How to Get Gerbera Daisies Through Winter

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Overwinter Gerbera daisies
Overwinter Gerbera daisies (Image: pink gerber daisies close image by Trevor Goodwin from Fotolia.com)

Gerbera daisies are a beautiful member of the sunflower family, with bright, broad, long-lasting blossoms on succulent stems. They're somewhat vulnerable to pests and molds but can be kept healthy and thriving year round. Also known as the African daisy, Gerbera is generally regarded as an annual plant in areas where frost occurs. That doesn't mean you can't keep them alive over the winter. You just have to keep them from freezing.

Things You'll Need

  • Gerbera daisies
  • Medium-sized flowerpots
  • Sandy potting soil
  • Leaves or straw
  • Spade

Transplant Gerbera daisies when nights begin to turn cool (below 40 degrees). Prepare your pots by filling them with a sandy, loose, well-draining potting soil. If you can't find it at your garden center, you can make your own by mixing one part garden sand with two parts regular soil mix. Add water.

With a spade, gently dig around the base of your Gerbera daisy. Its roots do not go deep, but they will spread out several inches from the center of the plant. Pry it up very carefully, and gently brush the soil away from the roots.

Place the daisies in flowerpots, tamping the soil down around the roots. Water thoroughly and keep moist for the first few days to help alleviate transplant shock.

Find a place for your potted Gerbera daisies in your home. A sunny window sill is best, since these flowers need as much light as possible. Avoid spots that are on or near hot air registers, as this plant will dry out quickly and die. Make sure the temperature in your house does not go below 55 degrees or above 78 degrees.

Keep a a sharp eye on this plant during the winter. Gerbera daisies are prone to rot and fungus, so if you see brown or curling leaves, pinch them off immediately. Do not brush the leaves with a wet cloth, as it will pull the tiny hairs from the leaves and cause them to die. Pinch off any leaf that looks suspicious, and pinch off dead blooms to encourage more flowering.

Leave Gerbera daisies outdoors in winter only if you live in a warm climate that rarely gets a hard freeze. This plant can survive a warm winter if given sufficient cover. Rake leaves or straw over them. If they're in pots, move them to a sheltered spot that gets plenty of light, such as under a carport, against the side of a house, or under a picnic table.

Tips & Warnings

  • Even with the best of intentions, sometimes Gerbera daisies don't make it through the winter. If yours is starting to fail, propagate by dividing roots, crowns or cuttings dipped into root hormone and planted in sandy soil.

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