Introduction to Gerbera Project Report For Polyhouse, Greenhouse Cultivation:
The following information is about Gerbera Project Report under Polyhouse, Greenhouse Cultivation.
This plant belongs to the daisy family and is named after a famous German botanist Traugott Gerber. Gerbera plant is considered to be a native of South America, Asia and Africa. Sometimes this plant is also referred to as African daisy. Gerbera flower is popular as a decorative or cut flower and is often cultivated as a decorative garden plant. The cultivars which are widely grown have been derived from the cross of two different species of the plant genus i.e. Gerbera Jamesonii and Gerbera Viridifolia. The resulting variety from the cross of these plants is known as Gerbera Hybrida. Gerbera is believed to be the fifth most used cut flower having enormous commercial importance.
Some varieties of Gerbera are Dalma, Dana Ellen, Rosalin, Savannah, Cream Clementine and Maron Clementine. In India Gerbera cultivation can be found in the states of Maharashtra, Karnataka, Gujarat, Tamil Nadu, West Bengal and Himachal Pradesh. Greenhouse cultivation has become an important part of Indian Agriculture because it is expected to provide employment to the rural youth and earn them a good income per unit area.
This Project Report gives the information about the requirements for polyhouse Gerbera flower cultivation and also at the end discusses about the approximate investment (cost) required for setting up a farm and the profits linked to it.
Soil requirement and treatment
The roots of the plant can penetrate to a depth of 50-70 cm and so soil selection is an important factor in Gerbera cultivation. Highly porous and well drained soil is considered better for the growth and development of plants. In order to have a higher absorption efficiency of nutrients, the pH level of the soil has to be maintained around 5.5 to 6.5. The salinity level of the soil should not exceed 1 ms/cm, so during the land preparation getting a soil test done is recommended and on the basis of the report further modifications to the soil have to be made. It is believed that red lateritic soil is best suitable for Gerbera cultivation.
Poultry and other manure are not recommended for Gerbera cultivation. Soil should be properly mixed with FYM in the ratio 2: 1 and then it should be sterilized to reduce the risk of fungi and bacteria. Soil sterilization refers to disinfecting the soil using various methods like steam, sun and chemicals. In India sterilizing soil with steam is not advisible, but one can treat it under the sun by covering the soil with a plastic sheet for about 6-8 weeks. The most important way of soil sterilization is:
Using hydrogen peroxide with silver
- Water with neutral pH and EC less than 0.5 mS/cm is used to wet the soil initially.
- 35 ml of hydrogen peroxide is mixed with silver into a litre of water and the solution is applied uniformly over the wet soil. Approximately 1 m² of land would need 1 litre of this solution.
- The soil should not be covered with any plastic sheet and the solution being highly reactive should not be mixed with other chemicals.
- After 4 to 6 hours of this treatment, planting can be done.
- 5 to 10 litres of formalin is diluted in 10 times more water and sprayed over the soil. The soil should be covered with a plastic sheet for a week.
- After removing the sheet, the soil should be flushed with 100 litres of water to remove any trace of the chemical.
- Planting should be done 2 weeks after the flushing of chemicals.
Similarly methyl bromide (25-30 g/m²) or Basamid (30-40 g/m²) can also be used for sterilizing the soil.
Benefits of using hydrogen peroxide with silver
This combination of chemicals is used for disinfecting the soil commonly called as soil sterilization and has some benefits over other formulations such as:
- Easy and safe to use.
- Extremely less harmful to human health.
- Economical to use.
- Has no phyto toxic effect on plants and is considered eco-friendly.
- Produces a maximum effect within 4 to 6 hours of application.
- Extremely powerful in destroying fungi, bacteria and viruses along with larvae and eggs of insects.
- Stable composition on a wide temperature range and pH.
The greenhouse should be properly ventilated at the top and sides for proper air circulation and side curtains are used to protect the plants during monsoon. 50% white shade nets are used on the top of the greenhouse to control the radiation from the sun. The temperature within the greenhouse for Gerbera flower initiation is found to be around 23˚C and for unfolding of the leaves is around 25-27˚C. The temperature should never go below 12˚C and above 35˚C. To maintain healthy plants, the optimum humidity within the greenhouse should be around 70-75%.
There should be no wind breaks or multi storied structures within 30 m of the greenhouse and it should have easy connectivity to the nearest market. The specifications of greenhouse are:
- Minimum height should be 5 to 6.5 m.
- Gutter of the greenhouse should be in the North-South direction.
- The thickness of the polythene should be 200 microns.
- Ventilation should be provided in the direction of the wind.
- The top plastic should be washed once every month.
The land of the greenhouse should be levelled properly; there should be availability of good quality water and hygiene and sanitation of the area should also be given highest priority.
For easy movement and better drainage, raised beds are created for Gerbera cultivation. While farming, it is strictly advised not to walk on the beds. If the farm has black cotton soil, then gravel or rocky soil of 6 inch layer should be added at the bottom of the bed for better drainage. Soil and sand should be mixed with organic manure in recommended quantities because organic manure is expected to improve the soil texture and gradually provide nutrients. Neem cake @ 1 kg/m² is also added to the soil during bed preparation to avoid the risk of nematodes. Beds should be prepared after mixing all the material thoroughly such that its composition becomes porous, well drained and aerated.
Dimension of the bed
- Height of the bed – 1.5 ft (45-50 cm approx.).
- Width of the bed – 2 ft (65-70 cm approx.).
- Spacing between the beds – 1 ft (30-35 cm approx.).
Composition of the bed
- Clay soil – red soil (55%), sand (15%), FYM (30%) and rice husk (4 kg/m²).
- Silty loam soil – red soil (60%), sand (10%), FYM (30%) and rise husk (2.5 kg/m²).
Planting Gerberas In Polyhouse / Greenhouse
While planting, care should be taken to keep the crown of the plant 1 -2 cm above the soil level, i.e. (65% of root ball inside the ground and 35% above the ground) because as the roots develop they pull the plants down. The root ball of the seedlings should not be disturbed while planting. Each bed can accommodate two rows of Gerbera planted at a distance of 30 cm. The row spacing should be around 37.5 cm.
Commercial Gerbera planting is done such that the farm contains plants of different coloured flowers. 20% plants of red, yellow, pink, orange and white varieties are planted.
Humidity of the greenhouse after planting should be maintained at 80-90% for 4-6 weeks so as to avoid desiccation of plants.
Planting material and nurseries
These plants can be propagated through seeds, clump cuttings along with the buds and from tissue cultured plants. Plants that have been produced using tissue culture should have a minimum of 4 to 5 leaves while planting them into the main area. These plants used as planting material should not be less than 3 months old.
The saplings or seedling of Gerbera plants could be obtained from KF Bioplants, Florance Flora and Rise & shine, Kimya Biotech Pvt. Ltd (tissue culture plants).
The quality of water required for Gerbera plants should have a pH of around 6.5 to 7 with EC less than 0.7 ms/cm, hardness less than 200 ppm and T D S less than 450 ppm.
The pH of the water can be lowered by adding acid to the water tank and then should be used for irrigation. The following steps can be followed for irrigation scheduling:
- Immediately after planting, overhead irrigation has to be given for 3 weeks so as to enable uniform root development.
- Once the roots establish, drip system of irrigation is used so as to provide the proper amount of fertilizers to the plants.
- Each plant should have one drip such that in the 2nd year of planting it facilitates foliage growth.
- Each plant requires approximately 300 to 700 ml of water per day depending upon the season.
- Check the soil moisture practically and then should decide the quantity of water supply.
- The edges of the farm should be irrigated frequently during summer to minimize evaporation losses. Water outlets within the greenhouse should be maintained according to its size.
- Watering should be done in the morning before 12 PM.
- The relative humidity of the region should not exceed 90-92%.
- The soil bed should be moderately moist, excessive watering should be avoided.
- Water stored for more than 4 or 5 days should not be used for irrigation.
Fertilizer and manure requirements in Gerbera Cultivation Under Polyhouse
Immediately after bed preparation basal dose of the certain fertilizers has to be provided and mixed with the upper soil layer. For an area of 10 m² the fertilizer quantities used as basal dressing are 2.5 kg of Single super phosphate, 0.5 kg of magnesium sulphate, 200 g of biozyme granules and 200 g of humiguard granules.
3 weeks after planting Gerbera NPK (19: 19: 19) @ 0.4 g/plant has to be applied on every alternate day with EC 1.5 mS/cm for about 3 months so as to facilitate better vegetative phase and foliage growth. During the flowering stage NPK (15: 8: 35) @ 0.4 g/plant has to be applied on every alternate day with EC 1.5 mS/cm to help the growth of better quality flowers.
Irrigation after fertilization has to be done to obtain optimum results. The plant may require micronutrients on a daily or weekly basis depending on the type of deficiency. Organic manure with EC less than 2 mS/cm has to be applied once in every 3 months to maintain a proper C: N ratio. Nutrient schedule should be managed according to the report of soil analysis done every 2 to 3 months. The main aim of fertilizing the plants is to keep them healthy and fresh.
Fertigation is the process of mixing the required quantity of fertilizers with irrigation water and supplying it to the plants. Before adding fertilizers, water quality has to be properly maintained. Fertigation should be done during the early hours around 6 Am and the valves of the system should be flushed after every Fertigation cycle.
Pest and disease management in Gerbera Cultivation Under Polyhouse
The common pests found to infest the Gerbera plants are aphids, greenhouse fly, leaf minor, red mites, cyclamine mites, thrips, caterpillar, root rot nematode etc. These pests can be prevented by using yellow sticky traps or blue sticky traps. They can also be controlled by the use of required chemicals in suggested quantities.
Some common diseases found on the plants are root rot, crown rot, Fusarium, alternia leaf spot, powdery mildew, bacterial blight, botrytis etc. Biological way of controlling these diseases is to use trichoderma viridae and trichoderma herzenium (fungicides). If chemical fungicides are being used on biologically treated plants, then a minimum of 21 days interval should be allowed after the biological treatment or 10 days before the treatment.
Some important precautions while using pesticides and other chemicals are:
- Avoid using hostathion, tilt, topaz, contaf, spark, polytrin and ridomil on Gerbera plants.
- The solution of pesticides or chemicals should be used immediately after preparation.
- Avoid using chemicals that have been prepared and stored for more than 2 hours.
- Sprayers should have smaller droplet size (nozzles) so as to cover the maximum leaf area.
- Apsa 80 @ 5 ml/15 l of water has to be added as a spray adjuvant to enhance better penetration of pesticides and chemicals.
The plants could have a deficiency due to the lack of elements like nitrogen, phosphorous, potassium, calcium, magnesium, iron, zinc, copper, manganese and boron, therefore it is recommended to use chelated sources of these micro elements as a foliar spray to eliminate the deficiency.
There could be some possible deformities in the plant like flower bent (calcium deficiency), pre-harvest stem break (high root pressure and high humidity), premature wilting (carbohydrate depletion), double faced flower (imbalance of nutrients), non-uniform flowering (Phyto-toxicity) and short stem length (high salinity, water stress and low soil temperature)
Cultural practices of Gerbera in Greenhouse / Polyhouse
Few activities have to be carried out during Gerbera cultivation so as to facilitate healthy plants and better yield. Such practices are:
Weeding and raking of the soil – weeds always compete for nutrition with the plants and hence removing them is the best possible way of effectively providing nutrition to the required plants. Since the plants are irrigated on a daily basis, there is a possibility of hard surface formation due to which there is no proper aeration in the soil. Raking is the process of removing the hard surface cover over the soil and allowing aeration to the roots of the plant. Raking is done twice in a month (approximately).
Disbudding – the buds that form during the initial stage of plant growth or few days after planting (45 days) are expected to be of inferior quality and should be removed from the base of the stalk to facilitate strong plants with healthy flowers. This process of removal of inferior quality flowers is called disbudding. The normal commercial production of Gerbera starts after 75 to 90 days of planting.
Removal of old leaves – sanitation within the greenhouse area is extremely important to keep the plants healthy and have increased production. Removing the old, dry and infested leaves from the plants and burning them outside the farm area or adding them to a compost pit is an effective way of controlling disease and pest infestation.
Harvesting and yield
The Gerbera plant has a cultivation life cycle of 30-36 months and the plant is ready for its first harvest within 7 to 8 weeks of planting. During the harvesting period, the plant approximately has 14 to 16 leaves. The average yield from each plant is considered to be 40 flowers per year. Harvesting the flowers should be done when 2 or 3 whorls of stamens develop completely because this decides the vase life of the flower. Picking should be done in the morning or late evening when the temperatures are low. It is advisible to pluck the flowers rather than cutting them. The heel of the stem should be cut in an angular fashion. Harvested flowers should be placed in 2-3 cm of water for about 4 hours and the temperature should be about 14 to 15˚C. The water in which the harvested flowers are placed should be treated with sodium hypochlorite @ 7-10 ml per litre of water.
Each flower is sleeved with a polythene bag of dimensions 4.5 x 4.5 inches and then they are bundled into a pack of ten. These bundles are placed into boxes and each box is expected to contain around 250 to 300 flowers. The expectations of a good flower are: stalk length of 45-55 cm, diameter of the flower (10-12 cm) and an approximate vase life of 8 to 10 days.
Cost and profit analysis of Gerbera cultivation
Economics of Gerbera Flower Cultivation Under Polyhouse.
The cost of cultivating Gerbera flower in a polyhouse/greenhouse structure is detailed here. The values presented here are just for reference and could vary from the original depending on the type of polyhouse one is interested in and the materials being used in the cultivation process. The area of cultivation is estimated to be just 500 sq m.
Assumptions of Gerbera Project Report:
Cost of Gerbera planting material: Rs 40 per plant.
The cost of constructing polyhouse in 1 sq m area: Rs 750.
Rate of labour per day: Rs 300.
No. of plants per sq m: 6 plants (approximately 2980 plants in 500 sq m area after considering a loss of 20 plants).
|Investment in Rs
|Construction of 500 sq m of polyhouse with GI pipes, shade net and glazing material
|Drip irrigation system with Fertigation unit
|FYM (Farmyard manure), soil and plant bed sterilization
|Gerbera planting material
|Total fixed investment
|Investment in Rs
|Labour for cultivation @ 2 labourers
|Fertilizers for the farm
|Pesticides and insecticides
|Electricity charges @ 2 units per day
|Water requirement or irrigation charges
|Material for packing, transport and commission on sales
|Other maintenance and depreciation charges
|Total variable costs
The flowers produced per plant in a year is about: 40.
The sale price of each Gerbera flower: Rs 3 (this rate varies depending on the demand of the flower during various occasions).
Income from the polyhouse farm: (total production from the farm x sale price of the produce)
(40 x 2980 x 3) = Rs 3, 57,600.
Profit from the farm is: (Total Income – total variable investment)
(Rs 3, 57,600 – Rs 2, 60,500) = Rs 97,100.
Loans and subsidies for Gerbera Cultivation In Polyhouse
NABARD is expected to provide 50-60% loan for greenhouse/polyhouse construction.
Central Bank of India provides 50 to 80% loans for greenhouse/ polyhouse construction.
State Bank of India provides 50 to 60% loan for Polyhouse farming
All these loans may vary for different states and on the type of project one undertakes. For more details on the subsidies and loans provided by NABARD and other banks, it is advisible to visit the nearest agricultural department office or the NABARD website. Loans and subsidies are also given on the basis of economic and social status of the individual.
Read: Hydroponic Growing System.