Flower of the Month – Gerbera
The Gerbera, as we know it, is quite the shape shifter. They are either loved or hated by florists and flower lovers. Something interesting is starting to happen as Dahlia’s have enjoyed a major comeback, so too have the similar sisterly qualities of the Gerbera, known as the “happy flower”.
With its dominant centre and wide hybridisation, this statement flower is now available in massive arrays of colours and varieties – crested, double crested, single, ombre, pop pom, spider, piccolini and more.
Pastel varieties are becoming increasingly popular with white and cream remaining a popular choice for wedding work. Originating out of the tropical climates of Madagascar (Africa), Asia and South America, the Gerbera is locally grown by Flowers Victoria member The Big Bouquet, enjoying year round production in an artificially heated glasshouse environment set to a consistent temperature of 21 degrees during day and 18 degrees overnight with 70% controlled humidity. The Big Bouquet also supply wholesalers nationwide. Read about The Big Bouquet here.
This long lasting flower requires precision with picking during production times. If the stamens inside the flower are closed when picked, the flower will not last. 2-3 rings of the central stamens needs to be open to ensure premium vase life. The stem of the flower is lifted and plucked, not cut, in order to preserve the root system and encourage multiple regrowth from each plant.
Raised from seed (tissue culture) each plant goes through a 5 to 6 week cycle to produce flowers. The Gerbera is a resilient long lasting flower if maintained properly and can last 2-3 weeks in a vase.
It ranks #5 as one of the most popular flower varieties purchased world wide (behind the rose, carnation, chrysanthemum and the tulip)! Gerberas are named after Trauggott Gerber, a botanist and physician from the 1700s, from Germany, and it is not certain as to why botanist Jan Frederik Gronovius, a Dutchman, named the plant after him, as much of Gerber’s work was done in Russia!
- Soak the stems (with tubes on) in water for 2-3 hours after purchase to help them rehydrate
- Place in a vase with shallow luke-warm water and flower food (a small teaspoon of sugar, teaspoon of lemon juice and four drops of bleach can be used if you don’t have flower food)
- Cut stems at an angle if trimming to fit in your vase and keep them underwater while cutting
- Remove leaves that are submerged in the water as these will rot
- Change the water daily to prevent blockages in the stems (this is a common problem with Gerberas)
- Keep water filled to a minimum (1/4 of vase) as the more water, the more bacteria. If you see Gerbera’s drooping – their water uptake is being blocked!