Gerberas are actually a type of Daisy (Asteraceae), and are one of the most popular flowers to buy due to their bright colour and longevity. They have a central circle that is either black, light green or coloured, surrounded by colourful rays made up of two or more layers of thin petals. The soft hollow stems are best kept in shallow fresh water (no more than two centimetres) and trimmed every day, rather than in floral foam arrangements. Florists find them to be consistently popular, and easy to work with once the flexible stems are wired into the correct shape.
There are many varieties of Gerberas, and their size varies accordingly from the ‘mini’ gerbera at about 4 cm across, to the larger varieties which can be up to 10cm across. Gerberas are available all year around in most florists, as they are easily and quickly grown in hothouses or tropical climates. They are rarely found in nature but some varieties do grow in parts of South Africa.
Because of their bright colours and easily maintained stems, Gerberas are ideal for use in congratulatory bouquets, especially on birthdays. They symbolise innocence and purity, another reason why they make a great gift for children or new babies.