The gerbera daisy is a beautiful but fragile plant. Growing from seed can prove to be a very frustrating exercise because of a low germination rate.
Step 1 – Collect or Buy Your Seed
The most successful seeds will be bought from a specialist garden center and must be planted very quickly. Gerbera daisy seeds have a very short shelf life. If you are collecting your own seeds, put the dried flower head in a sealed plastic box and shake it well. The seeds to select will be pointed at one end and fuzzy at the other with a firm plump body. Typically there will be very few fertile or viable seeds.
Step 2 - Prepare a Germinator Frame
Gerbera seeds require warmth from indirect sunlight and from the soil to germinate successfully. A germination frame can be constructed from a series of flat peat pots on top of a container with a 40w electric light inside. The frame needs to have a clear plastic cover.
Step 3 – Soil Mix
An ideal soil mix will be well drained but moist. A 50/50 mix of peat and perlite or fully decomposed garden compost will do the job.
Step 4 – Planting the Seeds
Make small holes in the soil surface and drop a seed in each hole pointed end down. One or two seeds to each pot will suffice. Do not cover the seeds. They need light to germinate successfully.
Step 5 – Water Thoroughly
Water the newly planted seeds thoroughly and keep them moist.
Step 6 – Cover the Germinator with the Clear Plastic Cover
The cover does not need to fit exactly, but it should protect the seeds from drafts that will dry out the air surrounding them. It is important that the seeds have a warm and moist environment to grow in.
Step 7 – Provide Lots of Light
Put the germinator on a sunny ledge or under a bright light source for 12 hours a day. Switch on the light bulb inside the container over night to keep the soil warm.
Step 8 – 14 Days Later
All being well your seeds should germinate in about two weeks. Since they are virtually on the surface of the soil, you will be able to spot the germination very quickly. If there is nothing growing after 30 days the chances are that the seeds were not viable and you should start again.
Step 9 – Transplanting
The seedlings need to be 4 to 5 inches tall before they are suitable for transplanting. Pinching out one or two leaves at this stage will encourage the seedling to spread out. Plant the seedlings into individual pots with stones or gravel in the bottom for drainage and remember to keep the soil moist at all times. If you are transplanting into a flower bed, the soil needs to be well drained and you should water them every other day adding a liquid fertilizer or digging some well decomposed garden compost around the plants.