Authors: Prabhat Kumar, Kanwar Pal Singh and Sapna Panwar
Division of Floriculture and Landscaping
Indian Agricultural Research Institute, New Delhi-12
Gerbera (Gerbera jamesonii) commonly known as Transwal Daisy or African Daisy is commercially important flowergrown throughout the world under wide range of climatic conditions. Gerbera belongs to the family Asteraceae and is native to Natal and Transvaal in South African and Asian regions. In India, it is distributed in the temperate Himalayas from Kashmir to Nepal at altitudes of 1300 to 3200 M. The main states in which gerbera are grown are Arunachal Pradesh, Karnataka, Mizoram, Sikkim, Haryana and Uttarakhand.
Climate and Soil
Gerbera can be grown under wide range of climatic conditions. In tropical climate, gerberas are grown in the open but in subtropical and temperate climate they are protected from frost and cultivated in greenhouse/shade net house. The performances of gerbera cultivars are recorded best if day temperature remain between 180C and 210C and night temperature of 120C. An ideal temperature for flower initiation is 230 c.Temperature above 250C reduces the size and quality of flowers. Plants are very sensitive to low temperature. Light intensity should be 40 w/m2.
A well-drained, rich, light, neutral or slightly alkaline soil (ph 6.5 to 8.0) is most suitable for gerbera production. The roots of Gerbera go as deep as 50-70 cm. Therefore soil should be highly porous and well drained up to 50 cm to have better root growth and better penetration of roots.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/mt 2 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.
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.
i) Pink â€" Esmara, Finola, Marmara, Pink Elegance, Prime Rose, Woman, Terraqueen, Valentine
ii) Red â€" Eco, Debora, Opium, Red Bull ,Zingaro, Dusty, Fredorella, Vesta, Shania, Red Impulse, Salvadore,Tamara
iii) Yellow â€" Cabana, Deliana, Essandre, Heatwave, Skyline,Fredking, Nadja, Uranus, Fullmoon, Doni,Panama
iv) White â€" Winter Queen, Delphi, White Maria
v) Orange â€" Amaretto, Golden Serena, Samson, Kozak, Orange Classic
vi) Purple â€" Treasure, BlackJack
vii) Biocolour- Popov, Sunway
Propagation and planting:
Multiplication through division of clumps is the most common methods. Micropropagation is also successful for rapid and large-scale multiplication. In the division method divide large clumps in to smaller units in the month of June. Before transplanting, the roots and leaves of the clumps are trimmed, keeping the central shoot intact. Care should be taken that the soil should not cover up the central growing point while setting suckers in a new bed. Ideal bed for gerbera cultivation should have a height 45cm and width 60cm with the pathway between beds should be of 30 cm there are two seasons for planting of gerbera spring (Jan-Feb) and summer (Jul-Jul). Planting should be done at the spacing of 37.5 x 30.0 cm.
Gerbera 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.Other recommendations are 6 kg N, 4 Kg P, 6 kg K/1000m2/month during the first three month of the vegetative phase and 6kg N, 4Kg P, 6kg K in the same area at 6 month interval during the major period of flowering.
Irrigation: Being a deep rooted plant gerbera need thorough irrigation instead of light sprinkling at frequent interval. However, waterlogging should be avoided as it is harmful to plants.Drip irrigation can be done at 500-700 ml/day/plant water application.
Harvesting and storage: flower is generally harvested after 3 month of planting when two rows of disc florets are perpendicular to the stalk. Gerberas are not suitable for long storage as the flower loss 40% of their vase life even after 7 days storage.
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.
Root rot (Pythiumirregularae):
Symptoms are stunted growth, removal of the root skin and ultimately drying up of entire plant. Soil sterilization and drenching with copper oxychloride (0.4%) or Dithane M-45(0.2%) can control the disease.
Blight (Botrytis cinerea):
This malady occurs when the relative humidity of the air is more than 85%.The symptoms are grey spots on the petals and rot in the heart of the flower. This disease also kills young growing tissue. Spraying of Benlate (0.1%) can control the disease and spraying with Topsin â€"M @2g/l found effective in management of it.
Powdery Mildew (Erysiphecinchoracearum and Oidiumcrysiphoides f sp. gerbera)
White powdery coating on foliage is observed under warm and damp conditions. Leaves become smaller, curled and of leathery texture. Sometime flowers do not open and necrotic spots appear on stem. Application of Hexaconazole@1ml/l or Dinocap @ 0.3ml/l is found effective in controlling of disease.
Leaf Miner: This is a serious pest of gerbera. Adults of these small winged insects lay eggs on the leaf. White specks are observed on the leaves as a result of infestation of flies.The larvae bore into the leaf and make irregular shaped tunnels or blotches that are generally light yellowish to brown in colour. Chemicals commonly used are Abamectin@0.5ml/l or Cypermethrin @0.5-0.75 ml/l or Dichlorvos @ 1.5-1.8 ml/l to manage this pest.
White fly: Generally these flies are found underside the leaves and occurrence is normally high in hot and dry period. In case of severe infection, the plant loses vigour and blackening of leaves is observed.
In greenhouse gerbera crop is highly infested of white fly, a sucking insect. Spraying of Rogor@ 2 ml/l or Dichlorvos @ 1.5-1.8 ml/l found effective in controlling these flies.
Aphid: They cause deformity of leaves by sucking the cell sap resulting in necrosis and lesions. They excrete some honeydew which supports the growth of sooty mould fungi resulting in unsightly appearance of the plant.
Application of Metasystox 0.1% or Parathion 0.02% can control the pest.
An abnormality characterized by numerous leaves, short petioles and small lamina and gives some cultivars of gerbera a bushy appearance known as bushiness. Nodes are not clearly distinguished and no internode elongation is seen.
It is common post harvest disorder in cut gerberas. This is mainly caused by water imbalances. It could be ethylene controlled and associated with early senescence associated with water stress.
Yellowing and purple margin
Nitrogen deficiency causes yellowing and early senescence of leaves. Phosphorus deficiency causes pale yellow colour with purple margin. Increase in levels of nitrogen and phosphorus were found to promote development of suckers and improve flowering in gerbera.
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