Introduction to Greenhouse Flower Production
Greenhouse flower production may be year-round and can provide valuable cash flow throughout the year. The purpose of a greenhouse system is to shield crops from excess cold or heat and unwanted pests. Growing flowers in the greenhouse is one that major climatic demands required for their production because flower production requires specific temperature levels and specific photoperiod depending on the flower species being grown.
In this system, the primary environmental parameter traditionally controlled is temperature, typically providing heat to overcome extreme cold conditions. Greenhouse structures range in size from small sheds to industrial-sized buildings for growing crops. A miniature greenhouse system is called a cold frame. Then, the interior of a greenhouse exposed to sunlight becomes significantly warmer than the external temperature, protecting its contents in cold weather. Now, let us get into details of Greenhouse flower production in India.
A Step-By-Step Guide to Greenhouse Flower Production Practices
Construction of Greenhouse
Greenhouses may be mainly constructed in two ways. Some greenhouse structures are covered with hard plastic panels and other greenhouses are covered with a double layer of plastic with an air space between the 2 layers. This process may be cheaper to install but the plastic may need to be replaced after 3 to 5 years. Some high tunnels have both ends covered with both heat and ventilation installed but has only one layer of plastic covering.
It is the technique of providing favorable environmental or growth conditions to the flowering plants. In greenhouse production, the growing environment is altered to suit the specific requirements of plants. The greenhouse system may be constructed from several different materials. Among the most popular is aluminium, steel, and wood. But, aluminium is by far the most economical and longest lasting. Aluminium may be extruded in various shapes and thicknesses. This material can then be formed into rafters, side posts, and structural components. Wood is less used because it deteriorates quickly in the moist environment of the greenhouse.
Things to consider before designing a greenhouse structure;
For flower production, greenhouses for farmers of all sizes and types. To arrive at the best solution for the floriculture business, take some time to think about the nature of the business, your goals, and the special needs you have with your unique growing environment.
Features – Roof construction, arches, ventilation, and optional accessories are all features that can enhance and maximize the greenhouse’s efficiency and production.
Crops – Each flower crop you grow has specific needs in climate, and required space.
Zoning regulations – Greenhouse construction may be impacted or limited by local ordinances or guidelines about where they can be built. Also, consult with zone enforcement officials before making design decisions.
Utility access – Your greenhouse has special electrical, heating, fueling, or telephone needs. Consider which design makes utility access more convenient.
Growing period – Greenhouses allow for more year-round growing, but it’s still worth thinking about particular crops that thrive during off-season times.
Growing containers and media – Certain flower crops are more amenable to being raised in troughs, pots, beds, flats, or other arrangements.
Growing system – Greenhouses can be customized for optimal movability, whether you use fixed benches, floor units, portable benches, beds, or other structures.
Costs and capital – In the floriculture business, your greenhouse must reflect the reasonable balance of investment and projected revenue.
Principle of Greenhouse Cultivation
The greenhouse is covered with a transparent material like plastic, PVC sheet or polycarbonate sheet, or Fiber-reinforced plastic or glass.
Based upon its transparency the greenhouse cover structure transmits most of the sunlight.
The crop and other objects inside the greenhouse system absorb the sunlight admitted inside the greenhouse.
The greenhouse objects, in turn, emit longwave thermal radiations for which the greenhouse covering material has lower transparency. As a result of this, solar energy is trapped thus leading to increased temperature levels inside the greenhouse. This is known as the greenhouse effect.
How Does It Work?
The greenhouse effect as it relates to the actual greenhouse system works in the following way. A greenhouse reduces the rate at which thermal energy flows out of the structure, and by impeding heat that has been absorbed from leaving its confines through convection. Greenhouse construction material is typically glass or plastic so that sunlight can pass through it. This sunlight is integral to the greenhouse becoming warm, as it heats the ground inside the greenhouse. In turn, the warm ground then warms up the air in the greenhouse structure, which keeps on heating the plants inside since it is confined within the greenhouse structure.
Advantages of Greenhouses Flower Production
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Below are the advantages of growing flower crops in the greenhouse;
- Ensures the production of any plant throughout the year
- Blemish-free high-quality product
- Easy to control insect pests and diseases
- Water requirement reduces
- Labor requirement is less
- Earliness as it reduces crop duration
- The crop yield maybe 10-12 times higher than that of outdoor cultivation. It is depending upon the type of greenhouse, and environmental control facilities.
- Reliability of crop increases under greenhouse cultivation.
- Efficient utilization of pesticides to control pests.
- Water requirement of crops is limited and very easy to control.
- Maintenance of stock plants, cultivating grafted plant-lets
Some Other Benefits of Using a Commercial Greenhouse Flower Cultivation;
Growing flowers or ornamental crops is work that requires close attention to detail, all of which are different for each crop.
Creating the ideal environment – Flower farming or Floriculture greenhouse design allows a farmer the chance to optimize conditions, away from the scourges of pests and outside contaminants.
More control over heat and humidity – A greenhouse structure allows a farmer to manage climate conditions for each crop to ensure optimal crop growth.
More efficient use of resources – With more centralized growing regions and crop arrangement, a farmer has a greater ability to deploy proper irrigation, soil placement, and equipment for each plant.
Ability to grow off-season crops – A commercial greenhouse system has its ecosystem, allowing a farmer the chance to raise plants of any kind no matter what the outside weather is like.
The consistent growth of plants – Better regulation makes for a better chance of producing high-quality flower plants time after time.
Promoting environmental – With a commercial floriculture greenhouse system, a farmer can grow flowers in an eco-friendly way.
Basic Considerations for Greenhouse Flower Production
- Feasibility study
- Type of greenhouse structures
- Planting material
- Growing system
- Plant protection
- Post-harvest handling
- Supporting facilities for analyzing the quality of water
- Management and coordination
Growing Systems for Greenhouse Flower Production
- Ground beds
- Raised beds
Greenhouse Flower Production System
Depending on the way flower crops are grown (cut or potted flowers), we will have the following systems;
Cut flowers growing;
Growing in Soil – This type of culture leads to problems in the root of diseases due to the continuous production of the same species in a particular area.
Growing in bags – It eliminates the problem of soil depletion, by depending on the type of substrate used; substrate cleaning tasks can be performed.
Tray crops – generally produced for the plant production through cuttings.
Plant Growing Structures or Containers in Greenhouse Flower Production
The greenhouse crop duration is the key to make the greenhouse profitable or the duration of production in greenhouses should be short. In this context, the use of containers in greenhouse flower production assumes greater significance. The containers are used for the following activities in greenhouse flower production.
- Raising of seedlings in the nursery
- Crops growing in greenhouses for hybrid seed production of flowers
- Growing plants for cut flower production
- Growing potted ornamental plants
Advantages of containers in greenhouse flower production;
- Increase in crop production capacity by reducing crop time.
- High quality of the greenhouse product
- Uniformity in plant growth with good vigor.
- Provide quick take off with no transplanting shock.
- Easy maintenance of sanitation in greenhouse
- Easy to handle, and shift or for transportation.
- Easy to monitor chemical characteristics and plant nutrition with advanced irrigation systems like a drip irrigation system.
Drip Irrigation and Fertigation Systems in Greenhouse Flower Production
The plant is required to take up large amounts of water and nutrients, with a small root system, and manufacture photosynthates for a large amount of flower per unit area with a foliar system small with required production.
The micro-irrigation system is the best for watering plants in a greenhouse system. Micro sprinklers or drip irrigation equipment can be used. The watering system must ensure that water does not fall on the leaves or flowers as it leads to disease and scorching problems. Then, this facilitates watering at the base level of the plants.
Types of equipment required for drip irrigation system include;
i) A pump unit to generate 2.8kg/cm2 pressure
ii) Water filtration system – sand/silica/screen filters
iii) PVC tubing with dripper or emitters
Important Flower Crops Commercially Grown In Greenhouse
These common greenhouse flowers are different varieties of Chrysanthemum, Pelargonium, Impatiens, Fuchsia, Begonia, Carnation, Cineraria, Primula, Streptocarpus, and Kalanchoe.
Some cut flowers that are suitable for the greenhouse system are Rose, Chrysanthemum, Lilium, Gerbera, Tulips, Orchids, Alstroemeria, Carnation, Eustoma, Gypsophila, and Statice, etc.
Rose is the leading cut flower in the international cut flowers trade and is the leading cut flower exported from India. In India, over 90% of greenhouses grow rose as a cut flower. The leading export rose cultivars are Cora, Diplomat, Femma, First Red, Grand gala, Kiss, Konfetti, Lambada, Laser, Nicole, Noblesse, Rodeo, Rossini, Sacha, Samura, Sandy, Sangaria, Susanne, Texas, Tineke, and Vivaldi.
Planting density in greenhouse rose cultivation;
Optimum planting density in the greenhouse is 60 to 70 thousand per hectare. A flower yield of about 250-350 stems/m2 is considered to be ideal.
The Gerbera plants cultivated in greenhouses in India are commercially tissued cultured plant varieties. The commonly grown colors of Gerbera flowers are white, red, pink, yellow, orange, and twin shades.
Some of the commercially available Gerbera varieties are Jaffa, Sangria, Rosula, Romona, Salina, Paradox, Tropic Blend, Topaz, Pink Fantasy, North Star, Ornella, Tecora, and Starlight.
The planting medium must be adequately porous and well-drained. The optimum planting, density recommended for large flowering cultivars is 8 to 10 plants/m2. Two-row or 4-row planting systems are used. Planting can be done round-the-year but preferably during the September-October months. The plants must be left undisturbed for 2 years for flower production (no separation of clumps). Then, treating plants with GA3 (100 ppm) results in early flowering having long stems.
Most modern cultivars of gerbera yield 250 to 300 good quality flowers/m2/year.
These are one of the most temperature-sensitive blooms; orchids need temperature levels between 21 and 26°C and between 10 and 15°C at night to continue their stimulation. Most are grown in greenhouses for this reason, and they also do particularly well in humid conditions. Orchid’s production in a greenhouse allows one to effectively regulate the conditions in which their plants live. Orchids don’t appreciate direct sunlight, so a shade cover can be useful if the greenhouse isn’t in a shaded area.
Most orchids like around 12 to 14 hours of light a day in the summer season, and about 10 to 12 in the winter. If you face the greenhouse in a southern direction, you can be able to get by in the summer fine without giving additional light to your plants. But in the winter season, it’s almost always necessary to put fluorescent bulbs or grow lights above them.
4. Amazon Lilies
These beautiful blooms will add fragrance to greenhouses. Tropical in nature, they grow best in at least 21°C environments. Amazon lilies need at least 8 hours of sunlight, and crop yield the best results when grown in containers.
5. African Violets
For a splash of color, grow African violets in the greenhouse. Available in an array of pinks, purples, and white, these African violet plants thrive in low nutrient soil in a high humidity setting. Avoid getting their plant leaves wet as that can change their appearance.
6. Chenille Plants
The plants need lots of light and can reach heights of more than 6 feet tall, giving greenhouse garden textural interest.
7. Chinese Hibiscus
Nutrient-rich soil, steady temperature levels, and regular watering are required for these flowers to thrive. The Chinese hibiscus’ bursts of colors are orange, yellow, red, pink, white, and more usually last 24 hours before the flowers wilt and die.
Lilies particularly Asiatic and Oriental types are most fascinating, in the international floriculture trade. The simplest method to grow lilies in glasshouses is in containers, but with the advantage of being able to control the atmospheric conditions. In the winter season, the temperature can be kept just above freezing, or, if earlier flowering is required, it can be stepped up to a minimum of about 8°C. Suitable Lily cultivars are Connecticut King, while Star Gazer, Marco Polo, and Casablanca in case of Orientals are highly promising. Light is a very important factor for lily culture in the greenhouse. High light intensity in summer reduces the stem length and so 50% shade nets are recommended to cover the crop. Low light intensity in the winter season leads to flower abortion and abscission. Supplementary lighting during the winter season increases crop yield, stem sturdiness, and quality of flowers. Lily plants require liquid feeding or the use of controlled released fertilizers. Supporting plants with nylon mesh is advisable.
Chrysanthemum is a very popular flower crop of commercial importance in the greenhouse. Paris daisy and marguerite are some varieties of Chrysanthemums that thrive under the controlled conditions provided by a greenhouse.
It is one of the preferred cut flowers and potted plants in the domestic and international market. It stands a tremendous scope. Private entrepreneurs and small entrepreneurs and progressive growers can give impetus to the efforts to develop non-traditional export products to suffice the agricultural sector for earning the much needed foreign exchange. Boost for the commercial production of greenhouse chrysanthemum will replace import quantity with local production. Selection of chrysanthemum varieties depends on the location and objective of the growers like Otome (white and pink), Taiwan Yellow, Bowl of Gold, Notes Taiwan White, Golden Princess Anne, etc.
The commonly cultivated varieties of carnation in the greenhouse are as follows;
Standard carnation – This variety bears longer branches with bigger buds.
Spray carnation – This plant variety bears shorter branches and small flowers. Carnation growing is one of the greenhouses that most light demands because the growth of the flowers depends on sunlight. Normally, the best-suited greenhouse for carnation growing was a saw-tooth greenhouses model.
Plant density of about 20-30 plants/m2 is optimal (1.5 –2.0 lakh/ha). It can be planted around the year in a greenhouse environment. The yearly production of about 300-400 flower/m2 is ideal and economical.
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Financial Support to Start Greenhouse Flower Production in India
Generally, it is very important to know that for setting up greenhouse farming, the initial investments near about Rs 40 lac to 60 lac are to be needed. But the thing is that most of the Indian farmers are unable to spend this large amount. To solve the financial problem on behalf of farmers for greenhouse cultivation, many Indian Banks come forward providing a Horticulture loan. To get this loan, farmers need to contact Banks’ authority. Even you can call a particular Bank Website online, you need to go online and search for the name of the Bank.