Gerbera Research Group Inc.

Western Australia

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Dividing


Usually after 12 months most gerbera plants have multiplied so profusely that they require dividing. Although gerberas can be successfully divided during all months of the year if given special treatment, it is important that the inexperienced grower divides at the best time, which is mid-September to mid-November. All soil should be washed from the crowns and this can be done either by strong jet of water or vigorously dipping in a bucket of water.


In many cases the divisions can be clearly identified and it is possible to separate them by hand. Do not use excessive force, but if there is any difficulty with separating them by hand then cut on the underside of the crown. Remove all the buds , flowers and unhealthy or discoloured leaves. Take a close look at the crown as quite often underneath there will be a lump of solid growth. Break this off with the hands if possible, otherwise use a sharp knife and if by chance a few roots come away with the growth it is still advisable to remove the “ lump”. Examine all the roots for dark brown to black sections and remove all traces of these.


Then using sharp scissors or secateurs cut off excess roots leaving about 8 centimetres of strong, healthy roots. Any small new white roots should remain.


Should the leaves be longer than 14 centimetres they may be shortened back to that length. Next, dip the new divisions into weak Condy’s crystals (Potassium permanganate) and then into a weak solution of White King bleach (about 1 to 15 of water). After dipping in the bleach make sure to rinse in clear water to remove all traces of the bleach. After dividing each plant all implements must be also be dipped into the bleach to prevent transfer of any disease to the next plant to be divided. Now the plant should be free from fungal and disease problems.
Pot the new division into a 140-150mm pot . Experience has taught growers that higher survival rates are obtained by initially using the smaller pots for new divisions. New divisions should be started off in semi-shaded area for the first few weeks then gradually brought into full sunshine. After 6-9 months gerberas in the small pots should be either re-potted into 200mm containers or planted into the garden.
It is strongly recommended to use good quality new potting mix when re-potting and even when planting out into the garden a spade full of free draining mix in the hole where the new plant is to be deposited does help. It is a good rule not to go more than 2 years before dividing. In cases where the plant multiplies by making exceptional growth yearly dividing is recommended.

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