Say it with flowers

Amarjeet Singh Batth

Have you ever decked up your house with flowers from your garden? Have you ever put them in the vases placed in the corners or at the centre of tables? If you have, then you would know that fresh flowers are a source of positivity. To stick to the habit around the year, all you need to do is check out the growing and blooming season of flowers. This also depends on the geographical location. Cut flowers are a generally a local crop. 

In north India, plan the planting of flowering bushes.  Chrysanthemum is available from November till December, gladiolus flowers begin to bloom from January onwards, followed by gerbera, a February flower. 

The winter annuals like carnation, China aster, dahlia, larkspur and poppy are available from mid-February onwards till the end of march. Tuberose starts blooming with the onset of rainy season and remains a constant till early winter. The rose is the principal cut flower and begins to bloom from November onwards. 

During peak summer, the flower size is reduced and colour gets dull. Liliums and orchids dominate flower beds during winter. To get the best crop of flowers, sowing must be done at regular intervals. Flowers with long and hard stem are usually the best options.  

Carnation and China aster

These require a sunny location and rich, medium textured and well-drained soil. Propagation is done by seeds that are sown in September-October and later transplanted in flower beds. Carnation requires pinching and disbudding. Dahlia is a tuberous-rooted half-hardy herbaceous perennial plant and comes in a range of colours and forms. It is propagated through cuttings, seeds and division of tuber. 

Gerbera

This is a long-stalked star-like long-lasting flower. It grows in well-drained soil, so grow them on raised beds. Gerbera requires soil that is rich in organic matter along with leaf mould. It is propagated from seeds, tissue culture and division of mother plant. 

Gladiolus

The flower’s planting is done in September and October. It requires less water and that too once a week or once a fortnight, depending on the climatic conditions.       

Orchids

These are decorative flowers and bloom for a very long period and have a quality cut life. These can be transported to even long distances. Orchids usually grow in air, the prime reason they are preferably placed in hanging baskets or perforated baskets filled with moss or bark preparations. They prefer indirect diffused light with good moisture but that does not mean you should over water them. Water them moderately with a fine spray and allow them to dry before the next watering.   

Tuberose

Also known as Rajnigandha, this is a white aromatic plant bulb, and is planted in February and March. It requires a sunny location and rich and well-drained soil. Tuberose is a heavy feeder, therefore, add farm yard manure, potassium and phosphorous in the soil mixture. Give a  dose of urea after one month, then after two months and third dose when flowering starts. Tuberose needs moisture but overwatering can cause fungal disease.

How to get started

  • Use a sterilised vase to eliminate bacterial infection. 
  • Prefer use cutting knife to a scissor. Use filtered water only. 
  • Cut the stem under water to prevent air from entering the water-absorbing tissues. 
  • Cut the stem diagonally to increase the surface area. 
  • The cut-end should be immediately dipped in water.
  • Make sure no foliage dips into the water, just remove it. 

If you want flowers in a vase for a long time

  • Cut  the stem’s lower portion under water everyday.  
  • Mist twice a day with clean and cool water.  
  • Add readymade ‘food pack’ or a pinch of glucose to provide nutrition. 
  • Keep the vase away from fresh fruits and vegetable, which release ethylene. 
  • Do not place the flower vase under direct sunlight. A cool dark area is the best place.