Floriculture or flower farming is the study of growing and marketing flowers and foliage plants.
Floriculture includes cultivation of flowering and ornamental plants for direct sale or for use as raw materials in cosmetic and perfume industry and in the pharmaceutical sector.
Important floricultural plants are
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Orchids are noted for their bewitchingly beautiful, long-lasting flowers, widely differing in shape, size and colour. They belong to the family Orchidaceae, reported to comprise over 600 genera, 30000 species and a lakh man-made hybrids.
They have varying habitats but epiphytic orchids dominate the trade. They are also classed as monopodials (stems having a vertical growth, non-branching, with aerial roots) and sympodials (stems having a horizontal growth, producing pseudobulbs in clusters, no aerial roots).
The ideal location for orchid growing is in the open conditions, under appropriate level of shade nets.
In Kerala it is also grown under the shade of coconut trees above 10 years old. Most attractive orchids belong to the group of epiphytes, which require free moving air at all times. The orchid plants produce aerial roots, which absorb water and nutrients from the atmosphere. Both terrestrial and epiphytes grow under varying levels of shade. Plants grown under deep shade will have good vegetative growth and poor flowering. Hence shade and light regulations are very important operations for better flowering. This requirement varies with the species and varieties. Some species grow in open sunlight. A humid and warm atmosphere is congenial for the growth of most of the tropical orchids. Better results are obtained when the atmospheric humidity is 50 to 80%. Orchids require proper temperature for good growth and flowering. Accordingly there are tropical, subtropical and temperate orchids. Genera / varieties
The popular genera of orchids that are suitable for growing in Kerala are Arachnis, Aranthera, Vanda, Phalaenopsis (monopodials); Aranda, Mokara (inter-generic monopodials); Dendrobium, Cattleya, Oncidium (sympodials). Dendrobium is the most popular genus of Kerala.
Some of the important varieties belonging to this genus are given below, grouped according to colour.
Purple and white: Sonia 17, Sonia 28, Sonia Bom Jo, Earsakul Purple: Renappa, New Wanee, Sabine Red, Jurie Red White: Emma White, Fairy White, Kasem White, Snow White Pink: Sakura Pink, New Pink Yellow: Sherifa Fatimah, Kasem Gold, Tongchai Gold
Propagation and planting The conventional method of propagation is by vegetative means. Monopodial orchids are propagated by stem cuttings. Terminal cuttings with one or two healthy aerial roots are ideal as planting material. Basal cuttings of 30 cm length with a few roots and leaves are also good. But they take longer time to sprout and grow. Sympodial orchids are propagated by separation of pseudobulbs. A plant with minimum two or three pseudobulbs with the basal root is ideal for planting. Some of the sympodial varieties produce sprouts at the top of pseudobulb called as keikis. Keikis when fully grown can be separated and planted. Besides, back-bulbs or spent canes (shoots that have ceased to produce flowers) before they shrivelled can be severed from the mother plant and placed horizontally over the medium to stimulate sprouting of new shoots. Seed propagation is possible only under aseptic conditions. Seedlings produced by embryo culture will take 2-5 years for flowering, depending on the genus. Meristem culture is very effective in large-scale propagation of orchids. Terminal cuttings of monopodial orchids are planted loosely on old coconut husks at a spacing of 30 cm between plants and 45 cm between rows in long beds. There can be two or three rows in a bed. Basal cuttings will sprout within a period of two months. Partial shade up to 50% is required for sprouting. Basal cuttings are planted close to each other in nursery beds for sprouting. After sprouting they are planted at the recommended spacing. Monopodial orchids can be grown on ground above soil level. A thick bed of 15-20 cm height is loosely arranged. Well-dried coconut husks are better than fresh husks. Sympodial orchids are grown on benches above ground level or suspended from above. Slotted wooden baskets filled with small pieces of dried coconut husk or partially burnt charcoal is good for plant growth. Planting is done above the medium with a support for proper anchorage. Planting can also be done in pots or other containers. Mud pots of 10-20 cm diameter with several large holes on the side and bottom, filled with tile bits, chopped coconut husk or charcoal are used for planting. Both monopodial and sympodial orchids are to be supported properly since the planting is done above the medium. A clear solution of fresh cowdung can be used for irrigation for a few days. Dipping in fresh cowdung solution before planting also gives good results. Manuring Monopodial orchids grown on ground can be given cowdung slurry once in a month. One kg fresh cowdung mixed in 5 litres of water is sufficient for one square metre. Two to three applications can be given in a year. Sympodial orchids are sprayed with the supernatant liquid of cowdung slurry. Nutrition of plants from the natural sources is not sufficient to support the plants for economic production. Hence additional feeding is required. Foliar feeding is very effective in orchids.
Fertilizer mixture of N:P2O5:K2O 3:1:1 can be applied during vegetative period and 1:2:2 can be applied during flowering period The usual dose of such mixture is 2-3 g per litre of water, applied twice a week.
Plant protection Diseases The important fungal diseases are: Leaf spot (Colletotrichum and Gloeosporium) Leaf blight (Pythium) Collar blotch (Penicillium thimmi) Collar rot (Sclerotium) Orchid wilt (Sclerotium rolfsii) These can be controlled by application of mancozeb, carbendazim etc. at the recommended dose. Spraying should be done prior to the commencement of monsoon and at fortnightly intervals during heavy monsoon. Important virus diseases are mosaic and ring spot. Destroying the affected plants can control spread of these diseases. Pests The common pests attacking orchids are thrips, aphids, spider mite, soft scale, mealy bugs, orchid weevil, ants etc. Insecticides at suitable concentration can control all the insects. Other very serious pests of orchids are snails and slugs. They feed on the tender young shoots, roots and buds. Hand-picking is effective, if the number of plants is less. They move out during late night and hide before early morning. Damage is caused during this period. All the pests can be controlled by application of contact and systemic insecticides at appropriate concentration. Harvesting The spikes are harvested when all the buds of the spike except two or three are open.
Anthurium cultivation recommendations .
Varieties-Anthurium andreanum, A. veitchii and A. scherzerianum are the economically viable species.
Many of them are partially epiphytic in growth habit. Plants prefer to grow under shade. The tolerable level of light in the tropical region during summer is 20-30 per cent. Excess light causes yellowing and scorching of leaves. Very low light intensity causes excessive vegetative growth and low flowering. It is preferable to grow anthurium in the open, under artificial shade structures for better growth and yield. Plant prefers to grow under a relative humidity of not less than 60 per cent and a temperature of not more than 30ºC.
The economic varieties suitable for Kerala condition are Lima White, Cuba, Agnihotri, Liver Red, Can Can, Tropical, Nitta, Sunburst, Linda-de-Mol, Tinora, Acropolis, Gino Orange and Midori.
Propagation- Anthurium is multiplied by seed and vegetatively by stem cuttings or by separation of basal sprouts. Propagation by seed is not recommended as a commercial propagation method as it results in high variability. Plants can be multiplied in large number by micro-propagation techniques from the tender leaf bits. Seed propagation-Seeds are produced by hand pollination. Selfing or crossing can be made. Seeds become mature within a period of 4-6 months after pollination. Mature seeds will have a pulpy coating. The pulp is carefully removed without injuring the soft seed. Seeds are sown immediately after extraction. Sowing is done on a medium of clean fine sand or on a moist cotton pad. Sprouted seeds on cotton pad are shifted to a sand medium for further growth. Seedlings will take two years for flowering. Vegetative propagation-Plants are propagated vegetatively by cutting the thick main stem into 3-4 cm long discs. If the stem is very thick, the discs can be cut vertically. Each bit should have minimum two lateral buds. Cut-pieces are treated with a fungicide solution and planted on a medium of clean river sand. Cuttings will take 1-2 months for sprouting. Suckers from flowering plants can also be separated as and when available and planted in the medium. Seedlings and sprouted cuttings of 5-10 cm height are transferred to the main field or pots.
Planting in pots is preferred in the plains. Cultivation in beds is good at higher altitudes (about 1000 m above MSL). A loose medium above the ground is suitable for anthurium. Old and chopped coconut husk (3 cm size) mixed with brick pieces and charcoal are filled in narrow trenches 10 cm below and above ground level. Pots can also be filled with the same mixture. An ideal pot should be 30 cm diameter at top with 3 large holes at the bottom on sides. One seedling can be planted in a pot. On ground, the spacing is 45 to 60 cm depending up on the variety. Fresh cowdung or neem cake mixed with 10-15 times of water, kept for 4-5 days, can be sprayed on the plants after filtering. Cow's urine can be sprayed or drenched after mixing with 25 times of water.
Complex fertilizer (20:20:20) 2.5 to 5.0 g/l of water is applied in the medium once a week. Slow release fertilizers, if used, need be given only once in 2-3 months. Pruning of older leaves, removal of suckers at young stage, cleaning of crown before rains etc. are other operations to be carried out in order to have a better growth and flowering.
Plant protection-The two major diseases are bacterial blight and anthracnose. Blackening of the stem and decay of leaf axils are the symptoms of bacterial blight. Tiny circular black spots appear on leaf and spadix in case of anthracnose. Spraying mancozeb 0.3% or carbendazim 0.1% can control the disease. Root rot caused by Pythium and Phytophthora can be controlled by the application of potassium phosphonate 0.3%. The major pests are scales and bugs, which are controlled by spraying malathion @ 2 ml per litre of water. Snails also cause damage to young roots. Use of metaldehyde can prevent the attack of snails. Harvesting-The flowers are harvested with its long stem when 1/4th to 3/4th flowers on the spadix are open, indicated by the change of colour. Colour change varies with the varieties.
planting materials can be collected from different approved floriculture nurseries in private sector, some agri university farms and dept. farms in the state. Some of them are listed below.1. Nattika Vanitha Pushpa Krishi Samrakshana Samithy, Nattika P.O., Thrissur. 2. Toyo Floriculture Company, TD Road, Kollam - 691013. 3. Toyo Agriflora, Thrissur. 4.Deep Bio-Tech, Manimala Road, Edappally, Ernakulam. 5. Rockwood Anthuriums, 446, V.M. Double Road, Kuvempunagar, Mysore - 570023. 6. Kunnathil Gardens, Veeranakavu, Kattakkada (via.), Thiruvananthapuram. 7. Meena Nursery, TM Nagar, B-52, Thaliyal, Karamana, Thiruvananthapuram. 8. Horlee Farms, Valayanchirangara P.O., Perumbavoor, Ernakulam - 683556. 9. Anitha Gardens (P) Ltd., 6-Forbes Bunglow, Veli Road, Kochi - 682001. 10. BFMC, Kazhakkuttam, Trivandrum.
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Jasmine cultivation: Soil and climate Jasmine can be planted on a wide range
of soils. Well-drained sandy loams and red loams are ideal for its
cultivation. In clayey soils, there is increased vegetative growth and reduced
flowering. They give good yield in low rainfall conditions.
Propagation Layering and cutting are the main propagation methods. Better rooting of cuttings can be obtained by planting in coarse sand and also by using any of the rooting hormones like IBA (5000 ppm), IAA (1000 ppm) and NAA (5000 ppm). Simple and compound layering methods are followed during June-July to October-November. Layers will be ready for planting within 90-120 days.
Planting After ploughing the land, pits of about 40 x 40 x 40 cm size are taken and filled with topsoil and 15 kg well-rotten FYM. Planting distance depends on the species and also on soil and environmental conditions. Species Planting distance J. sambac J.auriculatum J.grandiflorum 1.2 x 1.2 m 1.8 x 1.8 m 2.0 x 1.5 m Planting is usually done during June-August.
Manuring Each plant requires a fertilizer dose of 120 g N, 240 g P2O5 and 240 g K2O. The fertilizers are mixed together and applied in two split doses during January and July. This has to be supplemented with organic manures like neem cake, groundnut oil cake etc. at the rate of 100 g per plant per month. Pruning Pruning is essential and is done at a height of 45 cm from the ground level during mid December-January. Weed control Manual weeding is effective but expensive. Use of weedicides like paraquat is also practised. Mulching also reduces weed population. Irrigation Constant and adequate water supply during peak flowering season (March-October) is essential for high yield of flowers. After flowering is over, the water supply can be cut off. During summer, irrigate twice a week. Pests Jasmine is comparatively a hardy plant.
Major pests are bud and shoot borers and blossom midge, which can be controlled by spraying 0.15-0.20% carbaryl. Diseases Leaf blight: Can be controlled by spraying 0.2% mancozeb or 0.1% benomyl Fusarium wilt: Drench the soil with 1% Bordeaux mixture. Rust: Controlled by spraying 0.2% zineb
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