Sometimes known as Transvaal or Barberton daisies, the old-fashioned Gerbera jamesonii aren't often seen in our gardens these days. It's hard to find them in nurseries and mine have been obtained from generous friends and neighbours. Many years ago, there was a nursery devoted solely to gerberas in our area: hard to imagine such an establishment now!
Clump-forming perennials grown from a central crown with long, deeply lobed leaves, they produce large, finely petalled blooms on long stems. The colours of the daisy-like flowers include white, pinks, yellows, oranges and reds in various tints and shades. They make excellent cut flowers but are quite different to the modern florists' gerberas, which have much broader petals and which are not really suited to garden culture.
The plants hail from South Africa, and grow in the wild in dry, well-drained sites. They cope well with hot, dry summers. They prefer full sun and the crown of the plant should never be covered with mulch, which will make them rot off. They aren't really suitable to areas with frosty winters. They can be grown from seed sown in autumn or early spring, or can be divided to make more plants in late winter or early spring.