A playful and fun flower, the gerbera is a popular summer flower which is sure to bring happiness and smiles and even flashbacks to the freedom and joy of childhood with their playful nature. There are over 40 species of gerbera, making them a very diverse group of flowers, but all have the common trait of stunning beauty which always catches the eye. Just like they catch our eyes, the sun is the apple of the gerbera’s eye as it is actually a heliotropic plant. This means that the head of the flower turns throughout the day to follow the sun. This allows it to get as much sunlight as possible, and as a result it has more energy and can grow more quickly. Read on to find out even more about this beautiful flower.
What is it called?
The gerbera is often commonly called the African daisy, although actually a different flower. It takes its name from the German doctor and botanist Dr. Traugott Gerber, who at the time was travelling around Russia searching for flowers which could be used for medicinal purposes. However, to this day, no one quite understands the reasoning behind the decision to name the flower after Dr. Gerber. The flower was first discovered by the Dutchman Jan Frederic Gronovius in South Africa in 1737, who gave it this name.
Scientifically, the flower is known as the gerbera too, and it forms part of the Asteraceae family, the same as the daisy, which explains why they can appear so similar at times.
Where does it come from?
Originally, the gerbera was found in South Africa. To this day, this is a popular area for gerberas, but species of gerbera are now known to originate not only from Africa, but also from South America and Asia too.
Due to their popularity, gerberas can now be found all over the world and are grown as decorative plants in gardens worldwide. As these flowers can withstand moderate weather conditions, they are fairly easy to grow in most conditions, which is why they have become so popular.
The only place in which they struggle to grow is in areas where temperatures regularly drop below 0°C/32°F or where heavy rainfall is common, as overwatering is particularly dangerous due to its effect on the roots of the plant.
When does it grow?
The gerbera grows best during the spring and summer months, mostly due to its aversion to cold temperatures and heavy rainfall.
They actually grow best at room temperature, around 24°C/75°F and it is recommended that gerberas are planted in spring, once any frost has passed as this will prevent growth for the flowers.
Spring is also the best time for growth of these flowers due to the amount of water required, as spring often brings enough rain to keep them growing well but without resulting in overwatering.
What does it mean?
The gerbera has a number of meanings and symbolic interpretations, but almost all of them lean towards representations of happiness. In Ancient Egypt, they represented devotion and closeness to the sun, while the Celts believed that gerberas reduced the sorrows and stress of every day life. Most commonly, gerberas throughout history have represented the joy and love of childhood.
Different colours also have different meanings, and gerberas are well known for the range of colours so there are plenty of different interpretations. Here are our favourites:
- Orange represents the sunshine of life.
- Red is for a deep love and romance.
- Pink similarly represents an admiration or adoration.
- Yellow is for cheerfulness and joy.
- White signifies purity and childhood.
Typically, gerberas are given as a gift when someone is embarking upon a major change in their life. This makes them a popular bouquet when leaving or starting a new job, a new baby, weddings or a new home.
How can it be used?
The gerbera is most commonly used as a decorative plant or as a flower in bouquets, probably because it is so nice to look at! There aren’t many more aesthetically pleasing flowers, which may be why it is the fifth most used flower in the world when it comes to cut flowers that are the ones you know and love in bouquets! Only roses, carnations, chrysanthemums, and tulips are used more.
On a similar theme, gerberas are popular choices for wedding bouquets in autumn. Although popular all year round, they are particularly popular at fall weddings. This is not only because of how attractive they are to the eye, but also because of the wide range of colours in which you can naturally find gerberas, making them flexible to the various demands of many brides colour scheme wishes.
Whilst of little use medically, scientists believe that gerberas are actually great when it comes to help you to sleep. This is because they are very effective at removing trichloroethylene, formaldehyde and benzene from the air. Not make much sense to you? Nor us! It means that whilst other flowers cut down the rate at which they respire and emit fresh oxygen during the evening and night, the gerbera actually maintains a similar level to throughout the whole day, and the fresh oxygen will help you to sleep.
Have you ever been lucky enough to receive a bouquet of gerberas? Why not treat someone you know or love to a special summer treat by sending them gerberas? We really love them, as one of our favourite flowers, we hope you like them too! Comment below to let us know if you like them.