White gerbera is a magnificent specimen of a flower, designed by nature to create flower arrangements. It suits almost any bouquet - from pompous aristocratic to the most modest. Until recently, it was used mainly as an "industrial" flower for flower arrangements, but now the gerbera has become attractive to amateur flower growers.
Gerbera ranks fifth in popularity among flowers grown for bouquets, after roses, carnations, chrysanthemums and tulips. Another name for this wonderful flower is "Transvaal chamomile", from the name of the Transvaal area in South Africa, where it was discovered.
Botanical description and history of origin
Gerbera belongs to the Aster family, and is similar at the same time to an aster, and a chamomile, and even a small sunflower. It got its name from the surname of the outstanding German physician and biologist Traugott Gerber. The white beauty became widely known to Europeans after expeditions to the wilds of South Africa, the subtropical forests of Madagascar, only in the late 19th - early 20th centuries.
The flower of the "transvaal chamomile" is a complex inflorescence (otherwise called "basket"). The diameter of the inflorescence is from 4 to 30 centimeters.
Such a "basket" consists of:
- very delicate white flowers along the edge of the inflorescence;
- median flowers, which are tiny tubes of yellow color.
In total, the basket can contain up to 100 individual flowers. The leaves of the white gerbera are graceful, dark green in color, with jagged leaf depressions along the edges, up to 30 centimeters long, sometimes covered with a whitish downy. The height of the stems is up to 60 centimeters. The rhizome is well developed.
Gerbera is a perennial plant. At present, thanks to the labor of breeders, about 70 varieties of white gerbera have already been bred.
Appearance and features
Gerbera white is surprisingly similar to chamomile. The peduncle of a guest from the subtropics is always solitary, surrounded by leaves, attached to the shoots. "Transvaal chamomile" - a heat-loving flower, so it is not recommended to grow it in our conditions outdoors (if you want to know how gerbera is grown in the garden, read this article).
Although the gerbera loves sunlight, it is advisable to hide it in the shade at noon in the summer. Interestingly, the plant requires 12 hours of daylight for flowering. If there is too much sunlight, and also if there is an excess of it, you may not wait for flowers at all (you can find out more about why gerberas may not bloom and how in this case you need to take care of them here).
Below you will see a photo of a white gerbera:
Where and how to plant it?
As noted above, growing white gerbera in the open field is difficult. In Central Russia, "transvaal daisies" must be dug out before the onset of cold weather. It is recommended to grow this plant variety in greenhouses or at home.
Lighting and location
Gerbera is a "sissy" and is afraid of drafts and strong winds. If you nevertheless decide to plant it in the open ground, the best location would be a place near a blank fence or the wall of a building with maximum insolation.
It is recommended to plant the plant in a small hole, but only so that water does not accumulate in it - this will be detrimental to the gerbera. In the house, the gerbera is recommended to be placed in a quiet and bright place in a flowerpot (read about how to care for a gerbera in a pot here). Best for this whimsical plant is the sill of a southeast facing window. Also, flower growers advise placing a pot of gerbera in a tray with sphagnum moss, gravel or expanded clay.
Note! Too spacious container will be an obstacle to flowering! Indeed, in this case, all the forces of the plant will go to the formation of the root system, but not flowers.
Gerbera prefers loosened soil through which fresh air can easily flow. To prepare the substrate, you will need to mix in equal proportions:
- fine sand;
- leaf turf.
In principle, a soil mixture for roses, widely represented in retail chains, is also suitable for gerbera.
Humus and compost are very harmful to gerbera roots. Avoid adding these ingredients to the soil.
Care and common diseases and pests
Common diseases and pests "Transvaal daisy" is a delicate plant. As already noted, she does not like drafts and excessively bright sunlight.
With extreme caution, it is necessary to approach watering. Drops of water should not fall on the leaves and the root outlet (for the same reason, the plant does not like spraying very much), the amount of water should be small so that it does not stagnate in any way in the root layer of the earth. Only softened, slightly warmed water is suitable for watering.
The air that the white beauty "breathes" should be well humidified, with a temperature of 20 - 22 degrees Celsius. Also, you need to seriously approach the introduction of fertilizing into the soil:
- fertilizer complexes with a high level of nitrogen must be applied from late winter to mid-spring;
- complexes enriched with potassium are suitable for the flowering period, which, by the way, falls on the period from August to November.
A few words about gerbera diseases and pests affecting the plant. These include:
- Powdery mildew. An external symptom is plaque on the upper part of the leaves of a diseased plant, their darkening.
- Fusarium and verticillosis. In the presence of such a disease, the rhizomes and bases of the peduncles are painted in an intense brown color.
- Phytophthora. Its symptoms are sweaty pigmentation on all parts of the gerbera, suppuration of the stem.
- Gray rot. Leaves and shoots are covered with a gray bloom.
It is possible to prevent infection with these diseases by regularly ventilating the room where the plant "lives". But beware of drafts! They can easily destroy the visitor of their humid subtropics.
Gerbera is also vulnerable to pests, including:
- spider mite;
You can get rid of them by gently washing the plant in soapy water, or by applying an insecticide.
You can read more about caring for a gerbera here, but here we talked about why gerbera leaves can turn yellow and how to treat it.
There are three ways to reproduce white gerbera:
- seeds (rare);
- dividing the bush;
- by cuttings.
Seeds are planted in the soil at the very beginning of spring, covered with a minimum layer of soil, pre-soaked for 3-4 hours.
Seeds can be planted no earlier than 6 months after harvestafter thorough drying.
After the first leaves appear on young plants, they are transplanted, carefully cutting off the tip of the main root.
Reproduction by division is often practiced when growing gerberas at home.
- The division is performed at the end of flowering, usually in summer.
- When dividing the gerbera, the top layer of the soil is removed, the upper part of the bare rhizome is carefully cut in two (it is most convenient to use a surgical scalpel).
- Both the resulting pieces are left in the pot.
- It is recommended to sprinkle the place of the cut with crushed coal (but just dry earth will do).
- After new roots appear in plants, they are taken out and planted in different containers. Another way to reproduce a white beauty is by cuttings.
- In a gerbera, a part of the stem with a leaf and a knot is cut off and placed in warm, moist soil.
- Within about one week, new shoots will appear, from which new "transvaal daisies" will grow.
Note! Cuttings can only be applied to plants not older than 3 years.
Gerberas are very beautiful and elegant flowers, fashionable, showy, impeccable in their austere sophisticated beauty. They are able to revive the interior of any room, to bring notes of cheerfulness and optimism into everyday life. Gerber can be presented to a person for whom you have deep sincere respect and a feeling of gratitude.