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Gerbera, Transvaal Daisy
image.004.06.052 Gerbera.jpg (14065 bytes)
image. Gerbera.jpg (6106 bytes)
Common Names: Gerbera, Gerbera Daisy, Transvaal Daisy, African Daisy, Barberton Daisy, Veldt Daisy
Botanical Name:  Gerbera (GER-be-rah)
Availability:  Year-round
Vase Life:  7 to 10 days
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Floral Design Institute, Inc.

Storage Temperature:  36 - 38 F
Ethylene Sensitive: No
Description: Daisy-shaped flowers 2 to 5 inches in diameter, on long, hollow, leafless stems 12 to 18 inches long.  Single, double and multi-petaled varieties are available.
Colors: Oranges, reds, pinks, whites, yellows and bi-colors, some with contrasting centers.
Botanical Facts: Gerbera was named after Traug Gerber, (1700s) a German naturalist.
Design Notes: A wonderful and colorful flower to design with, Gerbera blossoms can be a focal point or add mass to a floral design.   Gerberas are phototropic and flower heads may  turn to face a strong light.
Purchasing Hints:  Purchase blossoms with at least one row of disk flowers (tubular flowers in the center of the head) are showing pollen.  Look for unbruised, fully round heads with unblemished petals on long, straight, upright stems.
Conditioning: Cut stems under water with a sharp knife.  Hydrate in a solution of warm water and commercial floral preservative / floral food for two hours before storage or usage.  Gerberas should be suspended by their heads during the hydration process.  This can be done by positioning a wire grid over a bucket of solution, then slipping the stems through the grid.  The flower heads should rest on the grid and the stems suspend in the water without touching the bottom.  This will result in straight stems,  and eliminate the need for wiring.  
Additional Notes:  Gerberas are sensitive to fluoride.  Fluoridated water can cause petal tip burn.  If flowers are properly conditioned, bent necks should not occur.  If a bent neck does occur it is probably the result of clogged stems due to dirty vase water. Gerberas are very heavy water drinkers and will last longer in vase water than in floral foam.  There are currently over 300 different varieties of Gerbera being grown for the floristry market.

When the gerbera was imported into Europe from South Africa in the 19th century, few people would have suspected the flower was to become so popular. Gerberas are now widely in demand as cut flowers.

With over 300 varieties, gerberas offer an almost incredibly wide range of colours. Every colour in the universe except blue is represented. The bright colours automatically make us think of tropical sun. Or could that be because the flowers come from Africa?

Pink and orange go so well with the feelings evoked by late summer and autumn. There are also gerberas in pale pastel colours; and for those with a more classical taste can choose from a wide range of reds - the most basically cheerful colors.

For the more style-minded, black-and-white contrasts are even represented in a single flower: there are pure white gerberas with a black heart. A new colour trend, coffee and cream, is currently very popular in interior design, and the beige, cream and fleshy pink tones of certain gerberas co-ordinate beautifully.

Gerberas also have a very trendy shape. Being uncomplicated single flowers on stems, they are entirely in line with the current minimalist, 'back-to-basics' trend. Ask any child to draw a flower and nine out of ten will produce a brightly coloured daisy-shaped flower - a gerbera, pure and simple!

However, breeders have developed many variants of this basic shape. From serrated petals or frilly petals that look ragged and shredded, to double flowers and extra wide petals.

An recent interesting development, as far as the flower's shape is concerned, is the mini-gerbera. Although the large-headed gerberas are eye-catching, they may prove somewhat oversized for smaller flower arrangements. The mini-gerberas are of an ideal size. They not only exude the same bright cheerfulness as their bigger brothers, but also have the warm colours and friendly appearance so welcome in comtemporary homes.

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