PRODUCTION TECHNOLOGY, CARE & ECONOMIC BENEFITS OF ORCHID - Rayhan Kabir

PRODUCTION TECHNOLOGY, CARE & ECONOMIC BENEFITS OF ORCHID

In the realm of flowers, orchid has taken place in everyone’s mind with their color, fragrant and wide variety of features. It’s reputed as one of the most beautiful flowers in the world.

Orchids are said to be the largest family in the flower-producing plant world, with about 900 species and more than 30,000 species. One of the characteristics of the flower is its attractive color, variety of textures, fragrance, medicinal properties, and long durability.

 The ancient Chinese philosopher Confucius called orchid flowers “the best flower” because of their variety. The philosophers Plato, Aristotle, and Theophrastus affectionately named this flower ‘Orchis’. Over time, the name evolved into orchids.

Orchid family members can be cultivated in both hobby and commercial ways. This interesting flower will bloom only if it is cultivated according to proper rules. The fragrance will spread around, success will match. Can be grown in shady well-drained but damp land. These flowers are not good at bright sunlight. For commercial cultivation, the land should be shaded with set nets so that 40-60% of sunlight can be penetrated. In the case of tab cultivation, this flower can be cultivated under a large tree. This variety is perennial.

 

Production Technology:

  • Propagation of Orchids:

Like other horticultural crops, orchids may be propagated either asexually or sexually. Since most of the commercial orchids are highly heterogeneous, they can’t be raised through seed and are propagated through vegetative means. Conventional methods like cutting, division of shoots or kelkis, aerial shoots, suckers are employed for the propagation of orchids.

  • Vegetative propagation (cutting):

Orchids like Arachnis, Epidendrum, Renanthera, Aerides, Vanda, Phalaenopsis, and Dendrobium can be propagated by cutting. The cuttings are generally bigger and should possess more than one root. The cuttings can be directly potted or potted in propagation beds after treating the cut ends with fungicides ( mainly to prevent rotting).

And from the above species, Dendrobium and Phalaenopsis need special care to root after propagation and must be potted in propagation beds, whereas other species like Arachnis, Epidendrum, Renanthera, Aerides can be directly propagated in pots.

This cutting propagation method is getting more popular day by day as its percentage of variation is almost null compared to in vitro propagation through tissue culture.

The method consists of dividing large clumps into smaller units. Moreover, special care must be taken and should not divide the plants unless there are 8-10 pseudo-bulbs.

  • Off-shoots and kelkis:

In Ancoced-NDA and Phalaenopsis (monopodial orchids), kelkis or off-shoots arise on the main stem. This is gradually happening due to the apex’s effectiveness loss in suppressing axillary buds. In commercial production, topping the stem is done intentionally to induce kelkis formation. Also by using cytokinins, kelkis can be induced.

  • Aerial shoots:

Most of the Dendrobiums produce aerial shoots or bulbs on old back bulbs. They mainly arise on the upper part of the back. They grow slowly. These shoots usually take 90-120 days to develop roots. After the emergence of roots, these can be detached and potted as independent plants.

  • Sucker (corporeal) Propagation of ORCHID:

Sucker emerges laterally from each tree after flowering or cutting of flowers. These can be detached from the tree and planted in the mainland only when the roots come out while planting. In addition, seedlings can be produced from cut flower sticks when they are finished. For this, a special method has to be adopted.

Land preparation and planting method for Sucker propagation:

In the process of division, suckers should be collected from the trees and planted inland. The bed should be made by mixing equal quantities of rotten dung/compost, coconut husk, rice husk, and sandy loam soil.

Fertilizer application:

20:20:20 mixed fertilizer is rich in urea, TSP, and MP very useful. Fertilizer should be mixed with water and sprayed on plants once or twice a week. Care should be taken to ensure that the leaves of the tree get well wet while spraying.

Irrigation and drainage: 

After applying sufficient amounts of sucker in the soil, light irrigation should be given so that the sucker sticks to the soil. Irrigation should be given after understanding the weather conditions. In order to maintain the relative humidity of the air at 60 for the cultivation of this flower, it is necessary to spray water occasionally with a sprinkler. Water standing on the ground is harmful to this crop.

  • Tissue Culture method for propagation:

The major means for the propagation of orchids was usually the division of plants. But the tissue culture method is fast enough and doesn’t need any type of division of the plant. This method is getting popular day by day. But in this method, special care has to be applied. And suitable plant parts (contamination-free), pH, temperature, light, etc. must be maintained for a successful tissue culture method. Now several orchid genera like Cymbidium, Cattleya, Odontoglossum, Phalaenopsis, Oncidium, Miltonia, and Vanda are commercially produced using tissue culture methods.

  • Other Methods:

In some species, roots are produced from tubers. In this case, tubers can be directly propagated into the pots.

Aseptic Culture:

The aseptic culture technique of orchids is an illustrated process and is usually done by commercial orchid breeders. This production technique is very effective for the fast and large-scale multiplication of orchids. Seeds, meristem, leaf tips, stem segments, embryos, etc. all can be successfully cultured. 

Symbiotic Seed Germination technique:

This method is usually based on the principle that, for germination of orchid seed, it needs fungal association. And in this method, a specific fungus was cultivated first and then seeds were sown on it. Mainly the seeds along with the fungus are cultured into the test tube first, which encourages the germination of the seeds and also helps the growth of seedlings. And this association is termed a symbiotic association. Most of the fungi were identified as Rhizoctonia.

Asymbiotic seed germination:

This method involves growing seeds and seedlings in the aseptic conditions in agar media. Here for germination and growth, special nutrients are used as a supplement. And the agar media also contains organic and inorganic salts, some growth hormones, water, carbohydrate, and other substances. And for successive growth, proper pH, temperature, and light have to be maintained.

Sowing from dehisced capsules (dry seed):

There are various methods of sowing seeds using dry seeds. But all methods are mainly involved in the sterilization of the seed before sowing, but sterilization time varies with different methods.

There are three methods of sowing seeds-

Syringe technique of orchid:

In this method, a 5ml syringe is needed.

First of all, the tip of the syringe has to be plugged with cotton wool and then wrapped in a piece of cloth and then cut from a pair of tights, and replaced with a plunger. After that, the autoclave process is done and at the same time also autoclave some distilled water in jars and forceps.

After that, the plunger has to be pulled out and a small quantity of seeds has to be poured into it. Then replace the plunger.

Then 4ml of 1% bleach solution has to be drowning in the syringe. After that agitation needs to be done to soak all the seeds in the solution for 5 minutes followed by another 5 minutes and then eject the solution.

Then wash out the seeds 3-4 times with the sterilized distilled water. Then with the neck (sterilized) of the syringe, the seeds are poured into the medium and excess water must be removed.

Packet Technique:

Using a piece of paper, a packet has to be created first. Then a small quantity of seed has to be sown on the packet and after that fold and seal the packet using a stapler and immerse it in the distilled water for 5-10 minutes. At this time, the packet has to be squeezed gently to dispel air bubbles.

Then transfer the packet using forceps into 1% bleach solution with one drop of detergent and leave for 10 minutes. After that, rinse the seeds again in distilled water for 3-4 times. And then excess water has to be squeezed out gently. Lastly with the help of scissors, put out the packet and dab the seeds into the medium.

Potting Technique:

Seeds can be cultivated in pots, tubs, or hanging baskets. Pieces of coal, cobalt, or jhamra have to be placed on the inner bottom of any one of these, and pieces of coconut husk have to be spread in it. Then water is given as required. Excessive water application should be avoided.

Care of Orchids:

Rule 1- Watering:

Though orchids are mainly found in tropical rainforests, they don’t need much watering. Actually, heavy watering damages its growth. In the case of watering an orchid, the golden rule is to ensure that the plant constantly not sitting in water so that it causes the root to rot.

There are three ways one can water orchid plants:

Submerging:

Most of the orchids are planted in pots with a potting medium like soil and bark. In this case, for watering the plant, another pot is needed which is termed as holding pot and fill the pot with a little amount of water (little portion 1/3 of the holding pot). Then sit the plant pot inside the holding out for 10-15 minutes. Then put the plant pot out and keep it aside for another 5 minutes to drain out the water. This watering technique can be done once a week.

Ice cubes:

Using ice cubes is a great way for watering orchids. Because it improves absorption, prevents root rot, avoids overwatering, and makes life easier.

Depending on the season, this technique can be used twice a week. In this case, one cube pops on the top of the potting medium, underneath the leaves.

Pouring:

It is the primary method of watering the orchids. A very small amount of water can be poured on the pot and must avoid overwatering as it causes root rot.

  • How to tell when to water orchids-

Watering orchids can be a little bit of an error and trail. One should keep in mind that a long summer day may need more watering than a short winter day.

  • How to tell if orchids need water-

One needs to check out the roots first-

  • When roots are in greenish texture they are getting just the right amount of water.
  • When roots are fed and in a brownish texture, they are getting too much water.
  • When roots are greyish or white in color they are not getting enough water.

 Rule 2- Humidity and Orchid:

Humidity is an important factor for orchids as it recreates their natural habitat, which helps them in their healthy growth.

There are several ways of creating proper humidity but for indoor orchids, the easiest way is to mist them regularly.

What is misting?

  • It is simply a spraying technique of orchids regularly with a fine mist spray bottle.
  • Spray the plant in leaves and aerial roots up to two times a day. This can sound like a lot but water very quickly evaporates.

How to tell when to mist-

Insufficient misting can lead to a few problems, like-

  • Stunted growth
  • Falling flower buds
  • Brown tipped leaves
  • Twisted flowers.

Rule 3 – Ideal light for orchid:

Optimal light is the main key to keep orchids happy like most plants.

  • Avoid direct sunlight-

Direct sunlight causes sunburn in the case of orchids. Thus keep them aside in the room so that they can receive indirect sunlight.

  • How to tell if the light is just right-

The simplest way is to use your hand in measuring light intensity. It may sound strange but it works. There is no rocket science. Just put your hand a few inches above the plant’s leaves so that you can cast a shadow over it.

  • If there is little or no shadow that means the light intensity is very low.
  • If there is a soft grey light shadow that means the light intensity is just perfect.
  • If there is a very strong and dark shadow that means the light intensity is too much.

Rule 4 – How to Feed Orchid:

How to feed orchids:-

  • Pour the liquid food on the medium, not on the soil as it will burn them.
  • Using a narrow spouted jug is the best idea in distributing the food over the soil.
  • The week you feed it, there’s no need to water the plant on that week.
  • Must have to remove the excess feed and salts from soil next week at the time of watering.

Rule 5 – How to Prune Orchids:

  • How often do they need pruning-

When orchids are in a blooming period, their new flower will remain up to 12 weeks. After this time, they may fade away or fall. Once they do so, just check to see if the steam is healthy or not. Healthy steam remains healthy and firm to touch. But unhealthy stems are brown/yellow in color and hard to touch. And they become unhealthy so pruning is needed.

  • Orchid pruning tips-
  • Always bear in mind that orchids are very fragile plants and can’t be handled like you would a shrub. For example, if you cut a leaf partially, the rest of the leaf may die.
  • For trimming away any dead leaves, tissue, or root as well as your stem, always use a sharp shear or knife.
  • At the time when you cut a healthy living stem for the first time, trim the stem just above the stem notch/ node where the first flower had bloomed. This will allow a new shoot to emerge.
  • And when you prune for the second time and if your stem is unhealthy, then simply cut the death stem from the above of the base.

This will allow the orchid to produce new strong leaves and roots.

Economic Benefits of Orchid:

  • Current conditions and possibilities:

The global demand for flowers is steadily increasing. It is now a significant commodity in international trade worth billions of dollars. Flowers are now produced on a commercial basis in many countries of the world. The production marketing of flowers using modern technology has gradually acquired the characteristics of an industrial product, which is now referred to as “floriculture”. The highest development of this industry took place in Holland. The Netherlands earns 9000 million tons of foreign exchange every year by exporting flowers, ornamental plants and related products. Holland exports Bahari trees produced and imported from different countries. The warm and humid climate of Bangladesh is conducive to the production of various orchid flowers. 

The floriculture industry has developed the most in the last fifty years and a number of developing countries have also made significant contributions. Thailand, for example, exports at least 40 million worth of orchids to 50 countries each year. India, Taiwan, Sri Lanka, Singapore are also fast-growing in orchid flower exports.

There has been some progress in the field of floriculture in Bangladesh as well. A large number of nurseries have been set up in all parts of the country. The happiest thing now is that when people go to the nursery, they buy fruit saplings as well as a couple of flower saplings. Although late, flower production and floriculture has started as a cash crop in Bangladesh from 1972-73. According to a study, flowers are now cultivated in about 10,000 hectares of land in Bangladesh. According to the information received, there are 50-55 permanent and 200-250 temporary shops in Dhaka city alone, the average daily sales of each shop is Rs. 4000-5000. According to the information received, the volume of flower export trade in Bangladesh in 2006 was Rs. 36 crores, and flowers are sold for an estimated Rs.

According to available sources, there are more than 70 species of orchids in our tropical country. Nowadays, Orchid Society from NGOs, private nurseries, and research industries like BRAC, PROSHIKA, SQUARE, Kingshuk Nursery, Dipta Orchid Ltd., Micro Orchid Ltd., Omni Orchid Ltd., EnergyPac Agro. Ltd., Alpha Agro. Ltd., Wonderland Toys, Krishibid Orchid, and Cactus Nursery, Krishibid Upakaron Nursery, Sabuj Nursery, Hortus nursery, Kashbon Nursery, Ananda Nursery, and domestic and foreign varieties of orchids are available at Bangladesh agricultural research institute, which can be exported abroad. Also, at different times of the year, at tree fairs, flower fairs, orchids shows, and even agricultural fairs, some fancy exhibitors gather some orchids of Bahari varieties in their stalls- which is really admirable.

At one time, there were no orchids on Hawaiian Island. The ancient people of that country never saw orchids. First, the hobby garden then began the commercial cultivation of orchids. Then Hawaii gradually became the dreamland of orchids. And they didn’t have to look back. There is no time to look back now, the queen of orchids, Thailand, and Taiwan. The largest market of orchids in the world now sits in Taiwan. Taiwan is now the largest exporter of orchids in the world.

The Taiwanese International Orchid show is held in March every year in Taiwan. It is one of the three major orchids shows in the world. Singapore has also recently developed a national orchid garden within the Singapore Botanic Garden. There are many orchid gardens in Cameroon Highland in Malaysia.

They are producing Oncidium, Dendrobium, Phalaenopsis, etc. for commercial purposes only. Thailand, the world’s largest producer of Dendrobium orchids, supplies most of the United State (98%). They are making billions of dollars just by trading orchids. Orchid cultivation has therefore gained industry status in Thailand. Seeing and knowing all this, it seems that we can go a long way with the resources of orchids that we have. Greater Sylhet, greater Chittagong, Chittagong Hill Tracts, Gazipur, Mymensingh, Jessore, Rajshahi can be identified as potential areas for orchids.

  • Adoptable Orchid in Exportable Bangladesh:

The use of flowers is related to the economic development of any country or nation. The richer a nation financially, the more flowers are valued by the nation. At present, commercial production of orchids in Sri Lanka, Thailand, Taiwan, Singapore, China, Malaysia, India is considered very important and this special field is playing a significant role in the economy of these countries. The supply is less in line with the demand for flowers in the global and domestic markets.

Therefore, if the floriculture industry can be developed in Bangladesh through public and private initiatives, millions of people will get self-employment opportunities, on the other hand, it will be possible to meet the demand for domestic flowers as well as earn a lot of foreign exchange by exporting abroad.

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