Gerberas are named after the 18th-century German botanist Traugott Gerber. They look like exotic daisies - which isn’t surprising as they belong to the daisy family Asteraceae. Their common name is African Daisy because they come from the Transvaal in South Africa.
In the Language of Flowers, all daisies are associated with innocence and purity, and Gerberas are additionally associated with cheerfulness because of their many bright colours of red, yellow, orange, white, pink, peach. Gerbera flowers can be up to seven inches wide, and remain open in the dark, unlike some of their daisy cousins that close-up at night. Gerberas are some of the most popular cut flowers and offer a usefully long vase life.
Gerberas come in four forms: singles with non-overlapping petals and a green centre; doubles with two rows of overlapping petals and a green, black or dark-red centre; crested doubles with one or more inner rows of shorter petals and a centre of green, black or dark red; full-crested doubles with solid overlapping rows of petals with an inner row diminishing in size and covering the eye completely.
Gerbera plants like a sunny sheltered position in the garden and to be brought in over the winter. They flower from May to August.