Planting out in the Garden
Probably the biggest mistake with gerberas is over watering.
The plants must be kept moist but not continuously dripping wet. Too much watering will almost
certainly cause the development of crown rot and probably root rot as well.
Before planting out your potted gerbera, place some good draining potting mix under the new plant.
This will assist in draining away water from the crown and rots especially in winter.
Gerberas are hardy plants, but do
require some special care. Once you have mastered a few basic points, your plants will
thrive and quickly multiply.
Preparation of the garden bed
Gerberas like to be planted in a bed by themselves with the possible exception of being planted between roses.
If you decide to grow gerberas in your garden bed as opposed to growing them in pots, greater success
will be achieved if the bed is prepared a couple of weeks before planting.
Deeply work the well-drained soil digging some organic matter with a handful of complete balanced fertiliser
like NPK Blue or Nitrophoska Perfekt.
When planting out from established potted plants loosen off the roots. A handful or well drained, (without fertiliser) potting mix should be placed around the roots so they will not come in contact with fresh fertiliser. The same applies to newly divided divisions are planted out, but as previously mentioned it is recommended to start off new divisions in a small pot. The crown of the plant should be slightly below the surface of the ground which is contrary to the ‘old theory’.
Fertilising should be as explained in the [Fertilising] section
but the quantities can be increased slightly as the effect in the garden area is not as concentrated as in the pot.
Should the crown become buried too deeply in the ground do not be tempted to lift it with a spade as damaged roots and the air pocket that forms can be detrimental to the plant. It is better to scrape the soil from the crown creating a saucer-like depression with the lowest leaf originating from the side of the crown being at soil level.
Growing Gerberas in Pots
Today more and more gardeners are growing gerberas in plastic pots.
The main points to be aware are:
1. The soil mix should drain well and not be too heavy. A good balance of coarse and fine sand is
recommended and some organic material is an advantage. It is wise to purchase a good quality potting mix.
2. Over fertilising the pot can result in excess salinity which is aggravated by the confined space.
3. After approximately 12 months in a 200mm container plants will tend to become root bound and should be either potted into a larger container or divided.
Planting Gerbera Seed
In our climate the most successful time for sowing the seed is October and November. However,
with special warming facilities seed will geminate throughout winter. Temperatures of about 22 degrees C are required for good germination. For the best results plant your seeds into tubes about 25mm in diameter by 50mm deep. Use a well drained premium seed potting mix, which is slightly finer than a normal gerbera mix. Dust your seed with a pinch of Mancozeb to kill off any fungal spores and sterilise the seed mix with boiling water. When the soil temperature has returned to normal, plant the seed vertically leaving the fluffy parachute above the soil.
Cover the tubes with damp newspaper for up to 10 days as this will keep the small plants with the
right moisture level for that period.
It may take from 4 to 24 days for germination to tale place. Keep the small plants moist but not
too wet and after about 4 weeks when the ‘real’ leaves (4) form, lightly spray with ¼ strength
Phostrigen or similar liquid fertiliser. Continue this weekly for 6 weeks and then for the following
2 months spray fortnightly with ½ strength liquid feed. Full strength fertiliser should not commence
until about the fourth month and by this time the seedling will have outgrown the tube and should be
potted on to a 140-150mm container.
Increase the size of the container when the roots grow through the bottom. Depending on the time of
planting the first flower will appear between 6 to 12 months. The exciting thing about propagation
by seed is that the new hybrid will be completely different from either of its parents. With the
golden rule ‘little regular and often’ for fertilising the seed should thrive in a 200mm pot for up
to 2 years before it will require to be divided.
Growing by seed can be demanding but it is very rewarding and should you have problems with this
aspect or should you wish to specialise or just learn more about growing gerberas, then it is strongly
recommended that you join the
GERBERA RESEARCH GROUP INC.