A compact variety of Jameson’s gerbera (G. jamesonii Bolus ex Hook.f.) , a beautifully flowering perennial in the Asteraceae family, bred specifically for cultivation as a pot crop.
- Family: aster (Asteraceae) or Compositae;
- Genus: perennial herbs ;
- Origin: South Africa;
- Rhizome: powerful, with numerous cord-like roots;
- Stem: shortened, with a single strong peduncle, height – 20-25 cm;
- Leaves: light green, with wavy notched edges, form a basal rosette;
- Fruit: achene, 300-500 seeds per 1 g;
- Reproductive ability: propagated by dividing the bush, seeds or cuttings;
- Illumination: photophilous, bright diffused sunlight is needed;
- Watering: plentiful, but not excessive;
- Content temperature: + 20-25 ° С during flowering, in winter – not lower than +12 ° С;
- Flowering time: February to June and August to November.
Description of room gerbera
Indoor gerbera is a beautifully flowering miniature plant 25-30 cm high with elongated pubescent pinnately dissected leaves forming a basal rosette. Single flower stalks grow from the rosette with large, up to 5 cm, bright baskets of inflorescences, similar in appearance to chamomile. There are varieties with simple, double and semi-double flowers of any shade except blue. The core of the flower can be either yellow or dark.
Gerbera is a plant of short daylight hours, which, where it grows in natural conditions, lasts 12-14 hours. Therefore, indoor gerbera blooms from late August to November, then enters a dormant period, building up strength for the next growth period, starting in mid-February and lasting until mid-May. In May, the intensity of illumination, the duration of daylight hours increase, and the flower again enters a dormant period. This is the natural cycle of its development. With proper care in this rhythm, indoor gerbera develops for 3-4 years, after which the flowering intensity drops, and the bush must be rejuvenated by dividing it, or replaced with a new one. How to care for a room gerbera so that it blooms for a long time and profusely will be described in the next section of this article.
By creating the appropriate conditions, rapid growth can be extended until spring and beyond, however, indoor gerbera plants, which bloom continuously without a dormant period, cannot be used for more than 2 years. They get tired, exhausted and become unsuitable for further cultivation.
Potted gerberas come mainly from Holland. When buying a plant in a store, you need to keep in mind that sometimes ordinary tall plants are treated with special chemicals, retardants, which inhibit the growth of gerbera and increase the chlorophyll content in the leaves. Such flowers, very beautiful when purchased, at home quickly lose their original appearance, stretch, turn pale and quickly die.
To be kept as an indoor flower, the gerbera must be miniature, no higher than 25-30 cm. Currently, dwarf varieties of Gerbera Hummingbird, Gerbera Happipot, Gerbera Parade, Gerbera Ilios, and others are on sale, created specifically for growing under normal conditions. apartments.
How to care for indoor gerberas: from planting to pruning
If a potted plant purchased in a store is a dwarf variety, that is, it is really an indoor gerbera, caring for it is not too complicated, but it has some features.
Gerbera is a photophilous plant that is not harmed even by direct sunlight in the morning and evening. The plant feels good on the east and west windows of the apartment. On the southern windows at noon, the gerbera must be shaded, and on the northern windows, additionally illuminated with fluorescent lamps. Indoor gerbera is not afraid of drafts and loves fresh air, so in the warm season it feels great on the balcony. In winter, it can be provided with additional lighting and a temperature of about +20 ° C, which will prolong the flowering period.
The homeland of the gerbera is South Africa, which means that she loves warmth, although excessive heat has a depressing effect on the plant. It is believed that the optimum temperature during flowering is + 20-22 ° С; in winter – + 14-16 ° С, but not lower than + 12 ° С. Gerbera does not tolerate temperature changes during the day and night, especially during flowering.
Of great importance for the well-being of the flower is proper watering. Indoor gerbera loves moist soil, the drying of an earthy coma should not be allowed. However, waterlogging can provoke an outbreak of a fungal disease and destroy the flower. It is also unacceptable for water to enter the rosette of leaves, which often causes rotting of the rhizome. Watering is best done in a pan, and drain excess moisture. It is important to remember that the water must be separated, with a temperature not lower than + 20 ° C. Watering with cold water has a detrimental effect on the plant and can lead to its death.
Spraying the leaves with warm water has a beneficial effect on the development of indoor gerbera, but moderation must also be observed here. Drops of water should be very small, in the form of fog, and fall on the leaves, but not on the flowers. A good solution to increase the humidity around the gerbera during hot weather is to use a tray of wet pebbles.
The best time for planting and transplanting room gerbera is the dormant period before the start of intensive growth, that is, the beginning of February or the end of July. The pot for planting should be small, about 1-1.5 liters, drainage is required at the bottom. The soil for gerbera is slightly acidic, includes leafy soil, peat and sand in a ratio of 2:1:1. Organic fertilizers are not recommended. The transplant is carried out carefully, with a clod of earth, trying not to damage the roots. It is important that when planting in a new place, the neck remains above the soil surface, otherwise the rhizome may rot.
Transplantation is carried out as needed, usually annually, preferably in February, for newly acquired gerberas – no earlier than two weeks after purchase. It is undesirable to leave the plant in the purchased substrate for longer, since it is not always suitable for long-term cultivation. Transplanted gerberas take root well.
Top dressing of indoor gerberas is carried out with mineral fertilizers, better with special complex ones. For flowering plants – once every 2-3 weeks during the entire period of growth and flowering. Gerbera does not tolerate organic fertilizers well.
Plants do not need pruning, it is only necessary to remove wilted flower baskets in time.
Gerbera room breeding methods
As a houseplant, the gerbera is very attractive, fairly easy to care for, but not long lasting. After 3-4 years, even with good care, the plants need to be replaced. The variety you like can be propagated at home, both by seeds and vegetatively, by dividing the root or cuttings. Each of these methods has its own advantages and disadvantages.
When growing indoor gerberas from seeds, many young plants of a certain variety can be obtained in a short time. Seeds are sown in spring in a light mixture of leafy soil, sand and peat.
It is better to pre-steam the prepared soil for disinfection. The planted seeds are sprinkled with a layer of sand no more than 5 mm, after which the surface is moistened with a spray gun, covered with polyethylene and cleaned in a warm place, with a temperature of about 22 ° C. Shoots appear in 7-10 days. Plants dive in the phase of 2-3 true leaves, pinch the central taproot. Seedlings are planted in a permanent place in separate pots in the presence of 4-5 leaves, without deepening the root collar. Young gerberas bloom in 6-10 months.
The main disadvantage of this breeding method is that gerbera plants in a room propagated by seeds do not always inherit the characteristics of the parent variety. They may have a different color, inflorescence shape and even height. It is better to use store-bought seeds for propagation, although even they do not give a 100% result. Seeds of the Parade variety retain the characteristics of the parent plant well.
It must be borne in mind that gerbera seeds remain viable for 6-8 months, in any case, no more than a year, which must be taken into account when harvesting or buying seeds in a store.
The characteristics of the variety are more reliably preserved when propagating room gebera by dividing the bush. In this case, when transplanting, the plant they like is divided, leaving 2-3 growth points on each division. In separated plants, flowers are removed, the roots are cut, the cut site is disinfected, for example, with crushed coal. When landing, make sure that the growth point remains on the surface. Rooting lasts about a month.
The plant can be divided by the incision method, without digging out of the pot, for which you must first remove part of the earth from the surface and cut the rhizome with a sharp knife into 2 parts. Disinfect the cut, cover it with dry earth and carefully water it. The divisions are planted after both halves form new roots and begin to grow. In this case, the rooting process is much faster.
The method of propagation by cuttings is less reliable and more laborious than the methods listed above. In this case, pieces of rhizomes are taken from the mother plant, 1-2 leaves are left on the handle, shortening them by a third. Cuttings are planted in separate pots and special conditions are created for them: high humidity and air temperature + 20-25 ° C.
Diseases and pests of room gerbera
Indoor gerberas are not very picky, however, care errors can cause plants to be damaged by a number of diseases and pests.
Improper watering, waterlogging and lack of ventilation lead to the appearance of fungal diseases such as powdery mildew and gray mold. And, conversely, dry air, lack of moisture provokes the appearance of spider mites and aphids. Plants are also affected by fusarium and phytophthora, and from pests – whiteflies.
Measures for the prevention of damage by diseases and pests are the same as for all indoor flowers. First of all, this is a careful inspection of the purchased material, then disinfection of the soil by steaming, and, finally, careful care, taking into account all the features.
When the first signs of the disease appear, it is necessary to isolate diseased specimens from healthy ones, and remove the affected parts. Then treat the plant with the appropriate preparation: an insecticide against pests or a fungicide in the presence of a disease.