Orchid: Coveted, but in much short supply

Orchid: Coveted, but in much short supply

Blooming orchids may be pleasant to the eyes, but procuring them has been a challenge to orchid enthusiasts as well as nurseries.

Juliet Fontes, an avid orchid enthusiast who has more than 1,000 species of exotic orchids, said that the City needed more nurseries to help bridge the shortfall. “At present, there are just four nurseries and if steps are taken to set up more nurseries where orchids can be made available by the government, it would be really beneficial to orchid lovers,” she said.

Echoing the same opinion is Parvathy K R, a member of The Orchid Society of Karnataka (TOSKAR). “I pick up orchids from Lalbagh during the flower shows, otherwise I go to nurseries,” she said. “Initially, there were just two nurseries in the City. Considering the growing demand and craze for the colourful flowers, however, the number of people selling them has increased.”

According to TOSKAR members, the four nurseries which supply orchids to interested growers in Bangalore are: Florence Flora (Doddaballapur), Orchid Tree (Thanisandra), Krishnendra Nursery (Siddapura) and Indo-American Hybrid Seeds India Private Limited (Rajarajeshwari Nagar Post).

S M Krishnappa, the proprietor of Krishnendra Nursery, said that most nurseries import their plants from overseas. “We have 20,000 varieties of orchids, and when we initially started the nursery, we imported the plants from Africa and the United States. But now, we have adopted the scientific method of tissue culture plant propagation in our own lab.

It will be good if more nurseries are developed, but commercial growers should not just depend on the government as their plans will be delayed.”

Mamtha Bargale, a founder-member of Orchid Tree, explains that the shortfall of orchid farms in India has forced nurseries, growers and orchid enthusiasts to buy plants from abroad.

“There are no farms in India barring a few in the northeastern region. Hence, we get plants from outside and grow them here. A few nurseries have adopted tissue culture propagation but that is a tedious process involving different procedures such as pollination, rooting, germination among others,” she said.

Meanwhile, orchid enthusiasts are excited about the proposal of the Lalbagh Horticulture Department to set up an open-air orchidarium and feel that it is the best way to create awareness about the plants. A Lalbagh official maintained that they will seek TOSKAR’s help in implementing the proposal in a scientific manner.