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October-November: Time to divide your gerberas!

Notes on Dividing Gerberas – Barry Schoch

Tools you will need:

Pointed secateurs (for snipping)

Sharp knife

2-3 buckets

Forefinger and thumb

Why divide?

  • Even if blooming, gerberas need dividing.

  • You should split at least every second year, especially if in pots.

  • If crowns get woody the blooms will be shorter and the plant will end up not flowering in the long term.

  • Dividing can be done at any time but October is the best time so that divisions are being established coming into warmer weather.

How to divide?

  • Remove the plant form the pot or lift out of the ground and take/shake off all the soil you can so that all the roots are exposed.

  • Bucket 1: Rinse off in a bucket of water.

  • Remove all the rubbish (old leaves and flower stalks) and trim back the old roots to 5-6 inches (12-15cm). Leave any white tipped new roots intact.

  • In most cases the plant divisions will come away easily with the thumb and forefinger. You don’t need to be gentle. If it is difficult, just ease the divisions apart with a sharp knife. Leave at least 6-8 roots on the new plant and leave any of the new (white) roots. Remove any of the hard crowns.

  • Check for any disease.

  • Take any new buds on the crown off or they will put all their energy into those and not producing new roots.

  • Bucket 2: Rinse divisions in a bucket of bleach solution (1 part bleach to 5 parts water). Leave in the bucket for about 2 mins. This will “sterilise” the plant of any diseases you can’t see.

  • Bucket 3: Rinse off well in a bucket of water.

  • Keep one or two divisions yourself and pot up the extras to sell (or give away).

Re-potting or in the ground?

  • Divisions can go straight in the ground or be potted on into a larger pot. It is your choice.

  • Gerberas do not like wet feet, so clay soils are not good for them. You need well drained soil even when planting in the ground.

  • If growing in the ground, you can plant more than one crown together in a clump.

  • The crown of plant should be just below the soil level, not too deep.

  • For sale: Pot into 140ml pots and in 4-6 weeks you should see roots coming through the drain holes. Make sure you have a label with the name of the gerbera on the front and your initials on the back.

  • Use a good potting mix (Barry recommends Good Earth).

  • Add a spoonful (not too much) of superphosphate in the mix to give them a good start (Barry uses a mix Nitrophoska and Yara Milla). Do not use a chicken manure base – it burns the roots.

  • Plants will generally re-flower in 4-6 weeks after dividing if given a good start with fertiliser. Do not over fertilise – less more often is better.

  • Never leave slow-release fertilisers (NPK) near the crown of the plant.

All the information you need on dividing gerbera plants can be found in the Gerbera Growing in WA handbook pp: 19-21 with pictures on p:17.


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