woensdag 6 mei 2009

The Gerbera

A certain Mr. Jameson discovered the subtropical plant in Transvaal, but actually a Gerbera variety had already been discovered in 1737 by Gronovius, a botanist in Leiden who named the plant after his colleague Gerber who came from Jutland (Denmark).

Colour is the Gerbera's strong point, the wide variety of bright, fresh colours is proof of this. Gerbera also stands for spontaneity, activity, happiness, strength and sociability. In short, a very special flower that deserves a prominent place in every livingroom.

Recognizing a good Gerbera
A good Gerbera has a clear-cut, contemporary look, i.e. a well filled, bright flower and a sturdy stem. There is no need to wire the stem. If its previous history is good, the flower will stand up in the vase. However, a good start is an essential precondition.

How to best take care of a Gerbera:
  • Always use clean vases and fresh water.
  • If the vase holds only Gerberas a little bleach can be added to the water (3 drops per litre of water). If they are part of a mixed bouquet it is better to use cut flower food.
  • Gerberas always grow upwards. Remember this when using in a vase or arrangement.
  • Gerberas only need a shallow layer of water. If the water level is too high the water can creep up the stem and cause the stem to die off at the edge of the vase.
  • Add a couple of drops of bleach every two days when replacing the water in the vase.
  • If the Gerberas have started to droop, take them from the vase, slant cut a piece off the stems (these must be white and not brown inside) and replace them in the vase. They can now absorb water once more and will straighten up again.
  • Always use a sharp knife to cut the stems of Gerbera rather than secateurs. Gerbera has a fairly soft stem. The walls of the vascular bundles are also quite soft and are easily damaged if the stem is cut with secateurs.
  • Never stand Gerberas above a radiator or in direct sunlight. Also remember to avoid draughts.
  • Gerbera is sensitive to ethylene. This is released by ripening fruit and found in exhaust gases.

Most popular colours
The flower comes in every conceivable colour. Nowadays even some dyed varieties are available. Flamed and blue Gerberas are particularly popular in England and France. These are also expected to become popular in some Southern European countries.

Top 15 Gerberas, large flowered
'Optima'; 'Red Explosion'; 'Serena'; Classic Fabio Orange; 'Ruby Red'; Dino; 'Bellezza'; 'Heatwave'; Pink Fantasy; 'Candela'; 'Ecco'; Classic Fabio; Classic Fabio Gold'; 'Mexx'; 'Pinky. My personal favorite is 'Popov' from Schreurs.

Relevant Internet sites
www.floristdekwakel.nl; www.gerbera.com; www.lansbergen.com; www.holsteinflowers.nl; www.preesman.nl; www.schreurs.nl; www.terranigra.com; www.jhlgroup.nl; www.gerberas.nl; www.vdsalm-gerbera.nl; www.flowerracket.nl

Tip: Preventing bacteria and fungi
Gerbera is extremely sensitive to bacteria. This is why it is essential to disinfect pails and vases before use and to add a chlorine tablet to the water. If you are using Gerberas in a mixed bouquet you should use cut flower food. This prevents the Gerberas from closing down water absorption in response to substances discharged by the other flowers in the bouquet. Fungal attack from Botrytis is best prevented by keeping the flowers cool and exposing them to a minimum of temperature fluctuation.

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