I'm new to this plant, and gardening in general. Is it obvious when Gerbera daisies are ready to be deadheaded? Yesterday I noticed some discoloration in the center cone of a flower, and poked it a little with my finger. The cone was dry and brittle, it easily cracked apart, and then a bunch of tiny insects started running out of it (just planted it 5 days ago).
I sprayed with Bug-B-Gon, but I'm wondering... were those insects feeding on seeds? If the flower is producing seeds, isn't that when I deadhead? Or were the insects feeding on plant material other than seeds?
Wow, Dan, I never heard of such a thing--I hope someone has the answer for you. Sorry I can't help, as I'm inexperienced with those, too. I just wanted to welcome you to Dave's Garden, and say hello from northern KY! There are several nice people from the greater Cincy area who are members here.
I checked out your garden journal--you have a lot of wonderful plants!
Can't help you on the bugs, that does sound really weird. But you don't have seeds yet, those will form after the flowers fade away. They'll form in that area in the middle of the flower, but they're not there yet. I only grew Gerberas once, but typically with flowers like that it's pretty obvious when the flowers start to fade--the petals may get brown & droopy or start to fall off, things like that. You'll know it when you see it.
If you want to ensure that you get some seeds, until you become more comfortable with exactly when the seeds are ready you could wait until the flowers begin to fade a little, then tie some cheese cloth or the toe out of some panty hose around the flower to catch the seeds if you miss getting them at just the right point.
Leave it to me to have the Twilight Zone going on in my flower beds... [do do do do] [do do do do].
Either way, the insects are gone now that I Bug-B-Gon'd the perimeter. This one is actually pretty healthy (by my standards), but 2 of the other 3 are suffering. I didn't check the other 2 for this insect problem, but the flowers and new buds were drooping. Foliage still seems green and healthy (to me), no curling as far as I can tell, and the crown doesn't feel soft or gelatin-like (but I don't know what crown rot looks or feels like). Should I create new posts with new photos, or keep everything in this discussion?
It's your thread and as long as it's still about Gerberas I don't see any reason not to continue--unless you find you're not getting as much response as you want, then you might start a new thread since people who don't know/care about deadheading may not be following this one.
I grew Gerberas one year at my old house, and I found that they wilted very easily even on days that weren't really that hot, I think the sun just gets to them easier. Are yours perking back up overnight? If so then that's all that's happening. If they're not perking back up overnight, then it could be a watering issue--I'd stick your finger down in the soil and see if it feels too wet or too dry, if it's too dry then give it a good drink, but if it's pretty wet then you need to cut back on your watering frequency.