Gerbera, also known as Africa daisy or gerber daisy, is a commonly grown flower in the United States. Its vibrant blooms in hues of pink, orange, yellow and creamy white make it an excellent choice for decorating an indoor or outdoor spot. Gardeners propagate gerbera daisies by seed or crown division for small-scale production. Large-scale producers start these flowers through a process called micropropagation, or tissue culture. Even horticulturalists can grow gerbera daisies at home by micropropagation.
Prepare the nutrient solution for the plantlets. Add 1 cup tap water, 1 cup all-purpose soluble fertilizer (made from ¼-tsp. of 10-10-10 water soluble fertilizer added to a gallon of water), 1/8 cup sugar, ¼ tablet vitamin thiamine, 2 tbsp. agar flakes and half a tablet of inositol to a stainless steel cooking pot.
Light your stove and bring it down to a medium heat. Stir the mix in the cooking pot constantly until everything melts and comes to a boil. Continue stirring for up to five minutes, or until the agar flakes dissolve. Set the pot aside to allow the mixture to cool before pouring it halfway into baby food jars. Replace the lids loosely.
Sterilize the loosely capped baby food jars, scissors and tweezers in a pressure cooker for 15 minutes at 15 psi. Be careful as you slowly release the pressure after 15 minutes. Wear gloves and tighten the lids on the baby food jars, and place them over dry paper towels as they cool.
Sterilize the spot where you will perform the micropropagation. Use warm water from a stainless steel bucket along with a bottle of bleach, a new sponge and cotton cloth to wipe the table, counter and surrounding surface. Allow the sterilized surfaces to air dry. Also immerse your hands in a wide bowl containing isopropyl alcohol just before you begin the procedure.
Cut off a tiny piece of gerbera roots or leaves with sterilized scissors or tweezers, uncap the nutrient solution jar and quickly place it over the top. Tighten the cap and place aside. Continue this procedure until you have one plant piece per container.
Store your jars in a warm, sterile place away from any traffic, but with enough light to assist new root and leaf growth, indicating the tissue culture is growing into gerbera plantlets. Contaminated jars will have mold or rotten plant matter instead of green plantlets with leaves and roots.
Remove the plantlets carefully from the nutrient solution when they grow slightly, and develop leaves and roots. Plant them in containers filled with sterile potting soil, and cover them with plastic bags to prevent plant loss or dehydration. Remove the plastic bags after a week.