Flowering to the fullest

Exotic Collection

Growing orchids was once known as a hobby of the elite but now, everyone has taken to growing the beautiful plant due to its long lifespan and lovely bloom.

There are about 33,000 species of orchids. They offer great diversity with their shape and array of colours and have great economic value. 

 Dr Manmohan Attavar, chairman of Indo-American Hybrid Seeds India, says, “People have this perception that it’s difficult to maintain orchids but it’s not. It’s an interesting plant to grow if one follows a few tips. Orchids don’t need too much of water. They grow in humid conditions. Since Bangalore’s weather is dry and not that humid, one should create artificial arrangements to grow them. They should be kept in partial sunlight and each species should be treated differently.”

KS Shashidhar, president of The Orchid Society Of Karnataka, adds, “Bangalore’s weather conditions are ideal to grow ‘dendrobium’ and ‘phalaenopsis’. They are easy maintenance but require a lot of patience as a small seedling would take approximately three years to grow. Orchids are grown in pots filled with chips of bark, stones and brick pieces, which keep the roots well-aerated and permits water to drain quickly. Watering them daily could kill them. So it is sufficient to water them once a week.” 

He further adds, “They have a lot of commercial value internationally due to their long shelf life. Orchids grow on dead plants and dead mosses. They are not parasites as parasites suck nutrition and destroy the host. They are environmently-friendly plants and primary indicators of budding eco-system.”  

People have begun to grow orchids as they are easy to maintain and the price of a small plant costs anywhere from Rs 150 to Rs 600. 

“One should know which plant he or she is picking up and should read up on the background of the plant as each species is treated differently and requires different humid conditions. It is important to follow the instructions and nurture the plant accordingly. Orchids are widely grown in the Western Ghats and North-East,” says Queeni, a Mangalore-based orchid grower. 

Shekhar, who is an orchid enthusiast and has around 15 different varieties in his house, says, taking care of orchids is worth the effort. “Orchids need diffused lighting, and I have a rooftop garden which allows filtered light to pass through. And I water the plants once in three days. One needs a lot of patience to take care of them but once they flower, they are beautiful.” 

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