The best tips for planting gerbera daisy seeds center on attentiveness: gardeners must choose seeds carefully, based on defined characteristics, then they must monitor the soil conditions, germination times, and relative temperature and humidity. In the wild, gerbera daisies propagate simply by spreading their seeds across the nearby land. This approach can work for home gardeners, but results are usually better when the seeds are started indoors under controlled conditions, then transplanted outside once strong roots have developed. Patience is almost always required, as the growing process usually takes several months.
Selecting robust, quality seeds is one of the most important tips for successful daisy growth. It is usually best to purchase hybridized gerbera daisy seeds from a nursery or select certified seeds from a larger garden warehouse. Of the seeds dropped by blooming gerbera daisy plants, only a percentage are generally fertile, and even then, the resulting plants may not actually resemble the parent.
Seasoned daisy growers know to plant more seeds than are actually needed. Grow rate depends a lot on quality and conditions, but it is not uncommon for only about a quarter of the seeds planted to actually sprout. Starting with a lot of gerbera daisy seeds is the best way to ensure that at least a few grow into mature plants.
It is usually best to start the seeds inside, in individual pots. Nurseries often sell seedling starter boxes and small planters, but even something as simple as a row of paper cups will work. Gardeners must be sure that the planters have proper drainage, however, and the soil should not be too deep. Usually, gerbera daisy seeds should be planted about ½ inch (about 1.3 cm) below the soil surface.
Gerbera daisy seeds generally need quite a bit of sunlight, high humidity, and warm conditions in order to germinate and sprout. For this reason, gardeners often place starter plantings in sunny windowsills or under timed lamps. In order to create humidity, gardeners should ensure that the soil is always moist, then seal the tops of the planters in plastic wrap. This effectively locks in moisture without over-saturating the soil.
Seeds that have germinated will usually break through the soil within a few weeks of planting. New sprouts are very fragile, however. Caring for daisies requires gardeners to keep conditions constant until two full sets of true leaves have appeared on each plant. This often takes at least a month, often longer.
Gerberas are popular in gardens and landscape design, but they cannot be planted outside before they are ready. Two developed sets of leaves is the first sign that plants will be able to withstand transplant, but harsh exterior conditions can kill young seedlings. It is usually best to plant in the late spring, when the weather is warmer and the nights are not too cold. Gardeners should look for ground in exposed, direct sunlight with soil that absorbs and retains moisture.
These plants need enough space for their roots to develop, but can usually exist in very close proximity to each other. Growing daisies in rows or decorative borders is common. It is important to keep in mind the full size of the grown plant when planting gerbera daisy seeds in rows, however. Fully mature plants are usually about 1 foot (about 0.3 m) wide, so gardeners should leave at least this much space between baby plants, and often a bit more.