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Essay on Floriculture and Landscaping in India

Major cut flowers, which are grown in India, includes, rose, orchids, gladiolus, carnation, anthurium, gerbera etc.

Important flower growing states are Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, Maharastra, West Bengal, J & K, Sikkim and Andhra Pradesh.

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The area under flower cultivation is reported to be around 73,536 ha during 1997-98. There has been tremendous appreciation of its economic value in addition to its aesthetic importance.

During the last 10 years period, the flower trade in India has been increased many times in view of the significant increase in floriculture activities.

Major issues:

Major issues confronting floriculture industry, particularly in the areas of production technology, post harvest, product quality and infrastructure and measures taken to initiate address the issues are as follows:

Acknowledging the potential floriculture holds, as a diversified economic activity in terms of production, employment, income and exports, the GOI have initiated several measures for supporting floriculture.

1. Developing a comprehensive database.

2. Developing specific programmes for traditional flowers and stepping up research and extension efforts.

3. Programme for assistance to small and large nurseries.

4. Strengthening of infrastructure for post harvest management and marketing.

5. Export promotion and market development.

6. Establishment of wholesale market-cum-auction centres for flowers.

Flower cultivation is a good source to earn foreign exchange considering India’s geographical advantage, it is in a better climatic region unlike the severe winters prevailing in the west.

But the trade in cut-flowers is negligible when compared to the Netherlands. This might be due to lack of enterprise, technical know-how, standard methods of growing and harvesting flowers of an internationally acceptable quality as well as the problems of packing and speedy and cheap transport.

Export potential:

In view of the immense potential for export of ornamentals from the country, recently the GOI and its agencies like Ministry of Commerce, APEDA, State Trading Corporation have given encouragement and support for export.

Future prospects:

1. Emergence of new markets Japan, Europe, S-E Asian countries like Singapore, Hongkong and India may emerge as consumers of floricultural products in the year to come.

2. Many small units may exit from the market due to uneconomic returns and high overheads.

3. India has several advantages like: (i) availability of skilled manpower, (ii) labour at competitive rates, (iii) presence of a reputed large tissue culture production facility which can propagate plant material at low cost etc.

Reasons for Lukewarm response to floriculture:

1. In India most of the farmers still use traditional methods of agriculture with poor infrastructure base.

2. Cost of establishment is quite high.

3. Cost of planting material is quite high.

4. Industry requires a technologically advanced infrastructure to ensure quality.

5. Quality is the single best parameter for a good return.

6. The absolute necessity to ensure quality are specialized transport system, refrigerated trucks, cold storage system and regular international flights for timely transport for export.

Strategy:

1. Industry and Government should work in close co-ordination and Government support is necessary in foreign countries to certify credit worthy buyers and help Indian companies to penetrate new markets.

2. A high degree of transparency and sharing of market information and business experience is required to faster the growth of industry and face international market challenges collectively.

3. Increased frequency of domestic carriers.

4. Loan procedures should be simplified since industry is capital intensive (lower rate of interest may assist).

5. Policy initiatives are necessary to revamp the present insurance system for perishables.

6. Group marketing approach to exploit economics of scale needs to be developed.

7. Investing in marketing information on the present level of area, production and locations of flowers and ornamental plants in the country.

8. Product positioning-identifying niche markets and product differentiation. Flowers in demand be given preference in growing.

9. Invest in R & D for development of priority products through a breeding programme. Research on improvement of varieties which suits the demand of international markets.

10. Specialise in regional production of products that have a specific local advantage. In India also there is a budding market gradually catching up the flower trends.

11. Small growers of flower and live plants for export may require assistance in marketing their products. Export houses and big industrial organisations may be induced to enter into the export trade of floriculture items, like those in Kenya, Srilanka.

12. Visualising the acute shortage of qualified and trained staff in floriculture, the Government should depute floriculture staffs for training abroad.

Style of Gardening:

1. Formal Design:

This design is very stiff and everything is done in a straight and narrow way in a symmetrical or a geometrical pattern. Everything is planted in straight lines. The hedges, edges and topiary are maintained in proper shape by regular training and pruning. Symmetry is always maintained in the garden by undertaking similar type of plantation and using similar garden technique and adornments.

2. Informal Design:

In this design, the plants and features of the garden are arranged naturally without following any hard and fast rules.

3. Picturesque Design:

The idea of picturesque design of garden was expounded by William Robinson in the last decade of nineteenth century. His idea was to naturalize plant in shrubbery. He also suggested that grass should not be mown and bulbous plants should be mown and bulbous plants should be grown scattered in the group to imitate wild scenery. He opined that passages should be opened in the woodland, trees, shrubs and bulbous plants should be planted in forest flora to have an effect of wild garden. His idea was to allow the creeper to climb over the tree naturally to imitate forest type of effect.

Types of Garden:

1. Mughal Gardens:

The gardens laid out during the regime of Mughal Emperor, Babar in India are known as Muagal Gardens, Babar (1494-1531 A.D.) was the first Mughal ruler to introduce this style in India. All other Mughal rulers like Akbar, Jahangir, Shah Jahan, Aurangzeb and Begum Nur Jahan shared their hand on developing Mughal gardens in India.

The main features of Mughal garden are:

(i) Site and Design,

(ii) Walls and Gates

(iii) Terraces.

(iv) Running water.

(v) Baradari

(vi) Tomb or Mosque.

(vii) Trees and flowers.

2. Persian Gardens:

Persian garden style is one of the oldest garden styles. The garden styles were formal. Persians used crafted materials such as masonry, carved and pierced marble stones and highly polished stones. The gardens were laid out by cutting terraces on hill slopes. They tapped some natural spring to create straight water-course through the gardens and manipulated water course to undertake different movements along its run. If there no natural source of water, it was created artificially by diverting some river or stream.

3. French Garden:

In according, the French style of garden were also very intricate and artificial. The new style of gardening now known as French style is largely due to contribution of Le-Notre who served in the Royal Garden in Louis-XIV from 1943 to 1700 A.D.

4 Italian Gardens:

There is a similarity between Persian or Mughal styles with the Italian style of gardening. In all these styles of gardening, the similarity was the use of heavy masonry features. The Italian elites conceived that garden is just an extension of lavish palaces, as a glamorous outdoor hall for entertainment and showing of their wealth as well as status. Massive stairs, generally of marble, complete with balustrade to connect the different levels in the garden are the main features of Italian gardens. Decorative fountains generally in combination with stone sculpture are other important features of the Italian gardens

5. English Gardens:

Due to favourable climatic conditions such as high annual rainfall, the natural ground cover in the England is grass. In consonance to this the famous British Garden architect Repton and Brown advocated the concept that the British Garden should look like the countryside. The gardens were created with the idea that the garden should merge with the countryside without any artificial barriers such as fences or hedges etc. During the eighteenth century, the British architects Repon and Brown along with kent brought through of natural in the garden by the middle of the sixteenth century. During the eighteenth century gardens were laid with more emphasis on architectural features. The main features of the garden during that period were curved paths, informal group of trees rivulet or streams, artificial waterfall and clipped hedges

6. Japanese Gardens:

The plant materials were selected in such a manner that the garden would not undergo many major changes during the four seasons of year. DuringtheperiodofMuromachi (1392-1573 A.D) both the flat garden (Hira-niwa) and hill gardens (Tsukyama-sansui) developed. Japanese gardens were developed in close association with nature. This has contributed a lot in maintaining its popularity upto now whereas other styles of gardens have fallen into disfavour. The most important teaching of Japanese garden is not worth a place visiting.

It should be a place where mind find rest and relaxation. The immutability is achieved also because rather rocks, stepping stones, streams, waterfalls, bridges and stone lanterns contribute to the structure of the Japanese gardens. The Japanese garden emphasizes to capture natural scenery. The three important elements for this purpose are water, stone and plants. Low sculptured bushes and trained dwarfed trees are attraction of Japanese gardens.

Lawn:

A lawn can be define as the green carpet for the landscape maintained by growing and mowing grasses. Thus lawn is an area maintained under thickly grown grass cover. It forms the heart of the garden and hold pivotal importance in adding beauty to the garden. No garden is considered complete without establishment of lawn. Lawn serves as a base for a flower bed, a border, a shrubbery or a specimen tree. Besides having monetary value, lawn possesses aesthetic value for reducing tension of the mind. It becomes very charming to enjoy the grandeur of the spacious lawn in the garden.

Suitable Lawn Grasses:

Doob or Bermuda grass: Cynodon dactylon, Manilla grass: Zoysia matrella

Korean grass: Z japonic, Korean velvet grass: Z. tenuifolia.

Planting of Lawn:

Lawn grass is planted using one of the following methods suitably:

1. By Seed:

When other planting material like cutting etc., are not available lawn is raised by seeds. The area over which grass planting needs to be taken is prepared well by tilling to a pulverized solid and adding sufficient quantity of FYM followed by proper levelling. About 500 g seeds per 200-300 square metre area germinates sufficiently to prepare thick lawn.

The seeds of Doob being very light in weight are sown after mixing with double the quantity of finely sieved sand or ash. Mixing seed with sand or ash facilitates broadcasting of seed and, thus, ensures uniform germination of seed throughout the bed. After brodcasting the seed is covered with thin layer (1-2 cm thick) of finely sieved farmyard manure. The bed should be watered regularly using watering can fitted with fine nose of nozzles so as to keep the bed continuously moist. The seeds germinates in about 3-5 to weeks.

2. By Dibbling:

Dibbling implies planting in hole. The bits of the mown grasses are used for dibbling. The cutting should be taken from grass growing in shade. The grasses growing in sun having close internode are used for dibbling Dibbling grass is done at a distance of 10 cm in the moist bed. Continuous moistening of the bed is maintained to facitlitate sprouting of grasses. The dibbled grasses start growth in about 5-6 weeks.

3. By Turf:

This is quickest method of developing lawn. The turf is a piece of earth with grass thickly grown over it. The roll of turf with a width of 1-2 ft. are used for setting lawn. The pieces of turf are placed closely with each other. Before placing turf, the levelling of land is ensured. The joints of the turf are packed using sand.

The turf is made firm by beating it with wooden beater. The turf is water immediately and irrigation is continued till it sets with soil.

4. By Turf plastering:

Mixture of bits of grasses along with mud and water is termed as turf plastering. The paste of grass is spread evenly on prepared ground. It is then covered with 1-2 cm thick layer of sieved manure or soil. Watering is done at regular intervals so that the grass make constant with soil and grow successfully. This method is not suitable in dry areas where grasses get dry after spreading.

Maintenance of Lawn:

Weeding:

Weed pose great problem in maintenance of lawn and infestation gives an ugly look to lawn. Motha (Cyperus rotundus) and doob (Euphorbia thymefolia) are major weed in lawn.

Weed is a problem in established lawn. Once established it becomes very hard to remove weed. It is advisable to go for regular weeding in order to remove weeds. It is very difficult to eradicate motha from lawn completely. Deep hoeing, removing stolon of the plant helps in minimizing infestation of the Doob. In established lawn the regular mowing can keep the growth of motha under check.

Liming:

Frequent irrigation at close intervals and stagnation of water makes the soil of the lawn acidic. The growth of moss is indication of acidity of lawn. For ameliorating acidic situation lime @ 250 g per square metre is added in the soil.

Rolling:

Rolling is practiced with the object of helping the grass in this anchorage to the soil. It is also worth in making the lawn level after weeding. The stone or pebbles also interfere with mowing blade. To press the pebbles rolling is beneficial. Rolling is avoided in wet soil as it makes the soil compact.

Mowing:

Mowing is done to prevent excessive growth of grass higher the growth of grass higher is the frequency of mowing.

Sweeping:

The removal of cut-over grasses from lawn is mown; the sweeping using broom is practiced. Sweeping is also done every morning by dragging hose pipe of irrigation to allow draining and mixing of dew drop with soil.

Irrigation:

Doob is a shallow rooted crop and needs frequent and light irrigation. Now -a-days provisions are being made to irrigate the lawn using sprinklers. The frequency of irrigation depends upon soil and climatic conditions.

Physiological Changes during Flower Senescence:

The senescence of flowers is marked by loss of dry matter, primarily due to hydrolysis of macromolecules such as starch, sugars, protein and nucleic acids. The starch is broken down into sugars which are transport to the flowers. The breakdown of proteins release ammonia in the cells, which causes blueing of petals in red cultivars of proteins rose. Senescence is also marketed by changes in the property of membrane such as in microviscosity and loss of phospholipids and permeability which results in leakage of pigments, sugars, mineral ions and total electrolytes, thereby leading to death of the tissues.

It has been observed that flowers show two peaks of respiration; first when the bud starts opening and the second when the senescence takes place. This is followed by decrease in respiration of flowers. This decrease in respiration has been ascribed to the depletion of sugars or inability of mitochondria to utilize available sugars.

From an investigation at IARI, New Delhi on the post harvest life of cut flower of ten different cultivars, it has been observed that the cultivars which lasted for longer duration recorded comparatively lower rate of respiration and less electrolyte leakage during the course of senescence over the cultivars which lasted for shorter duration. While studying the changes in vascular morphology of the cut surface of the rose stems of the above cultivars, the freshly cut rose stems of all the cultivars showed clear vascular system; in case of short lasting cultivars, on the third day itself, globular bodies were observed with partial breakdown of vessel cells on the cut surface.

There is also clear evidence that synthesis of new proteins is also associated with petal senescence. The newly synthesized enzymes during senescence thus, appear to play an important role in senescence.

Factors Affecting Shelf Life:

Important factors which determine the storage life of flowers are quality of the flowers; stage of harvest; temperature; relative humidity; light; ethylene; and pathogens.

The flowers to be stored should be of good quality. Flowers should be devoid of any physical injury and free from attack of pests and diseases. The injured and diseased tissues are potential sources of ethylene and are highly prone to infection with pathogens.

The flowers must be cut at an optimum harvesting stage. Some flower like gladioli, roses, lilies, narcissi and irises are generally stored at but stage as buds of these flowers open perfectly after storage.

Temperature management during storage is an important component which determine the storage life of flowers, temperature fluctuations in the cold room should be avoided. Relative humidity inside the cold room should preferably be maintained high (90-95). Low humidity causes excessive water loss from the flowers thereby stimulating their desiccation. Cold rooms should be cleaned at regular intervals to check the spread of pathogens.

Floral Preservatives:

Term “Floral Preservative” is used for any chemical formulation which is used for extent the life of flowers. Besides increasing life, floral preservatives help to improve flower opening, flower size, shape and colour.

Types of Floral Preservatives:

Floral preservatives can be applied in three ways i.e., as (i) pulsing solution; (ii) bud opening solutions; and (iii) holding or vase solutions.

(i) Pulsing solutions:

“Pulsing” refers to short duration (16-24 hr) pre-storage treatment. The effect of such a treatment lasts throughout the entire life of the flower. Sugar (sucrose) is one of the main components of the pulsing solution. Since pulsihg involves short duration treatment, relatively higher levels of sucrose are used.

(ii) Bud opening solution:

Immature buds of may flowers can be made to open in chemical solutions, referred to as “Bud opening solution”. The components of bud opening solutions are essentially the same as those of pulsing solutions, but in case of bud opening solutions, lower concentration of sucrose are used.

(iii) Holding or vase solutions:

Vase solutions are meant to hold flowers continuously, till the termination of their vase life. The level of sucrose in vase solutions is therefore, also kept very low (0.5 to 2 per cent), due to long duration for which flowers are kept in the solution. Many commercial vase preservatives are also available for use as holding solutions and should be used as per recommendations of the manufacturers.

Constituents of Floral Preservatives:

The main constituents of floral preservatives are (i) Water (ii) Sugar; and (iii) Biocides. Besides, mineral nutrients, acidifying agents, anti-ethylene compounds and growth regulators are also used in floral preservatives. The brief account of these constituents is given herewith:

(i) Water:

Water is the most important component of floral preservatives. It affects vase life in terms of its quality as well as quality. Sometimes tap water can be harmful due to its high pH (alkalinity), presence of total dissolved solutes (TDS) and toxic ions. High pH reduces vase life. Therefore, acidifying water to low pH 3.0-3.5 is advantageous because it decreases microbial growth and considerably improves water absorption. The longevity of Super Star roses was improved by the use of tap water over that of single and double distilled water.

(ii) Sugar:

Sucrose is the most widely used sugar in floral preservatives. Sugar acts as additional food source also improves water balance of cut flowers. The optimum concentration of sugar required however, varies from species to species, Since sugar promotes microbial growth, it is usually combined with biocides before use.

(iii) Biocides:

Biocides are chemical substances which are used to inhibit microbial growth in the vase water as well as on the stem surface. Important biocides used for treating cut flowers are 8-hydroxyquinoline citrate, silver nitrate, aluminium sulphate, citric acid, slow release chlorine compounds and quartemary ammonium compounds.

8-hydroxy quinone citrate (8-HQC) is very effective broad spectrum biocide. It acidifies water and also indices partial closure of stomata. This compound is used at the concentration of 200-600 ppm.

Silver nitrate (AgN03) is also very effective biocide; AgN03 at the concentration of 25 ppm completely inhibits the microbial growth.

Common house plants and their commercial propagation methods:

Common nameScientific nameCommercial propagation method
AglaonemaAglaonema commulalumDivision of basal shoots, nodal cuttings
AnthuriumAnthurium magnificumSeeds
AphelandraAphelandra squarrosaHalf ripened wood cuttings
AraliaAralia filicipliaDivision of crown
AraucariaAraucaria heterophyllaSeeds
AsparagusAsparagus africunsDivision of crown
Bird of paradiseStrelitzia reginaeSeeds
CalatheaCalthea insignisRoot cuttings
ColeusColeus hybridusHerbaceous cuttings of slips
CrotonCodiaeum spp.Air layering
DieffenbachiaDieffenbachia exoticaTerminal and nodal cuttings
DraecenaDracaena deremensisCane pieces
English ivyCissus spp.Cuttings
Indian rubber treeFicus elasticaAir layering
Iron plantAspidistra elatorDivision of crown
MonsteraMonstera deliciosaAir layering
PalmsDifferent speciesOffsets
PandanusPandanus utilisOffsets and division of suckers
Peacock plantCalathea spp.Division of crown
PhilodendronPhilodendron scandensCuttings
Pitcher plantNepenthes khasianaHard-wood cuttings
PodocarpusPodocarpus macrophyllusShoot tip grafting
Sago palmCycas revolutaOffsets
SansevieriaSansevieria spp.Offsets
Spider plantChlorophytum comosumDivision of crown
TradescantiaTradescantia spp.Cuttings
YuccaYucca gloriosaSeeds and offsets
ZebrinaZebrina pendulaHerbaceous cuttings

Important shrubs and trees and their commercial propagation technique:

A. ORNAMENTAL SHRUBS
Common NameScientific nameCommercial propagation technique
AcalyphaAcalyha spp.Hard-wood cuttings
AllamandaAllamanda cathaticaAir layering
AzaliaAzalia spp.Hard-wood cuttings and layering
Bottle brushCallstemon spp.Hard-wood cuttings and layering
BryaBrya ebenusHard-wood cuttings and layering
CameliaCammelia japonicaHard-wood cuttings and layering
CestrumCestrum noctrunmHard-wood cuttings
CledendronCledendron spp.Hard-wood cuttings
ClematisClematis spp.Leaf bud cuttings
Coral treeErythrina indicaHard-wood cuttings
HibiscusHibiscus rosa-shinensisHard-wood cuttings and layering
HydrangeaHydrangea spp.Softwood and leaf-bud cuttings
IpomeaIpmea carneaHard-wood cuttings
IxoraIxora spp.Hard-wood cuttings and layering
JatrophaJatropha multifidaHard-wood cuttings
JuniperJuniperus spp.Hard-wood cuttings
KachnarBauhinia acuminataHard-wood cuttings

Packages for export of cut flowers:

Packaging for export of cut-flowers is as important as the quality of the flower. Only corrugated fibre board (CFB) packages are accepted in the trade. Different types of CFB for cut flowers.

Slotted box, telescopic boxes, rigid boxer, ready glazed boxes and folded type boxes.

An ideal package for export should be small in volume, air-tight non-water absorbent, of the required strength, should have minimal effect on quality and shelf/vase life of flowers.

The size of the packages especially the length of boxes depend upon the stem length of cut- flowers required in trade, e.g. Rose: 100 cm.

The strengths of the containers should be enough to withstand a stack height of 3-5 times to protect the loads from damage due to shock and vibrations.

Ventilation holes are not necessary if the flowers are packed and transported in ideal conditions.

The flowers are to be immobilized and cushioned to avoid abscission due to vibration. This is achieved by lining the inside of boxes with thin polyethylene film.

Fine moist tissue paper spreading are also spread of each of the box to provide cushioning to the blooms.

Biotechnology for improvement of flower crops:

The major constraints in flower breeding are, very limited gene pool for improving agronomic traits, which compels breeders to opt for sexual crossing, consuming lot of time and energy.

There is no possibility of directed plant breeding through mutation manipulation, because if we increase the flower size other traits get affected.

Biotechnology can provide many scientific pathways including cell and tissue culture techniques and molecular approaches for the flower breeders.

Plant biotechnology is applied to manipulate diverse traits including flower colour, shape and fragrance, flower and leaf longevity, plant form and habit, resistance to diseases and pests and induction and timing of flowering.

With the advent of in vitro culture techniques, plants can be cloned in a miniature form (microplants) from tiny pieces of leaves, scales and apical buds. In some plants, cell suspension cultures can be used for plant regeneration.

It is estimated that there exists a global market of US $ 15 billion for tissue-cultured plants and products the demand is still growing. In India, approximate 76 companies have plans for setting tissue cultured plants and more than 30 are already in the market with their products.

The various approaches those are used for improvement in flower crops are

1. Micropropagation (Anthurium,

Chrysanthemum, Carnation, Gerbera, Dieffenbachia, Gladiolus, Rose, Dahlia).

2. Meristem culture (Dahlia, Gladiolus, Lily, Rose, Gerbera, Kalanchoe, Dieffenbachia).

3. Embryo culture (Litium, Chrysanthemum, Carnation).

4. Somaclonal variation (Carnation, Chrysanthemum, Litium, Pelargonium).

5. Haploid culture (Pelargonium, Lilium, Gerbera).

6. Somatic embroyogenesis (Iris sp Anthurium, Geranium, Floribunda)

(1) Micropropagation in case of ornamental shrubs like, Jasmine can also be cloned through rapid proliferation of auxiliary buds. This technology is also used for production of disease free motherstock cultures, which are then used as a source of conventional cuttings.

(2) The culture of shoot meristems has proven useful in eliminating virus from plants like Dhalia, Gladiolus, Rose, Lilium sp.

(3) Embryo rescue by culturing seeds devoid of endosperm is being used for obtaining new types of orchids and their multiplication. It is also used to obtain interspecific hybrids of Lilium, chrysanthemum and carnation

(4) Regeneration of plants through somatic embryogenesis has been obtained in Irish, Anthurium, Floribunda rose.

(5) Somaclonal Variation where tissue culture results in plants that are physiologically and genetically different from their progenitors have been studied and utilized in number of important flowers crops carnation, chryesanthemum, Lilium, Pelargonium.

(6) The culture of anthers, ovules, microspores is of considerable value to flower breeders to produce haploid plants

(A) Bacillus thuringensis (Bt). Gene has been used in Chrysanthemum for resistance to insect pest armyworm.

i. In Petunia, transgenic plants were obtained for resistance to Lepidopteran pest using potato protease inhibitor and bovine trypsin inhibitor.

ii. Increase in vaselife is an area of much concern to floriculturists, transgenic carnation having an artisense ACC oxidase, gene exhibited markedly low ethylene production and delayed petal senescence.

iii. Many novel Plants – blue anthurium, scented rose, chrysanthemum plants with altered flower morphology and flowers that do not fade will come into existence, flowers growing due to presence of bioluminescence genes (Lux Genes) from vibrio fischeri.

iv. Biotechnology offers immense prospects to improve flower crops using the advanced tools, thus increasing the market value of flowers.

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