Horticulture is a science and art of gardening and of cultivating fruits, vegetables, flowers, and ornamental plants. Floriculture or flower farming is a discipline of horticulture that deals with the development, cultivation and marketing of flowering plants. Cut flower business deals with the growing of flowering plants and marketing of flowers cut along with some stem and leaf. These cut flowers are usually used for indoor decoration. Live cut flowers have a limited life. The majority of cut flowers can be expected to keep alive for several days with proper care. This generally requires standing them in water in shade. They can be treated in various ways to increase their life. To keep cut flowers beautiful and longer, cut stems should be placed in water immediately, as air will rapidly move into the water-conducting tissues and plug the cells that will cause early wilting of flower.
Change in life style of people has increased the demand for the cut flowers products especially in the developed and developing countries for the past two decades. This increase in demand of cut flowers is due to increasing use of cut flowers for different ceremonies in the society like weddings and birthday parties etc. High-quality flowers are vastly in demand.
The favourable climate provides added benefits for investment in the floriculture sector. The return on floriculture crops is much higher than the other agricultural crops. Cut flower demand fluctuates during the year depending upon various social functions whereas supply of cut flowers fluctuates due to seasonal effects of weather.
Chrysanthemum comes from Greek ‘Chrys’ meaning golden (the colour of the original flowers), and ‘anthemon’, meaning flower. It is one of the most popular flowers in the world after rose. Each Chrysanthemum flower head is actually a cluster of many flowers, composed of a central group of short disk flowers surrounded by rings of longer ray flowers.
- Chrysanthemums are tropical flowers.
- It belongs to the Asteraceae (Compositae) family, which is one of the largest families of flowering plants with over 1,000 genera and about 20,000 species.
- Chrysanthemum flavoured tea is very popular and is used as a relaxant.
ii. Growing of Chrysanthemums
- Chrysanthemums are not specific to any season. Chrysanthemum plants can be grown in any kind of soil, but they require a sunny weather for best performance. Chrysanthemum seeds are sown in those areas which experience low rainfall during the rainy season.
- Chrysanthemums are easy to be grown and are propagated by division of roots, cuttings and seeds. Usually, the Chrysanthemum seedlings are transplanted after about a month of sowing. But sometimes seeds can also be sown directly in situ and seedlings thinned out after germination.
- Chrysanthemum plants flower in about three months of sowing. Chrysanthemums have a long flowering period.
Chrysanthemum flowers bloom in various forms, and can be daisy-like, decorative, pompons or buttons. Chrysanthemum blooms come in a huge variety of shapes and sizes. They come in wide range of colours e.g. yellow, white, purple, and red. They are very popular in floral bouquets and flower arrangements e.g. Corn Marigold or Corndaisy, Tricolor Daisy, Crown Daisy, Shasta Daisy, Alecost.
iv. Plant Care
After the transplants, the Chrysanthemum beds should be weeded, hoed and watered regularly.
- In some cases staking of Chrysanthemum plants is necessary.
- After a few weeks, the Chrysanthemum seedlings are pinched to make them bushy.
- Fertilizing the plant is an important step in caring for chrysanthemums. Fertilize when the plants are ready for blooming and discontinue fertilizing after flower buds are formed.
- A careful check should be made to detect diseases or insect/pests and prompt control measures should be adopted to control them.
- The faded Chrysanthemum blooms should be removed regularly as it helps prolong flowering.
- Chrysanthemums are susceptible to aphids and plant bugs, leaf spot and stunt, and foliar nematodes. However, Chrysanthemums benefit from winter protection.