help keep a gerbera daisy alive
April 14, 2004 1:25 PM   Subscribe

Help the Black Thumb:

I am terrible at keeping plants alive. The only plants I don't kill are philodendrons, and you pretty much can't kill those things. I was given a gerbera daisy in a pot, but apparently I overwatered it. The plant still seems alive, but the flowers have drooped over. I drained the excess water, but the flowers aren't perking back up. Are they permanently wilted? Should I cut them off and hope the plant flowers again? I googled, but got nothing more useful than "Avoid overwatering".
posted by Shoeburyness to Science & Nature (8 answers total)
Argh. I've got the same problem. I got a shamrock for my birthday in March and I'm just a little too wary of the symbolic significance of it dying. I'm giving it light and water and even put it outside this last week as the temperatures rose, but the last two stalks just fell over....
posted by weston at 1:36 PM on April 14, 2004

Weston - shamrocks don't need much light. They like shade, and to be left alone. Don't water more than once a week, or when the soil is dry to the touch.

As for the gerbera daisy, make sure it's in a spot inside that gets a few hours of sun a day, and again, leave it alone. Once it dries out, follow the watering instructions above.
posted by annathea at 1:52 PM on April 14, 2004

I had gerbera daisies in my windowbox and managed to keep them going, and blooming, for nearly a year, until a heat wave finally took them out.

Location is important. Some plants like lots of sun, some don't. In my experience, gerbera daisies don't do as well indoors in a small pot. Since your profile says you are in CO (and my folks report it's snowed recently in Denver) I would guess that you are keeping it indoors, and gerberas (and cyclamens) fall into that category of "pretty plants that last just slightly longer than cut flowers."

In general, plants like to be watered on a regular schedule, but some plants need to dry out between waterings, and some plants need to have constantly moist soil. The gerberas I watered nearly every day, as they were in south exposure windowboxes.

There are lots of other plants that are easy, or easier to keep going: pothos, spathiphyllum, diffenbachia, creeping charlie.

Also, if you have a hard time keeping plants going, try getting a really big plant. Large plants are much more forgiving than smaller ones. A big palm tree, a fiddle-leaf fig or even a rubber plant would be good bets.
posted by ambrosia at 1:59 PM on April 14, 2004 [1 favorite]

You might also consider a mother-in-law's tongue, which, while not the most exciting plant, are nearly impossible to kill.
posted by me3dia at 2:35 PM on April 14, 2004 [1 favorite]

True, me3dia, but the leaves can be a bit sharp sometimes...
posted by SpecialK at 11:13 PM on April 14, 2004

posted by SpecialK at 11:13 PM on April 14, 2004

One important thing to realize is that a good number of the "houseplants" for sale in your local drugstore are completely unsuitable as indoor plants, or at least unsuitable in your area. They're also raised in greenhouses and often spend only a few days in the store before purchase. You take them home to a climate they're not used to, change the amount of light and water dramatically, and sure enough, many of them die. Don't blame yourself. The industry sells them as disposable items like cut flowers, and expects most of them to die.

I love houseplants, I've spent lots of time studying them, and I have around 50 healthy houseplants at any given time... but I still kill one occasionally.
posted by mmoncur at 3:50 AM on April 15, 2004

I have found that the Hoya is a damn hardy houseplant.
posted by milovoo at 8:57 AM on April 15, 2004 [1 favorite]

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