Gerbera is a well known cut flower crop of the world due to the attractive daisy shape of flowers. It has many names including transval dairy, Barberton daisy etc. Gerbera jamesonii is a perennial herb with a characteristic of tuft of leaves and the inflorescence born on long stalks possessing ray and disc floret. Flowering occurs in spring and summer. Gerbera jamesonii is found naturally in Mapumalaga having sandy soils. The name Gerbera is in the honor of Taught Gerber a German naturalist Jameson is associated with species name. The initiation in gerbera breeding programme was started in 19th century when Richard lynch crossed G. jamesonii and G. viridifolia.
Gerbera has been classified into three categories
1. Standard type
2. Mini type
3. Spider type
Standard types are used for cut flower purposes while as mini and spider type for garden display.
The important varieties of standard type are Cream Clementine, Maroon Clementine, Dusty, Valentine etc.
Seeds, division of clumps, cuttings and micropropagation are the means of gerbera multiplication. The seeds are sown in light and aerated medium and the optimum temperature for germination is 25 0C. The seedlings are transplanted after 5 to 7 weeks.
Division of clumps is practiced in June each possessing a few well developed leaves and roots under open field conditions; however, under controlled conditions this operation is performed during February. Cuttings are taken from plants and are hardened for at least 2-3 weeks and transplanting is done within 2-3 months. In micropropagation shoot tip culture is practiced.
Method of planting: – Growing of gerberas in raised beds 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.
Time of planting: - Planting time: Planting of single crown may be done either during May or September
Spacing: - The spacing between the rows should be 30-40 cm and 25-30 cm within the row.
Well drained, rich, light, neutral or slightly alkaline soil with pH range of 5.5 - 7.0. Raised beds of 30 cm height, 1.0 -1.2 m width should be prepared. Well decomposed FYM, sand and coconut peat/paddy husk in 2.1:1 proportion should be added to the beds.
Application of GA3 @ 100-200 ppm hastens flowering.
Gerbera thrives best at 24 0C day and 10 0C night temperatures.
Plant requires excellent sunlight for successful flowering. Plants can be grown under partial shade but excessive shade degrades the quality of flowers. Moist conditions are necessary for flowering.
Root zone warming:
12.5 0C root zone warming increases flower yield.
Manures & fertilizers: Gerbera requires plenty of organic matter in the soil for proper growth and flowering. They also need ample nutrients, especially phosphorus and potassium for profuse flowering. Fertilizer dose made up of 1:1:1 NPK may be applied upto 3 months @ 4/gm/plant for development of vegetative growth.
Brief cultivation of Gerbera:
Gerbera is propagated sexually through seeds and asexually through division of clumps and cuttings. Micro propagation is nowadays an advanced method of gerbera propagation. When plants are raised from seeds it takes one month to reach the transplantation stage. Further it takes the vegetative phase as juvenile phase of 4-5 months in which there is profusely leaf formation and it is a stage in which plant passes through dormancy phase to reproductive phase by the synthesis of increased GA3. The day temperature 16 0C and night temperature around 13 0C and root zone warming up to 22 0C is suitable for quality flower production. Care should be taken that air and soil temperature should be of minimum difference. It needs normal daylight for proper growth and development. Spraying of growth substances like GA3 @ 100 ppm or Cycocel @ 500 ppm causes improvement in flowering. Well drained, fertile, sterilized, rich in organic matter, well aerated and slightly neutral or alkaline soil is most suitable for gerbera cultivation. When planting is done care should be taken to keep the crown of the plants above the surface of earth.
Climate and nutrients:-
The cultivation of Gerbera under open field conditions is confined to tropical and subtropical areas. Under temperate conditions where gerbera can suffer from the problem of frost, plants are cultivated under protected conditions. Optimum light is needed for cultivation of gerbera and under summer conditions when light intensity is high the house should be provided with little shade. In winter months additional light should be given so as to get excellent production as poor light provides poor quality flowers. Gerbera is an organic matter loving plant but such organic matter which maintains pH of 6.2 – 7.5. Macro and micro nutrients should be applied as per the recommendations.
The average requirement is about 500-700 ml/day/plant depending upon the season and stage of the crop.
Weeding & Hoeing: Weeding & hoeing is an important operation. Weeds are a problem when plants are in vegetative stage. Therefore, weeding
advisable fortnight interval.
Harvesting is done when the outer row of disc florets is perpendicular to stalk.
150-300 flowers per sq m are obtained depending upon growing conditions and cultivars.
The causal organism of this disease is Colletotricum gloeosporoids Penz. The visual symptoms of the disease are scattered, brown spots circular in appearance found on foliage and on flowers too. This finally causes withering and drying of leaves.
1. Removal of infected plants parts and maintenance of optimum water requirement of plants without creating water stagnation.
2. Spraying of Bavistin @ 0.1 %.
It is a soil borne disease caused by fungus Phytophthora cryptogea. The visual symptoms of the disease are shortening and rotting of the stem and death of leaves and flowers.
1. Soil sterilization with Vapam @ 100 ml / m2.
2. Seed treatment with Captan @ 0.2 %.
The disease can be recognized by stunted growth in the early stages and ultimately the plant dies. The cause of the disease is fungus Pythium irregualarae and Rhizoctonia solani.
1. Use of healthy seeds and planting material.
2. Treatment of seed with 0.2 % Captan.
It is one of the serious diseases which badly hit gerbera production. It is fungal in nature caused by Erysiphe chichoracearum DC and Odium erysiphoides F. sp. Link ex Fr.
The disease can be recognized by white powdery mass and the infected area first dries and then falls down. It is prevalent on the foliage part of the plant.
1. Spray Kerathane @ 0.5 %.
This disease is prevalent under cool and moist weather. The fungus grows on flower stalks and covers it up to flower. In severe infection it causes death of the plant.
1. Use of well drained and well porous rooting media.
2. Spray Zineb @ 0.2 %.
The circular spot brown to black in appearance spreads throughout the foliage.
Control: - Use Agromycin or Streptocycline @ 0.1 – 0.2 %.
Tobacco rattle virus:-
Black spots are found on foliage and sometimes these spots may be yellow and under severe infestation it causes leaf drop.
1. Maintain sanitation (soil solarization and manage insect population) and treat soil with Aldicarb.
Adult leaf minor feed on leaves and make tunnels apart with folding of leaves which help them to feed on interior surfaces thus the whole foliage is effected. If not controlled it causes flower loss as the photosynthetic activities are checked due to loss of foliage.
Control: - Spray Dimithoate @ 0.1 – 0.2 % to control leaf minor problem.
It is mostly found under greenhouse conditions. These affect leaves, stems and the whole plant. It can be recognized by observing discoloration and death of leaves stem and whole plant as these are sucking in nature and suck the sap without any hesitation.
Control: Application of 0.2 % of Ultracid.
These suck the sap of young leaves and buds causing loss of colour and death of plants.
Control: Spraying 0.2 %, Dichlorvos or 0.2 % Methomyle.
The insect attacks mostly leaves and flower buds. These damage the foliage and floral parts resulting in malformed flower formation.
1. Spraying of 20 % Endrin, kelthan @ 1 g/l or other insecticides.
Gerbera faces a major problem of root knot nematodes which causes damaged root systems and ultimately plant withers.
1. Soil sterilization with steam, heat or formalin is recommended.
2. Use of nematicide like aldicarb.
Important points to be kept in mind for cultivation of Gerbera
1. Gerbera is preferred under poly house conditions from a cut flower point of view.
2. Root zone warming improves growth development and flower quality.
3. Foggers are used for cooling and maintaining optimum humidity.
4. Under high temperature white fly and leaf minor attack is severe thus optimum temperature should be maintained.
5. Fertilizer requirement is 10 g N and PK @15 g per sq m at monthly interval during vegetative phase gives excellent results.
6. 15:30:20 g per sq m NPK during the reproductive stage is recommended.
7. 16 0C night 20 0C day and root zone temperature of 15-20 0C is ideal temperature for gerbera.
8. Soil disinfestations with formalin @ 25 ml per liter and 5 liters per sq m is recommended.
9. CO2 concentration in the poly house should be 1500-2000 ppm for enhancing production and productivity.
10. pH of growing media should be kept 6.5-7.5 gives excellent results as far as plant growth and development is concerned.
11. EC of the media is considered 0.5-1 ms/cm as if it is less than it halts the normal functioning of the plant.
12. The recommended dose of water for gerbera per day is 800 ml and less than this gives poor results.
13. The ideal planting distance is 30 cm row to row and 30 cm plant to plant distance in all regions.
14. Red soil is found ideal for cultivation of gerbera.
15. Standard type of gerbera is used for cut flower purpose and mini and spider type for garden display.
16. The yield of cut flowers is 150-300 flowers per sq m.