Introduction: Hello polyhouse farmers, today we are into Lilium Farming in Polyhouse (Lily Flowers) for maximum profits. Let us learn how to grow Lilies from seed or cuttings along with plant care and harvesting in polyhouse conditions. Lilium or Lily is one of the most important flowering plants that belongs to the Liliaceae family, commercially grown in India for cut flowers.
Lily has a beautiful and large flower that can be white, yellow, orange, red, purple or pink. Lily flower can be covered with different types of freckles. Each color of the Lily flower has a certain meaning. For example, white lily symbolizes purity, daylily coquetry, while tiger lily symbolizes majesty and wealth.
Lilium farming in polyhouse
Lily flower can reproduce from the seed, bulbs and tissue cultures. Only white and tiger lilies are known by their beautiful smell and other species of lily are odorless.
Different varieties of Lilies:
Some of the important varieties of Lily flowers are Alaska, Beatrix, Connecticut King, Cordelia, Elite, Paris, Menton, Massa, Mona Lisa, Orange Mountain, Yellow Giant, Casa Blanca, Tiber.
Asiatic hybrids are Dreamland (yellow), Brunello (orange), Novona (white), Pollyanna (yellow), Yellow Giant (yellow), Vivaldi (pink), Black Out (Deep red)
Oriental hybrids are Star Gazer (Pink & white), Nerostar, Siberia, Acapulco (cyclamen pink) and Casablanca
Eastern lily varieties are Elegant Lady, Ace, Snow Queen, White, American, Croft, and Harbor.
Requirements for Lilium farming in polyhouse
Polyhouse is a way of protected cultivation in agriculture. The polyethylene plastic is used to cover the structure. It enables to cultivate high-value crops (horticulture) in the structure. These structures are preferably suited for small farmers and unemployed youth from rural areas. Any type of land can be used for the erection of polyhouse structures.
Precise irrigation and fertilization are probable in polyhouse. Export-oriented production is most possible under these polyhouse structures.
In polyhouse, plants can be grown as per the requirement, irrespective of the weather conditions, because it is a closed structure. The covering of polyvinyl sheets protects seedlings from insect and pest attack to a great extent, ensuring the production of healthy seedlings. Plants grow faster inside the polyhouse structure because the temperature remains a little higher inside the polyhouse, even when it is cooler outside.
In polyhosues, you can generate pesticide-free produce or even organic produce that fetch a higher price due to their high nutrition value, better taste, and freshness.
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Producing Lilies as cut flowers require the proper kind of polyhouse; it has to be able to provide a stable polyhouse climate under highly fluctuating conditions. Temperature, air circulation, ventilation and light are factors that have to be controlled very accurately in polyhouse.
A polyhouse also offers better means of ventilation because it can be opened on the sides. This will improve the quality of the product, brighter colors and heavier stems.
Lily farming environment in polyhouse
Lilies are cultivated in polyhouse or shade net houses. The maximum day and night temperature range for obtaining good yield is 21 to 25°C and 12 to 15°C, respectively. Lilies farmed well under a low light intensity of 2000 to the 3000-foot candle. The optimum humidity inside the polyhouse must be 80-85 %.
The standard type of polyhouse is required for the growth of Lilium which needs conditions like temperature, air circulation, ventilation, and light. These factors have to be controlled accurately. Standard height of 4 to 4.5 meter is customary this will give sufficient room for installing the irrigation and lighting system. Plenty of light is required for the proper Lily cultivation.
Lily propagation in polyhouse
Lily flowers can be multiplied through seeds, scales, bulblets, and bulbils. Tissue culture process is used for large scale multiplication. Lilies are generally multiplied by the division of bulblets formed on the stem of most lilies just below the ground level. Detachment and planting of bulblets separately help to reproduce flowering size bulbs after a year’s plant growth.
Soil and climate requirement for Lilium farming in polyhouse:
In polyhouse, soil with good texture and proper drainage is preferred for Lilium farming. The soil must be light and porous but rich in organic matter.
Lilies are sensitive to the high concentration of salt which adversely affects the Lily plant growth. The soil used for cultivation of lilies in polyhouse has to be in good structure particularly the top layers and should be kept well-drained during the entire growing period. Maintaining the correct pH level of the soil plays a major role in the root development and uptake of nutrients. It is advisable to maintain a pH of 6 to 7 for the Asiatic and longiflorum hybrid groups and a pH level of 5.5 to 6.5 for the oriental hybrids.
For good plant growth and quality flower production, the night temperature must be around 10-15°C and the day temperature must be 20-25°C. Higher temperature will generate a dwarf crop with less number of flower buds per stem. In summer months, due to high light intensity, the Lily plants become stunted in growth. A shading screen with 50 to 75% shade will be beneficial.
Irrigation for Lilium farming in polyhouse
The amount of water in Lilium farming depends on the type of soil, moisture content, and variety. Irrigation is one of the main important factors that promote growth in the cultivation of Lilies. Soil is watered before planting the bulbs and after planting the bulbs water is given liberally so that the soil properly adheres to the bulbs and roots. Since the stem roots increase in the topsoil, this top (30cm) soil must be kept continuously moist. However, there must not be any water stagnation.
Fertigation of Lily in polyhouse
Fertigation in polyhouse is the application of fertilizers, soil amendments, or other water-soluble products through an irrigation system. It is advisable to apply 12:61:00 @ 2kg/100m2 at least one week before plantation stage. Three weeks after plantation process Calcium Nitrate @ 1kg/100m2. Six week after plantation Potassium Nitrate @ 1kg/100m2. If Lily plants are not strong enough during the growing period due to nitrogen deficiency then a top dressing of Ammonium Nitrate @ 1 kg/ 100 m2 can be applied up to three weeks before harvesting.
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General care of Lily plants in polyhouse
- Polyhouse farming should be designed in such a way that smart farmers can produce high-value crops out of season when prices of farm produce are at their highest. This is the way you can get higher incomes and a higher return on the high initial investment. Since you can control light, ambient temperature, humidity, and water for irrigation, you can generate all the crops that fetch a high price in local and regional markets.
- Lilium flowers require well-drained soil with lots of organic matter, which enriches the soil with nutrients and keeps it moist.
- In cool climates, full sun is best, but Lily flowers can tolerate partial shade in warm places. In addition to regular watering for Lily plants, they appreciate slow-release fertilizers that are rich with phosphorus, the ingredient that encourages the growth of flowers and roots. For instance, a fertilizer with a 5-10-10 ratio of nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium is healthy for Lily farming.
- Lilies do not need daily watering, but when watering, be sure to water deep enough to reach the bulb.
- Feed the Lily plants with a balanced fertilizer every few weeks during the growing season. Avoid high-nitrogen fertilizers for Lily plants.
- Eliminate seedpods when they appear. Also, remove stems and foliage when leaves become yellow color. The mulch must be removed in late fall.
- Maintain Lilies blooming by removing blossoms as they fade. This prevents the Lily plant from expending its energy in producing seed.
Pests and diseases of Lily plants
Aphids – Apply Imidacloprid 17.8% SL@1ml/l or Dimethoate 30 EC @ 2 ml/l.
Mites – Spray Wettable Sulphur@ 1.5g/l or Abamectin@0.4 ml/l or Propargite@2ml/l.
Thrips – Spray Methyl demeton 25SEC@2ML/OR Dimethoate 30EC @ 2ml/l.
Grey mould – Spray Zineb@ 2g/l.
Bulb and Scale Rot – Soil drenching with Carbendazim @ 1g/l or Difenoconazole @ 0.5ml/l.
Botrytis Blight – Dark brown spots on leaves, spraying of carbendazim @ 2g/lit of water effectively control the disease.
Lily flowers are ready for harvesting between 90- 120 days after planting. As soon as the first bud shows distinct coloration, the Lilies must be harvested. If this is done at a premature stage, the buds will not expand properly. Cutting too late that is when the bulbs have opened fully will cause damage to the flowers during transit. Cut stems must be placed in cold water immediately after harvesting.
Stems are normally harvested when first bud or less than 5 buds is just opening and showing color. Spikes are cut about 15 to 20 cm above the ground. The remaining lower portion of the Lily plant is allowed for the development of the bulbs. Lilies must be harvested in the morning to limit desiccation.
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