Floriculture is an age old farming activity in India having immense potential for generating self-employment among small and marginal farmers but the social and economic aspects of flower growing were, however, recognized much later.
The offering and exchange of flowers on all social occasions, in places of worship and their use for adornment of hair by women and for home decoration have made them to become an integral part of human living.
In the recent years it has emerged as a profitable agri-business in India and also in West Bengal as improved standards of living and growing consciousness among the citizens to live in environment friendly atmosphere has led to an increase in the demand of floriculture consistently.
Availability of natural resources like diverse agro-climatic conditions permit production of a wide range of temperate and tropical flowers, almost all through the year in some or other parts of the country.
Improved communication facilities have increased their availability in every part of the country. The commercial activity of production and marketing of floriculture products is also a source of gainful and quality employment to scores of people.
Floriculture is the sunrise industry of India as it offers excellent self employment and good remuneration for the small and marginal farmers.
The genus Gerbera was founded by the Pre-Lannean botanist, Gronovius and was named in honor of German naturalist, Traugott Gerber, who travelled Russia in 1743. In the family Asteraceae (Compositae), this group at present comprises 45 species, native to tropical Asia and Africa. About 7 species were recorded in India, distributed in the temperate Himalayas from Kashmir to Nepal at altitudes of 1,300 to 3,200 meters.
Gerbera (Gerbera jamesonii) is a herb and its flowers are like Daisy. Flower stalks are long, thin and leaf-less. It flowers year-round in warm and humid conditions.
It can also be grown as a field crop in open air on raised beds, as a greenhouse plant under controlled conditions (polyhouse) and as a potted plant. Plants are stem less and tender perennial herbs. Leaves are radical, petiole, lanceolate, deeply-lobed, sometimes leathery, narrower at the base and wider at top and are arranged in rosette at the base.
A well drained, rich, light, neutral or slightly alkaline (pH 5.5 to 6.5) soil is most suitable for gerbera production. Gerberas are propagated by seeds, cuttings of clumps with buds, and from tissue-cultured plants. Plants on raised beds are irrigated and fertigated through drip.
Gerbera plants produce flowers 7-8 weeks after planting. Plants have productive life up to 24-36 months. Flowers are ready to harvest when 2-3 whorls of stamens are developed. The flower is plucked at the heel with angular cut. Plucking should be done in morning or evening.
For long distance transport corrugated box/cartons are used. Gerbera does not need cooling like rose or carnation and have reasonably long shelf life. There are several varieties in Gerbera.
Many varieties are released by private companies. Some of the varieties are Dalma (white), Dana Ellen (yellow), Rosalin (pink), Savannah (red), Cream Clementine (cream white) and Maroon Clementine (orange) etc.
It is ideal garden plant for beautification on flower beds, borders and in rock garden. The flowers are of various colors and suit very well in different floral arrangements.
Awareness about the commercial benefit of Gerbera Flower Cultivation
Farmers level and tie-up
Cultivation training and assistance