Gerbera belongs to the genus of plants Gerbera in the Asteraceae (daisy family). It is native to tropical regions of South America, Africa and Asia. The first scientific description of a gerbera (Gerbera jamesonii) was published in 1889. This species is known as Transvaal daisy or Barberton daisy or African daisy. The domesticated cultivars are mostly a result of a cross between G. jamesonii and G. viridifolia, another South African species. It is an important commercial cut flower crop. Gerbera flowers have a wide range of colors including yellow, orange, cream-white, pink, brick red, red, terracotta and various other intermediate colors. In double varieties, bicolor flowers are also available. Gerbera flower stalks are long, thin and leafy and have a long vase life.
Gerbera is grown in the greenhouse to be sold as potted plants or cut flowers. For the highest-quality finished product, gerbera production requires more attention to detail than most crops. These include proper temperature, moisture, humidity, light, fertilizer, growing media, and management of diseases and pests. Potted gerbera can perform well outdoors in part to full sun. They can tolerate cool and damp weather, but will be killed by frost and should be brought indoors for the winter.
According to the USDA NASS Census of Horticulture 2014, gerbera has a value of over $41.2 million dollars annually.
Main Disease Problems
Gerberas have several main disease problems including root rots (Pythium irregulare, Rhizoctonia solani); crown and root rot (Phytophthora cryptogea, P. drechsleri); Sclerotium rot (Sclerotium rolfsii); Botrytis blight (Botrytis cinerea); powdery mildew (Erysiphe cichoracearum, Oidium crysiphoides); leaf spots (Phyllosticta gerberae, Alternaria spp.), viral diseases (cucumber mosaic virus and tobacco rattle virus) and nematodes.
Main Pest Problems
Gerberas have a wide variety of pests such as aphids (which vector cucumber mosaic virus), thrips, white flies, mites, leafminers and caterpillars.
Most of the research IR-4 has sponsored has been related to crop safety (42 trials with 39 products), and we have screened new actives and products with gerbera for effective management of western flower thrips (Frankliniella occidentalis), Liriomyza leafminers (Liriomyza sp.), and crown and root rot (Phytophthora cryptogea, P. drechsleri).
Ely Vea, IR-4 Environmental Horticulture Program Assistant Manager, Jackie Cavaliere, IR-4 Environmental Horticulture Program Coordinator, and Cristi Palmer, IR-4 Environmental Horticulture Program Manager