate is bad for them. It looks like constant fertlising is too much of a problem. I will start the repotting game every year with newly prepared soil mix.

    Bookmark   July 8, 2003 at 12:00AM
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Good luck Dao, Mine are still flowering strong surprisingly, with more buds forming in the crown, I think it may have something to do with the fairly mild winter weather we are experiencing over here in the West. I planted some with my roses, as they like the same conditions. These are still flowering well too. I also finally managed to get some quality seed, this was over the net. It was pretty expensive, and I am waiting for them to germinate now.

    Bookmark   July 8, 2003 at 1:30AM
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Mine never produces any good seed. There are some but very scantily in each spent bloom. It probably takes forever to grow from seeds. Occasionally Bunnings stock long stem gerberas. I find snails attacking all sorts of plants this Autumn. They are so bad in Sydney this wet season. There are millions of them recently. Unless I bait them continuously every week, they simply repopulate rapidly. It seems the cold climate finally stop them but next Spring won't be very nice. I think I have to start bating them at the first sign of Spring. It looks like red gerberas are vigorous, then next is the dark pink, light pink and yellow are the worst. I feel that they can't stay permanently in sight. There is a fair bit of maintenance. However the fresh flowers are so long lasting. We had a vase for 3 weeks already, they are gorgeous.

    Bookmark   July 9, 2003 at 10:54PM
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2 weeks ago I planted six gerberas in a row,all conditions
being the same.In the last few days two plants have collapsed in the arvo.I water them and next morning they are fine.The same plants have collapsed again.They get just as much sun as the other four.Any reason?

    Bookmark   September 11, 2004 at 3:05AM
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Well, when I used to live in Brisbane... I had great success with gerberas. I put them in huge pots (since I did not own the house) and put a drip watering system to water once a day in the morning. I found that full sun position is the best for them. I made sure that the crown is not covered, and I removed all the dead leaves every day. Also, I use use well drain potting mix and no mulch at all. My gerberas loved it and they flowered right, left and centre... So, that is my experience and it was working for me. It was a lot of trial and error though... I have lost count on how many I lost before that. Although, I found that the ones that suffered would eventually come back. I did not use any fungucide whatsoever.

Haven't had the courage to try it up here, since it is very wet in the wet season.... I will one day. I just love them.... Use to bring them in every week. I now have heliconias, gingers and anthurium as cut flowers, but they are not the same.

Regards, Ari :)

    Bookmark   September 13, 2004 at 11:22PM
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All six gerberas are doing fine.The two problem ones wilted every arvo for about ten days but are very healthy

    Bookmark   October 10, 2004 at 5:00AM
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can someone please advise the best time in Perth to divide Gerberas. just when I think it is the time, up come new flowers!

    Bookmark   December 20, 2010 at 1:42AM
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I live in New Zealand and we have fairly cold and very wet winters. I keep my outdoor potted gerberas fairly dry under the house eaves through winter, with just enough dampness to keep them alive. They completely die off all winter, but act deciduously and pop their heads up above the soil again in spring. Don't throw those plants out, sick or if they die back in the cold. Sick and dead looking ones come back as well. I use a systemic fungicide to keep them in good shape, but if you do lose them, try keeping them as dormant plants, only just damp and cool and they might just come back again for you. Mine often do after an attack, often in autumn. If they die by being left in full sun and heat, same thing, they will go underground for a while and then return - perennials. They cannot stand our bright sun during summer and I have mine under shade cloth.
I would split them up when in full growth, say late spring/early summer, depending on your climate - never in autumn or winter though. Then any damage to rots etc can recover quickly. When plants are dormant or slowed down in growth, they are less able to resist disease.

    Bookmark   February 7, 2011 at 9:16PM
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i belong to dehra dun uttrakhand gerbera disease how many and how they come . if u have docter so just sand contect num............

    Bookmark   April 22, 2011 at 2:26AM
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I'm new to growing gerberas so it's been trial and error. I originally had them in the ground and, of course, the first frost that came along, I lost two. Dug the other two up and put them in pots. We have now moved to another area and I now have six, all in pots, and they are absolutely beautiful, I have them situated in a sunny sheltered corner but wonder what to do with them during winter as it is likely we could get a frost or two. I usually give them a dose of Seasol and use snail bait to keep these pests at bay.

    Bookmark   January 26, 2012 at 12:43AM
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