Glorious Gerbera (Barberton Daisies) in spring
The icy touch of winter is melting away. The blossoms of spring are slowly waking up, answering to the warm call of the changing seasons. Bright green buds and the emergence of new leaves add freshness to the world outside. It’s the time of plentiful opportunities and renewed energy, and, to make the most of it, you have to heed the call of the garden and immerse in its wonder.
Patio gardening is a rising trend, and for good reason. The patio forms the perfect bridge between the comforts of the indoors, and the beauty of the outdoors. It has the unique ability to encompass the best of both worlds. For this purpose, indoor Gerberas (otherwise known as Barberton daisies) are ideal. Garden centres have realised how popular these bright blooms are, and have responded to the demand. “Pre-made” whole blooms are available for purchase, already potted and arranged into sets.
Barberton daisies are available in a fantastic variety of colours, all of which are bright and bold. For the best effect, choose a few colours that work well together. Barberton daisies grown together in a bouquet-effect are marvellous!
Barberton daisies are subtropical plants, but they survive most areas of South Africa fairly well. They prefer areas that stay above 6 degrees at night, although they do withstand light frost. If you live in a region that experiences frost, it’s best to plant your Barberton daisies in a shady spot.
They love the sun and happily withstand the full force of its heat. Barberton daisies thrive in North-facing areas that are rocky, fairly dry, and sunny. That said, however, if your patio contains glass and windows, it’s best to be aware of the glass’ reflection as this can scorch the flowers. Fortunately, planting Barberton daisies into pots holds an added advantage – you are able to move them as the seasons change. Also, if your Barberton daisies are failing to thrive, you could perhaps try to reposition the pots.
Barberton daisies originally grew in the granite mountains of Barberton, where their soil was eroded and sandy. For that reason, it’s important to provide them with excellent drainage and soil that is free from clay particles. Their mix of soil should be 25% compost.
For the patio, pots for the Barberton daisies are ideal. The pots should be medium sized, more than 30cm deep. In the winter, they are largely dormant and for that reason, require very little water and attention. Beware of overwatering as soggy soil can lead to root rot.
Fertiliser and nutrients
These beauties require nutrients which can come in the form of a slow-release fertiliser, or they can be fed through an irrigation system. A fertiliser that is low in ammonia is best. Visit your local GCA Garden Centre for advice on the best feed for you. For the most impressive flowering season, add micronutrients such as boron, potassium, and calcium to their feeding regime. Their flowering period will benefit greatly from deadheading to encourage more blooms.
Pests to look out for
Barberton daisies are prone to pests like spider mites, leaf miners, whitefly, and aphids. Precautions should be taken to protect your blooms against the insects as well as the typical diseases faced by Barberton daisies: powdery mildew, bacterial blight, crown rot and root rot.
Arranging your Barberton daisies on the patio
Multilevel displays are always effective. Something as simple as a step ladder or a shelf adds an element of depth to your decor. Pots of different sizes are very effective too, while Barberton daisies arranged in their various pots according to colour gives you room to experiment with different arrangements.
Beautiful Barberton daisies
Once the harvest season arrives, you can arrange them into the most beautiful bouquets to use as gifts. There’s also a new trend which is just marvellous. Brides are growing their own Barberton daisies to use as table decorations and for their bouquets. Not only does this provide an economic answer to an otherwise potentially expensive endeavour, it also adds a personal touch which is unique. There’s something special about using flowers that you have invested your time, energy, and dedication in. It reflects what we all know about love, that it takes nurturing and care.
Whether you are growing Barberton daisies for a special occasion or simply looking for a way to brighten your patio and celebrate the coming of spring, Barberton daisies are a sure-fire way to make the most of the opportunities that come with spring.