Sunday, July 16, 2006
We are regularly asked about the care of Gerberas as cut flowers. We know ours last a long time - but that is because they are freshly picked. Our florists get them often within hours of picking - whcih doesn't happen if they purchase from flower markets.
They love fresh water, and not much of it. You can see in this vase the water is only about 2 inches deep. There is no need to wire the flowers - just change the water every other day, clip 1/2 inche from the end of each stem, and put them in fresh water. Generally we are told that they prefer a dark vase - not a glass one as shown in this picture, but we use both. Some of the best shapes of vases are in clear glass these days. Make sure the vase is very clean when you first put the flowers in, and if any flower wilts, you can cut it off at the stem and put it in a shorter vase or float it. A drop of bleach might help too - as it is the bacteria that build up in the water and prevent the stem "sucking up the water" that is the problem.
Sometimes there is damage done to the flower as it erupts from the crown. This flower, as you can see, has only developed on one side. Some petals have not materialised at all. It might be simply that when another flower was plucked from the plant it slightly disturbed the stem of this one, resulting in one half of the stem and flower not receiving the water and nutrient. Perhaps a bug has chewed at the base of the plant. Maybe there is no good reason. The flower is useless and ends up in our little pile of "seconds."
Friday, July 14, 2006
Our "hothouses" are two domes - with metal frames, covered in heavy plastic. Each end is enclosed with an open weave fabric. The plants grow on shelves each with their own irrigation spike that delivers measured amounts of water and nutrient and water at specific times. We can calculate exactly how much each plant receives. Large growers have much more sophisticated hothouses - with computers which collect data and automatically change the atmosphere, or water and nutrient usage based on the data collecated. Ours, is a much more unsophisticated operation - we monitor things ourselves and manually make changes to things.