Gerbera

1. Q: Two years in a row I've purchased blooming gerbers and they haven't bloomed afterwards. I live in ATLANTA so it gets warm. The plants are on a Western exposure so they get 4 hours of sun daily. I tried putting them in direct sun and they wilted badly.The leaves look healthy but the flower buds just dry up before they open. Any suggestions?

A: As you are finding out, gerberas are not the easiest thing to grow. They look much better in the pot when you buy them than they perform in the landscape. They perfer a rich, organic soil and a morning sun and afternoon shade exposure -- sound to me as if they have the opposite at your location. I would advise you follow the rule, fool me once, shame on you; fool me twice, shame on ME! Try something like begonias, coleus, impatiens in the shady locations and almost anything other than I have mentioned for the sunny locations. Don't feel bad about not being successful with gerberas; it is the main reason gerberas as not as popular -- even the bedding plant producers have trouble with them -- too wet or too dry -- disease and rot.



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