Sunday, October 29, 2017

Life of a Gerbera Daisy

Santa Cruz Mountains

Reddish Gerbera Daisy in Full Bloom

Gerbera daisies are the most elegant kind, though I love all varieties of daisies. Brightly colored and many-petaled, these warm weather harbingers add a color pop to the yard throughout the summer.

Alas, the season is changing. Petals fade after the blossom is fertilized, having served their purpose of attracting bees and other pollinators. The daisy plant shifts into seed-making mode.

Gerbera Daisy Seed Head with Shriveled Petals

As the flower becomes a seed-head, the tiny nursery produces delicate brownish seeds and tiny fuzzy white umbrellas that bear the seeds aloft. So next year daisies will bloom in new places.

Inner Part of the Seed Head after Outer Part is Dispersed

Though most seeds drift off, a few stick around to mature on the mother plant, to grow and blossom nearby next year.  In Zones 4 and below, these seeds survive as the mother plant succumbs to cold. 

A Few Seeds Clinging to Faded Daisy Plant

Finally mature, the last few seeds cling to this year’s plant. These seeds drop to the soil as the mother plant dies, holding great potential for next year’s colorful Gerbera blossoms. 

Group of Faded Petals and Seeds on Gerbera Leaves

Meanwhile, other seeds begin their journey, awaiting brisk autumn breezes and stormy winter winds to guide them to their new homes. This year’s cycle is ending as next year’s cycle begins.

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