In this Article we will discuss Gerbera Cultivation & How to Grow and Protect Gerbera Flowers
How ever if you want detailed guidance, you can also plan to get the book on Gerbera production here
Gerbera (Gerbera jamesonii) commonly known as Transwal Daisy or African Daisy is an important flower grown throughout the world under wide range of climatic conditions.
Gerbera belongs to the family Compositae and is native to South African and Asiatic regions.
In India, it is distributed in the temperate Himalayas from Kashmir to Nepal at altitudes of 1300 to 3200 M.
1. Climate: Gerbera cultivation can be done under wide range of climatic conditions. In tropical climate, gerbera flowers are grown in the open but in subtropical and temperate climate they are protected from frost and cultivated in greenhouse/shade net house.
Day temperature of 22 –25C and night temperature of 12C to 16C is ideal for cultivation. It requires approximately 400 w/m2 light intensity on the plant level.
2. Soil and its preparation: A well drained, rich, light, neutral or slightly alkaline soil (ph 6.5 to 8.0) is most suitable for gerbera cultivation and production.
The roots of Gerbera go as deep as 50-70 cm. Therefore soil should be highly porus and well drained upto 50 cm to have better root growth and better penetration of roots.
Land should be ploughed deep 2-3 times and brought to a fine tilth. Raised beds of 30 cm height, 1.0 -1.2 mt width should be prepared leaving 30-50 cm between two beds. Well decomposed FYM, sand and coconut peat/paddy husk in 2.1:1 proportion should be added to the beds.
3. Soil sterilization for Gerbera Cultivation: Before starting gerbera cultivation, disinfection of the soil is absolutely necessary to minimize the infestation of soil borne pathogens like Phytophthora, Fusarium and Pythium which could otherwise destroy the crop completely.
The beds should be drenched/fumigated with 2% formaldehyde (100 ml Formalin in 5 lt. water/mt2 area or Methyl Bromide (30g/m2) solution and then covered with a plastic sheet for a minimum period of 2-3 days. Then beds should be watered thoroughly to drain the chemicals before planting.
4. Propagation: Commercially gerbera can be propagated by asexual methods
a) Division: – Propagation through division of clumps in June/July is the most common method.
b) Micropropagation: Recently, this method is gaining popularity for rapid and large scale multiplication. Shoots tips, inflorescence, buds, flower heads, capitulum and mid ribs have been used as explants for micropropagation and MS (Murashige & Skoog) medium is best suited as culture media.
5. Time of planting: – Planting for Gerbera cultivation is done in 2 seasons
a. Spring (Jan, Feb and March): Spring planting is best for 1.5 year culture.
b. Summer (June-July): Suitable for 1, 1.5 and 2 year cultures. Planting in autumn and early winter is less profitable due to high heating cost and low light intensity during November & December.
Planting should not be done in late August or September as the crop will not have sufficiently developed to enter and endure severity of winter.
6. Method of Garnera Planting: Growing of gerbera flowers in raised bed improves drainage and aeration. At the time of planting, the crown of gerbera plants should be 1-2 cm above soil level. As the root system establishes the plants are pulled down.
7. Spacing: – The spacing between the rows should be 30-40 cm and 25-30 cm within the row accommodating 8-10 plants/m2.
8. Manures & fertilizers for Garbera Planting: Gerbera flowers requires plenty of organic matter and ample of nutrients in the form of major and minor nutrients for proper growth and production. Application of 7.5 kg FYM/m2 gave better results.
Application of 10:15:20 g NPK/m2/months during first 3 months of planting and 15:10:30 NPK/m2/month from 4th months when flowering starts in 2 splits at 15 days intervals found to be desirable for good growth and flower production.
Apart from this, spraying with micronutrients like boron, calcium, magnesium and copper @ 0.15% (1.5g/lt water) once a month is recommended to get better quality blooms.
9. Weeding & Hoeing: In gerbera crop, weeding & hoeing is an important operation. Weeds are problem upto 3 months after transplantation when plants are in vegetative stage. Therefore, weeding should be done at fortnight interval upto 3 months and at 30 days interval after 3 months.
10. Irrigation: Immediately after plantation, irrigate the plant with overhead irrigation for 4 weeks to enable uniform root development. Thereafter regularly through drip irrigation system is desirable.
The average requirement is about 500-700 ml/day/plant depending upon the season and stage of the crop.
11. Garbera Varieties:
i) Pink – Terraqueen, Valentine
ii) Red – Dusty, Fredorella, Vesta, Shania, Red Impulse, Salvadore,Tamara
iii) Yellow – Fredking, Nadja, Uranus, Fullmoon, Doni,Panama
iv) White – Delphi, White Maria
v) Orange – Kozak, Orange Classic
vi) Purple – Treasure, BlackJack
To start plantation today, you can consider buying Gerbera Seeds from here
Recommended reading: How to Grow Roses
Gerbera Flowers Plant Protection
a). Whitefly (Trialeurodes vaporariorum): Spraying of Neemark or Phosphomidon 0.05% or Acephate 0.05%.
b).Leaf miner (Liriomyza trifoli): Spraying of Vertimac or Monocrotophos 0.05%.
c).Red spider mite (Tetranychus urticae) Spraying of Dicofol 0.05% or wettable Sulphur 0.5%.
Gerbera Flowers Diseases:
a.Foot rot: Infection occurs at soil surface on the collar portion of the stem, leaves turn yellow and wilting takes place.
Control: Soil solarization and Sanitation: Drenching of Bavistin 2g/lt/m2
b.Powdery mildew: White coating appears on leaves and other plant parts.
Control: Spraying of Karathane or Benomyl 0.4ml / lt.
13. Harvesting: Gerbera starts flowering in about 3 months after planting. Harvesting is done when outer 2-3 rows of disc florets are perpendicular to the stalk.
14. Post harvest care: The heel for the stalk should be cut about 2-3 cm above the base and kept in fresh chlorinated water (1%). Gerbera flower heads are packed in plastic coated metal or cardboard grids. They are also packed in mini polythene sleeves. They are stored at 2-4oC.
15. Yield: Average yield of cut flowers under open condition/shade net condition is around 130-160 flowers/m2/year of which only 15-20 % of I grade quality in open conditions, while it is 240 flowers/ m2/year under greenhouse with 85% of flowers being of I grade.
If you find this article interesting, you can get more knowledge from the book on Gerbera production here
Also, you can buy Gerbera Seeds from here
Dr. R. K. Pandey, Associate Professor, SKUAST-Jammu