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Growing Gerbera from seed?

heidinoel
October 18, 2018

Hello, I've always grown Gerbera daisies in my garden, but I have bought them in the store -- never from seed. This summer I had a gorgeous Gerbera that bloomed all summer long. It's 40 degrees here tonight (Boston) and it's still blooming outside. Excuse my ignorance, but is there anyway, at this point, I can bring it inside, "collect" any seeds, and save/grow them for next summer? Guess I'm also wondering in general, if I can grow Gerberas from seed, where I would buy the seeds, and how to grow them. Thank you in advance!

Comments (27)

  • NHBabs z4b-5a NH

    In a quick internet search I see that it takes from 16-18 weeks from seed to flower, so unless you have an indoor growing set up with grow lights, it is likely easier to just buy them. They also have something of a reputation for being more difficult to grow than other plants from seed, so you might want to start with something easier if you haven’t much experience growing plants from seed. They would need to be started in March at the latest, and keeping seedling plants doing well for 3-4 months indoors and then hardening them off for outdoor survival can be tricky. Because yours are likely hybrids, there is no guarantee that they will have the same color or size.

    However, if you want to try and have some dead, totally dried old flowers on the plant, you can see if there are seeds developed and give it a try. You will want to read up on indoor seed starting or ask on one of the Houzz garden web forums that have more people with seeds starting experience such as plant propogation or seed saving.

    https://www.houzz.com/discussions/plant-propagation

    https://www.houzz.com/discussions/seed-saving

    PS sorry not to be more encouraging. You chose a plant that will be more challenging to start from seed than others, but there are many that start well from seed, either with an indoor light setup such as 4’ fluorescent bulbs or with winter sowing.

    https://www.houzz.com/discussions/winter-sowing

  • heidinoel

    Thank you! I plan to start growing from seed this late winter/early spring for the first time. As you mention, I too have heard that Gerberas are tricky to grow from seed (or so I have heard). It's just that I really like these flowers and since they are pretty expensive to buy, I thought nothing-ventured-nothing-gained if I tried them from seed. I look at it all as a learning process.


    Since this one plant I have, is so incredibly hearty and beautiful I figured "why not jump at the chance, and try now."


    Sounds like you are suggesting that I'd have to start the seeds very early, and keeping them alive will be tricky -- especially since I haven't done this before. It may not work, but I do feel as if it's worth give it a try.


    One question: How would I collect the seeds from this one plant? What do they even look like?


    Thank you so much!!

  • floral_uk z.8/9 SW UK

    Nothing to contribute on the seed question but since Gerberas are perennials you should be able to bring the plant in and replant outside next year.

  • heidinoel

    REALLY!!?!? I always thought they were annuals. Any tips on maintaining it throughout the winter? Thank you.

  • heidinoel

    Wow, thank you NHBabs! These are super helpful! I'm going to get to work right away!!

  • NHBabs z4b-5a NH

    I haven’t tried gerbera daisies in the winter, but generally what works best for what I have overwintered is cool temperatures (my kitchen is around 60 degrees when I am not cooking), bright light, and don’t water until the soil feels dry a few inches down. But I am not any kind of an expert.

  • floral_uk z.8/9 SW UK

    Yes. Gerberas are perennials in suitable climates. The fact that they die in places with cold winters doesn’t make them annuals. It makes them tender perennials. I’ve never bought one so can’t comment on keeping it through winter. I’d guess it’s like most tender perennials. It needs lots of light, sufficient but not excessive moisture and warm but not high temperatures.

  • heidinoel

    Ohhh, thank you floral_uk and NHBabs. I learn so much every time from this website! This is very interesting and helpful. More later today-tomorrow, once I process this information and think through my plan.


    Here's a photo of my happy little Gerbera on my deck. It's 43 degrees here, windy and raining.



  • heidinoel

    ooops, one more picture.


  • heidinoel

    Hello again, No time like the present...


    So I am thinking that this is my schedule/plan (with some questions):


    October 21:

    Do I let the Gerbera grow happily outside or pull it in now? (There may be a frost here in Boston, tonight but after that it is supposed to warm up into the 50's)


    Cut stems.

    Put flowers in warm spot (e.g top of refrigerator).

    Let flowers turn to seed.

    Harvest seed when they are completely dry and have fallen off the stem. (This might be tricky to tell when they are dry enough.)

    Put seeds in glass jar with tightly fitting lid (e.g a store bought salsa jar - if I can get the salsa smell out!).

    Refrigerate seeds.

    (As per NHBab's link: https://www.hunker.com/12393243/how-to-get-gerbera-daisy-seeds-from-the-flower)


    Early March:

    Start Gerbera seeds under grow light.

    Begin with seeds very close to light, moving grow light further from plants as they grow.


    Mid-June:

    Plant in containers (I have a container garden on my deck)


    Here are a few questions:


    1. Does this sound reasonable?

    2. At what point do I replant the gerberas from the flats under the grow light, to their final containers (which will sit on my deck). And then, how long they sit in the containers before I begin to harden them off outside. Or, is it all done at once: replant and harden? Or, do I have this backwards, maybe I harden off the flats and then replant to larger containers later?

    2. Just not sure when or how to begin hardening them off (if I should be so lucky!).

    3. Not sure what you mean NHBabs when you say that because they are hybrids that the colors of the new flowers may be different than the current ones.


    Thank you all!







  • NHBabs z4b-5a NH

    To be fairly simple, just like you don’t look exactly like either parent, you have qualities of both parents and probably some from your grandparents as well. Same with plants, the those grown from seeds may look like their ancestors as well as having qualities from parents.

    I wouldn’t cut the flowers if you want seeds. Let them die on the plants and watch them to see the seeds developing. Usually you can see when the seeds are ripe because they start releasing from the plant. Since Gerbera are warm weather plants, I am not sure if the seeds need refrigeration,which is typically used for seeds that need chilling. Most likely setting them in a cool, dark place is enough, but I don’t know for sure.

  • heidinoel

    Thank you again - makes tons of sense about the hybrids!


    Wondering - Are you suggesting I leave the plant outside or bring it in to let it turn to seed?

  • NHBabs z4b-5a NH

    Inside in a bright cool window or under grow lights. You can set it outside on warm days in mostly shade (similar light levels to indoors), but don’t leave it out into the 30’s.

  • floral_uk z.8/9 SW UK

    You could overwinter your Verbena and Catharanthus too if you want to try it.

  • heidinoel

    floral_uk, Thank you. What do you mean by "overwinter?"

  • party_music50

    You don't clip the flower until the seeds have matured. Mature gerbera flowers will look something like a dandelion flower that has gone to seed -- with lots of white fluff. lol!

    "Overwinter" just means you're taking a plant indoors to keep it from freezing to death outdoors over the winter.

    Here's a site that shows what the gerbera seeds will look like and tells you how to plant them. How to grow gerbera from seed.

  • heidinoel

    Party_music 50,


    Thank you very much! This is super helpful. Do you have any input on what to do if I am not going to plant the seeds right away? I'm planning to put them in an airtight container, either in the refrig. or just in a cool dark place. Have you tired this?


    The other information I'm curious about is the process of spreading pollen from flower to flower. I just brought my plant in three days ago and it is starting to turn to seed, a little. Is it too late to spread the pollen at this point?


    Lastly, here's a silly question: Should I continue to water the plant?


    Oops, I guess I have one more question: Is it preferable to hold on to the seeds and plant them closer to the 16-18 weeks before I plan to bring them outside. OR, Plant the seeds now and try to keep the plant going through then entire winter (through June!).


    Thank you for the tip on NOT CLIPPING the flower!


    H

  • floral_uk z.8/9 SW UK

    If it really is forming seedheads it has already been pollinated. That has to happen before seeds can be produced.

    heidinoel thanked floral_uk z.8/9 SW UK
  • party_music50

    If you want to know more about hand-pollinating gerbera, just do a search on "pollinate gerbera" and you'll find several sites that talk about it.

    Re seed storage, I save seeds and put them in small ziplock plastic bags -- I buy the bags in the craft section at WalMart and they usually have 2 or 3 sizes to choose from. I then put the small bags of seed into larger plastic bags (like sandwich bags or qt size bags) and store them in the veggie bin of my refrigerator. Your first task though is to actually get some viable seed.

  • heidinoel

    Floral_uk, I'm not sure what you are referring to? Would you mind explaining a little more? Thank you, party_music. I"ll get Googling right away! :-)

  • heidinoel

    Good morning,

    I'm reading mixed things. I'm wondering if you can make any recommendations of how to store the Gerbera daisy seeds I harvest? I'm in the process of collecting them, but not sure how to store them (for the next few months): darkness? sunlight? warm (how warm)? cool (how cool)? I have a glass container (with tight lid) all set. It sounds like zip lock bag might be okay too? Thank you all for your help with my big experiment.

  • heidinoel

    Just wondering if anyone has any thoughts on storing gerbera seeds.. Thanks!

  • NHBabs z4b-5a NH

    Once dry, a glass jar or ziplock or other sealed plastic bag is fine for seed storage.

    Most seed stores fine in the fridge, but I have no experience with Gerbera seed and it is tropical, so I would be more likely to store a bit warmer but still cool, though that is just a guess on my part. I did a web search for “Gerbera seed storage“ and got this article, which I will let you read. It is likely overall too technical for your needs, but it should give you a good idea of the best storage temperatures somewhere in the article.

    http://hortsci.ashspublications.org/content/30/1/98.full.pdf

    Edited to add:

    I got curious and skimmed the article. It looks like as long as it stays above freezing but is refrigerator temperatures (starting with the warmest at 5 degrees C) germination was fine as long as it didn’t get too much below freezing. So storage in a jar or ziplock is the fridge, exactly as Party Music suggested, is fine.

  • floral_uk z.8/9 SW UK

    I was referring to your statement that your Gerbera ‘is already forming seed heads.’ If that is true it has already been pollinated outdoors by insects. It can’t produce seed without pollination.

  • heidinoel

    Thank you NHBabs! I tried really hard, twice, to get through the article but in the end, the article won. I was utterly confused. What I did also learn was that humidity also makes a difference. Argh! What I didn't understand was if light or darkness was nec. I'm debating putting the seeds in my refrig. (which is always crowded) or in the basement. I have no idea about the humidity either place. I'm utterly confused. The seeds a re currently sitting in my living room in tupperwear :-)


  • NHBabs z4b-5a NH

    The glass jar or ziplock bag or tupperware are for controlling seed moisture and to keep them from. drying out too much. Just put in a container in the fridge and call it good until time to plant. Either it will work or it won’, in which case you can buy some plants.

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