Floriculture or flower farming is the study of growing flowers. Floriculture includes cultivation of flowering and ornamental plants. In simpler terms floriculture can be defined as the art and knowledge of growing flowers to perfection.
Worldwide more than 140 countries are involved in commercial Floriculture. The leading flower producing country in the world is Netherlands and Germany is the biggest importer of flowers. Countries involved in the import of flowers are Netherlands, Germany, France, Italy and Japan while those involved in export are Colombia, Israel, Spain and Kenya.
Floriculture in India
Floriculture is an age old farming activity in India having immense potential for generating gainful self-employment among small and marginal farmers.
The production and trade of floriculture has increased consistently over the last 10 years. In India, Floriculture industry comprises flower trade, production of nursery plants and potted plants, seed and bulb production, micro propagation and extraction of essential oils.
After liberalization the Government of India identified floriculture as a sunrise industry and accorded it 100 percent export oriented status. The liberalization of industrial and trade policies paved the way for the development of export oriented production of cut flowers.
The objective of the scheme is to focus on the promotional and awareness aspects by providing incentives to the farmers and motivating them to grow traditional as well as ‘non-traditional floral crops and house-plants for commercial purpose.
Green House Technology for Flower Production
In present scenario of increasing demand for cut flowers protected cultivation in green houses is the best alternative for using land and other resources more efficiently. In protected environment suitable environmental conditions for optimum plant growth are provided which ultimately provide quality products. Green House is made up of glass or plastic film, which allows the solar radiations to pass through but traps the thermal radiations emitted by plants inside and thereby provide favourable climatic conditions for plant growth. It is also used for controlling temperature, humidity and light intensity inside. On the basis of basic material used, building cost and technology used, green houses can be of three types-
1. Low-cost greenhouse: The low-cost green house is made of polythene sheet of 700 gauge supported on bamboos with twines and nails. Its size depends on the purpose of its utilization and availability of space. The temperature within greenhouse increases by 6-100C more than outside.
2. Medium-cost greenhouse: With a slightly higher cost greenhouse can be framed with GI pipe of 15 mm bore. This greenhouse has a covering of UV -stabilized polythene of 800 gauge. The exhaust fans are used for ventilation which are thermostatically controlled. Cooling pad is used for humidifying the air entering the chamber. The greenhouse frame and glazing material have a life span of about 20 years and 2 years respectively.
3. Hi-tech greenhouse: In this type of green house the temperature, humidity and light are automatically controlled according to specific plant needs.
Temperature control system consists of temperature sensor heating/cooling mechanism and thermostat operated fan. Similarly, relative humidity is sensed through optical tagging devices. Boiler operation, irrigation and misting systems are operated under pressure sensing system. This modern structure is highly expensive, requiring qualified operators, maintenance, care and precautions. However, these provide best conditions for export quality cut flowers and are presently used by large number of export units.
4. Extension of cut flower life:
The vase life of cut flowers can be prolonged for 8 to 10 days.