Putting hardy gerberas to the test

Posted: Tuesday 17 September 2013
by Adam Pasco

I was somewhat sceptical when I first heard about garvineas – a new range of gerberas that are said to be hardy perennials. But, as they say, the proof of the pudding...

Adam's garvineas in flower

I’m always on the lookout for something new, so the promise of patio pots bursting with bright, colourful gerbera blooms all summer long sounded too good to miss. I have occasionally bought gerberas as cut flowers for indoor decoration, but have never grown them as plants indoors, let alone outside. Understandably, I was somewhat sceptical when I first heard about garvineas – a new range of gerberas that are said to be hardy perennials. But, as they say, the proof of the pudding...

I planted a selection of different garvineas in pots last summer, and they provided a succession of large daisy flowers right through to autumn. I was told that each plant could produce up to 70 flowers, and I can vouch that they did perform well. 

Then, just before Christmas, one of the coldest winters for many years arrived in the East Midlands. The test had started, and I left the pots outside in exactly the same position as they’d been all summer, with no protection or insulation. The cold and snow took its toll, killing the leaves of these so-called hardy gerberas, so I cut away all the top growth, then waited for spring. 

March moved into April and there were no signs of life from the plants, but patience is a virtue and by the end of April green sprouts had started to appear. By May, each plant had a nice rosette of leaves forming, plus a few flowers too.

Garvineas are vigorous plants, so I knew that the compost in their pots would be very depleted of nutrients by the second year, and they would need additional feeding. By summer, the plants had returned to their former glory, with no more input from me than just regular watering, to which I added high-potash tomato feed.

When put to the test, these South African natives have proved their hardiness in my garden. While the plant breeder only claims they're hardy down to -5°C, I think temperatures in my garden dropped even lower last winter, and my plants survived. I’ll certainly be leaving them outside again this coming winter to see what happens.

What’s more, I reckon they’re great value for money. Unlike tender summer bedding that lasts just one season, these hardy gerberas have given me a second summer of colour, and I’m hoping they’ll last for a third one too.

If you’ve tried growing hardy gerberas or any other new plants this year, do post a reply to this blog to let us know how you got on.

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gardeningfantic 19/09/2013 at 10:48

i love these i have had them for the last 3 years and they do very well.. dont even mind snow.. i split mine last year as they had got pot full.. so smaller ones this year and not so many flowers.

But wouldnt be without them in my pots..

little-ann 19/09/2013 at 12:11

i might have to try them will they grow in the garden rather than pots

happymarion 20/09/2013 at 14:43

I have a yellow one and it has been so lovely all summer and still is. I think I shall look for more next year as they are so good.

Adam Pasco 20/09/2013 at 17:48

Hi little-ann. The lovely Garvinea gerberas should grow perfectly well in borders, although I've only grown them in pots.

To be honest, the temperature of soil in most borders may not drop as low as that in pots, so provided the site doesn't get waterlogged in winter I don't see any reason why they shouldn't flourish.

little-ann 20/09/2013 at 20:20

thanks adam i will look out for them

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