The Q&A Archives: URGENT! HELP!!! Wilting Gerbera Daisy

Question: My mother purchased a Gerbera (Margarita Gerbera) in a pot and gave it to me as a gift a week ago. The soil was moist at the time so I did not water it. I was delighted with the plant and kept it in my room where it recieved bright light from a window. I tried placing it outside once in the full-sun but it started to hang a little. It recovered when I brought it in and let it cool. About a week after I had recieved the plant I gave it water. It was a little wilted looking and hadn't had any since the time I got it, so I soaked it and let it stand in the water for a while. I noticed later that it was still wilted looking and as with other plants this always seemed due to a lack of water, I put the pot on a saucer and added some more water. The plant did not appear to absorb any, so after a while (I don't think more than an hour at most) I removed it. Now the whole plant seems to be dying. I have never had a gerbera before and obviously I screwed up but I don't know what needs to be done. Everything is wilting, the leaves, stems and heads have all collapsed. Some of the stems are sturdy some of the way up but have gotten thin near the heads and fallen. I did notice that when given the plant the heads were covered in pollen and now that their dropping the petals seem to be fading back and the seed heads protruding like a dandelion when their seeding. Is this what's happening? Is the death natural? How do I collect these seeds? I love plants and currently care for a rose, an ivy and a philodendron. I have never heard of a plant dying after it was watered, what's going on?!Should I cut the stems back or pull any leaves that have signs of brown on them? Is it too late and should I try to save some seeds and try again next year? Please Help

Answer: Your gerbera suffered from lack of water and a shock from going outdoors into the sunshine. The flowers are spent and will not produce viable seeds so cut the flower stalks off the plant, down as far as you can so the remaining foliage will hide the cut stems. Then put your plant in a shady spot outdoors or in a bright spot indoors. If you intend to keep in outside, gradually move it from the shade into a sunny spot so it can get used to the intense light. Keep the soil moist but not soggy wet and just give your plant a chance to recover. It should perk up in a few weeks. Don't pull the damaged leaves off; allow them to die on their own. As long as they are green they are manufacturing and transporting energy to the roots. Once they turn brown and die, you can cut them away from the plant.

Hope your gerbera recovers soon!

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