How To Grow Gerbera Daisies Indoors

Gerbera Daisies (Gerbera Jamesonii) can in fact be grown as perennials indoors, flowering all year long. Caring for them as a houseplant not only livens up your home but purifies your indoor air of toxins. They are listed in the top 12 “Green” air cleaners by NASA. People are catching onto this fact, but they haven’t quite figured out how to grow them and care for them. gerbera daisies

You can purchase giant gerber daisies at your local garden center or you can buy them online. The other alternative is to purchase seeds and grow your own. Some people are successful at germinating the seeds of the gerbera daisy plants they bought. The seeds have a short shelf life so you will want fresh seeds wherever you get them.

Gerbera Daisy Potted Plants
www.directgardening.com – A mixed array of colors. 1 plant for $3.50. 4 are only $10.50.

www.springhillnursery.com – Choose from red, pink, white, orange, and yellow. 1 plant for $5.99.

Gerbera Daisy Seeds
Park Seed Co. sells giant gerbera daisy seeds in a rainbow mix. 1 packet is $3.50. Click the ParkSeed banner at the left of this blog to go to their website. Making a purchase through that banner helps support me.

How to Grow Gerbera Daisies From Seeds
For earliest flowering start the seeds indoors. The seeds have fuzz on one end. The thin ones can sometimes be infertile, so you want to look for the fat ones. When you plant them make sure to place the seeds vertically with the fuzz on top. Plant them directly in a shallow container with moist soil. Peat moss or peat moss pellets work well. You want them just under the soil line so that the little fuzz is almost poking out. They need light and warmth to germinate so place the pot in a warm sunny location that’s about 70 degrees. Germination takes around 15-20 days at 70 degrees. I recommend covering the pot with clear plastic wrap as this will keep the soil warm and moist. Always make sure the soil is moist when germinating. 

After the seeds sprout provide plenty of light and avoid excessive watering and drafts. When 4 leaves develop you can transplant them to larger pots. Gerbera roots are quite sensitive  so you have to be gentle when handling them.  If you want to grow them outside set the pots outside in a protected area to harden for 3 days. Then plant them in compost rich garden soil with plenty of sun and water them well initially.  Adding some high energy fertilizer (high potassium) in with the water will help grow vibrant flowers.

How to Care For Gerbera Daisies
Gerbera daisies flower best when planted in 6 or more hours of direct sunlight each day. A high source of light can give an abundance of flowers. Gerber daisies need to be kept evenly moist but they should be allowed to dry slightly before watering. Gerber daisies require well-drained potting soil that is nutrient rich. In Mel Bartholomew’s book “All New Square Foot Gardening” he states that the very best soil for anything, plant or vegetable, is 1/3 compost, 1/3 peat moss, and 1/3 vermiculite. Healthy Gerberas are rarely ever bothered by pests, however fungus and stem rot is a common problem with over watered plants. You might want to remove old leaves regularly to prevent fungus infections.

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Organic Heirloom Seeds – The Only True Seeds Left

If you plan to start a garden you should know that most modern seeds are hybrid seeds that have been genetically altered and produce sterile or unreliable seeds. What this means is that the modern seed is more likely to yield a crop less in nutrients, less in taste, and in the end give you useless seeds that you can’t even plant for next year. If you’re wondering what has gone amiss, and why seeds are so poor, let’s just say that Shell Oil is the largest seed company in the world. It’s a huge business. Hundreds of billions of dollars are made by chemical and pharmaceutical conglomerates, who acquire native seeds from Third World farmers (for free), genetically modify them, patent them, and then sell them back.

And these corporation who sell genetically modified (GM) seeds to farmers are also free to sell GM seeds to you – the home gardener. Because most people don’t really know what is going on in the agribusiness, our current laws do not require a warning label on the seed packets. So here’s what you do – look for organic and heirloom seeds. They should be open pollinated (non-hybrid) and untreated, and not genetically modified (Non-GMO).plant

They are called heirloom seeds because they are from a plant that has a history of being passed down within a family. Gardeners saved seeds from plants with the most desirable characteristics for their own home gardens and then passed them on to family and friends. And of course, they didn’t let any corporations get their slimy hands on them. After you receive your first crop you can take part in saving your own seeds and passing on the tradition of sustainable agriculture. This simple act will actually sustain a genetically diverse agriculture and keep us all from starving.

Here’s a list of organic or heirloom seeds:

Nature Hills Nursury
http://www.naturehills.com

Heirloom Seeds
http://www.heirloomseeds.com

Seeds Trust
http://www.seedstrust.com

Johnny Seeds
http://www.johnnyseeds.com

Seed Savers
http://www.seedsavers.org

Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds
http://www.rareseeds.com

Gerbera Daisies Purify Indoor Air

gerbera

If you have a home, a window, and some sunlight, why not have Gerbera Daisies somewhere near? It’s a known fact that these happy, colorful, wonders of nature purify your indoor air unlike any “cover up” spray could pretend to do.

Commercial air purifiers can be toxic because they emit ozone gases or ultraviolet rays. Not only that, they are not removing those chemicals in your home. With closed windows in the cold months, and air conditioning in the summer, those chemicals have no place to go.

Wait what chemicals? Well, there are many, but some of the most lethal and common chemicals found floating around in the typical home are:

  • Formaldehyde
  • Tricholorethylene
  • Benzene.

And where do they come from you ask? Formaldehyde comes from such places as foam insulation, plywood, particleboard, clothes, carpeting, furniture, paper goods, household cleaners, and water repellents. And tricholorethylene comes from dry cleaning, inks, paints, varnishes, lacquers, and adhesive. And the always present benzene comes from tobacco smoke, gasoline, synthetic fibers, plastics, inks, oils, and detergents.

Most people know that plants give us fresh oxygen and take in the stale carbon dioxide that we exhale. A life sustaining relationship that we all too frequently take for granted. Well, recently we discovered that certain plants go a bit further and filter out these deadly toxins and pollutants in our air. Recently, NASA researcher Dr. Bill Wolverton placed houseplants in sealed chambers and exposed them to hundreds of chemicals, and found plants like the gerbera daisy suck the chemicals out of the air.

There has never been a more appropriate time than now for people to get back to their roots and embrace plants for pollution free homes and work places.

Top 12 “Green” Air Cleaners

Besides Gerbera Daisies, there are several other species that perform this air purification miracle. Wolverton found the top 12 houseplants that help to filter and clean indoor air most efficiently are:

  1. Chinese evergreen (Aglaonema pseudobracteatum)
  2. Peace lily (Spathiphyllum ‘Clevelandii’)
  3. Arrowhead vine (Syngonium podophyllum)
  4. English ivy (Hedera helix)
  5. Corn plant (Dracaena fragran ‘Janet Craig’)
  6. Devil’s ivy (Scindapsus aureu)
  7. Bamboo palm (Chamaedorea seifrizii)
  8. Rubber plant (Ficus robusta)
  9. Gerbera daisy (Gerbera jamesonii)
  10. Florist’s mum (Chrysanthemum morifolium)
  11. Boston fern (Nephrolepis exaltata ‘Bostoniensis’)
  12. Dwarf date palm (Phoenix roebelenii)

Acai – Nature’s Highest Antioxidant Fruit

Antioxidant Comparison (ORAC units/g of fruit):

  • ACAI 167
  • Pomegranate 106
  • Blueberry 32
  • Orange 24
  • Apple 14
  • Banana 5

Did you know that acai berries come from the rainforest? So while I love acai juice, I’ve found it to be very expensive. Recently my local Stop & Shop started stocking the shelves (in the fruit section) with pure acai juice called Bossa Nova.

I took a look at the ingredients and what do ya’ know…all good stuff here:

Ingredients: Wild-harvested acai juice, mango juice, organic agave, natural flavors, citric acid.

What’s also cool is that every Bossa Nova you drink saves one rainforest tree. And the acai berries that Bossa Nova uses are naturally organic. (Now there’s a term I’ve never used before) In other words their juice is produced from wild-harvested acai, naturally free of synthetic pesticides and fertilizers.

If you’re out of the loop and don’t know what’s so great about antioxidants then you need to learn. Antioxidants reduce free radicals that can cause premature aging, heart disease, & certain cancers.

Find out more information visit: www.saveatree.com

Air Filtration and Purification with House Plants

I think many people underestimate the benefits of having plants in your home. Not only to they provide oxygen for you to breath while removing the carbon dioxide you exhale, but they purify many toxins and pollutants from the air. Through a process called “off-gassing” many chemical compounds are released into our air and they often come from everyday items present in our homes and office. And as we all know, our air is polluted as a result of all the processes in manufacturing and big industries as well.

plant

Because of present day air pollution levels I can’t think of a better time for people to get back to their roots (no pun intended) and begin to use these little wonder plants in their home to renew stale indoor air. Did you know plants even remove tobacco smoke as well as dust from the air? They can even help with allergies. While it is safe to assume all plants purify our air, NASA showed that some plants are better than others.

The most efficient removal of formaldehyde:

  • Philodendrons
  • Spider plants
  • Pothos

The most efficient removal of benzene (a known carcinogen):

  • Gerbera Daisies
  • Chrysanthemums

Not only are these the best plants to use for purifying indoor air but they are some of the easiest to grow. As a rule of thumb, allow one houseplant per 100 square feet of living area. The bigger the plant, the more air it can filter.

Why You Can Feel Good About Coffee

I love to wake up slow. There’s nothing like the beginning of a new days anticipation with a hot cup of coffee and the sun lifting the morning dew. But, I often wonder why I drink my coffee with such reserve. Maybe because it’s so good. Something this good must be bad for you, right? Well…not really.coffee

Now, of course, too much coffee can make people jittery and even raise cholesterol levels, so food experts stress moderation. But, did you know coffee not only helps clear the mind and perk up the energy, it also provides more healthful antioxidants than any other food or beverage in the American diet. That’s right coffee is loaded with antioxidants. Antioxidants are important because they clean up free radicals in the body. Free radicals are atoms that cause stress in the tissues of the body, and are associated with increased risks of cancer and other diseases.

According to the findings by Joe A. Vinson, a chemistry professor at the University of Scranton, in Pennsylvania, the average adult consumes 1,299 milligrams of antioxidants daily from coffee. The closest competitor was tea at 294 milligrams. Rounding out the top five sources were bananas, 76 milligrams; dry beans, 72 milligrams; and corn, 48 milligrams. According to the Agriculture Department, the typical adult American drinks 1.64 cups of coffee daily.

Coffee actually has more antioxidants than grains, tomatoes and many other fruits and vegetables! This is good news. However, that does not mean coffee is a substitute for fruit and vegetables. Fruits and vegetables are better for you from an overall nutritional point of view due to their higher content of vitamins, minerals and fiber. So as long as you don’t replace your entire breakfast with coffee, just know, something that tastes so good, is actually good for you.

Enhance Your Mood – Fight Depression With Nature

I’m quite sure that many people will eventually be fighting depression at-least once in their life. For others it’s an ongoing battle almost every day. Whether it be a lack of spiritual thought, faith in a universal plan, or just love in your life, we all come across this negative black spot in our lives. And, I’ve often wondered, maybe it’s because mankind is progressively turning his back on the earth, so could the earth offer us some help in this matter? After all, she is Mother Earth, she does love us.

To get right down to it. This is what I found in my research:

  • In a recent study from the U.S. department of Agriculture Human Nutrition Research Center on Aging at Tufts University, it was found that those who were depressed had low red-blood-cell levels of folic acid (vitamin B9) and iron. So taking a supplement of iron and folic acid could help depression.
  • Also in a new double-blind German study, St. John’s wort (an herb) significantly reduced major depression.
  • And, get this, goji berries are known as the “Happy Fruit” in China. Studies have shown that consumption of goji berries for several months significantly enhances people’s moods.

Reference: European Journal of Clinical Nutrition; October, 25, 2006