Gerbera is an important crop for Dutch floriculture. In recent years, the energy consumption for Gerbera has decreased markedly due to Next Generation Growing (NGG), but it is still substantial. Heat is needed in the winter during the approximately 12.5 hours of night-time used in cultivation. This heat can be stored during the day with high-intensity lighting and used at night. In the summer, a shade screen is used by incoming rays above 500 W/m2 to prevent light stress.
In recent years, a series of studies have been conducted for energy-efficient cultivation of Gerbera. The results of these studies show that it is quite possible to grow energy-efficient Gerbera if the humidity is controlled and heat is only generated on demand. Gerbera can continue to thrive well at relatively low temperatures (13-15oC). Growth may not be fast, but the plant remains vital and the quality of the flowers is good. The crop can also tolerate fluctuations in the amount of light per day.
An “all-electric” approach to cultivation, combined with zero-emission (nutrients) and integrated crop protection is the next challenge for this crop, because multiple cultivars are grown simultaneously in a cultivation area, lighting with full LED is not yet standard practice and diseases (mildew, Botrytis) and pests (thrips, miner fly, aphid, whitefly and mite) pose a constant threat.