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Ornamental Bulb Industry : Roadmap and Programme Conception

Post by on Tuesday, May 17, 2022

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J&K constitutes about 67.5% of North-Western Himalayas and is a repository of rich and rare floral diversity. This provides a fair scope for production of propagules of varied ornamentals and then their marketing. 


The Valley of Kashmir abounds in it’s rich resources of ornamental plants, both native and exotic. The native plants include PrimulesAdonis, Iriser, Colombine, Larkaspur, Linaria and others. J&K has a long tradition of flower growing and it is an age old practice. Undoubtedly, the propagule production continued but the efforts were unorganized and thus need of the hour is to explore the existing potential of Kashmir for it’s bulb production and to enter into a sound business of supplying bulbs of flowers not only to national but to International market as well. 

Kashmir valley is highly suitable for bulb production owing to temperate climatic conditions. Also, there is a huge demand of these bulbs in tropical areas where summer temperatures are high enough which render these areas unsuitable for bulb production. This confers Kashmir a unique place and envisages a vast scope for bulb production on commercial lines. 


Availing monopoly of some bulbous plants

Bulbous flowers like daffodils, tulips, hyacinths, some species of lilies, iris and peonies perform exceedingly well under Kashmir conditions. These are not cultivated in plains outsides the Kashmir. So in absence of any interstate competition,  Kashmir can supply bulbs not only in the state but to national as well as international markets. 


Employment generation

Bulb  production is labor intensive process and require a huge labor force. Therefore, this floriculture sector holds a capacity to generate employment for thousands of youths. 

Minting money

Bulb production can generate revenue worth crores, when done on commercial lines. Money spinned out of this industry will be more than other horticultural and agricultural products. This inturn will make the economy of J&K sound. 


Infrastructure development at its infancy

Development of bulb production industry depend on production of these propagules, which further depend on the infrastructure development. The state lacks the basic infrastructure facilities especially mechanized and other related facilities. Absence of infrastructure support is a major bottleneck, once the floricultural production is to be started. Some hi-tech growers in Kashmir, have these facilities but it is very limited in number.


Lack of awareness among farmers about profitability 

First preference of farmers is to produce agricultural crops, fruits and vegetables. Flower growing with farmers has remained confined only to household garden and parts. However, mass awareness among the farmers about the profitability, of this business and its potential benefits are altogether lacking in J&K. There is a need to spread this awareness among farmers to diversify their activities. Floricultural bulb production is one such option, which will fetch better returns in present day situation.


Unskilled Labour Force: -

Bulb production is a technologically intensive activity. The fewer efforts of bulb production in Kashmir have employed unskilled labour force which result in production of low quality bulbs. For growth of this industry on commercial lines, it is essential to upgrade skills of the work force involved. They should be given technical know-how of bulb production and for this regular training programmes.


Lack of efficient seed programme

Another hindrance, for bulb production industry is lack of efficient programme. What is needed to be done is, identification of best areas of quality bulb production, assessment of domestic and export demand of bulbs, identification of cultivars in high demand and promotion of bulb trade. These areas are to be worked and to device an efficient seed programme that will suit our area.


Lack of financial sources

Lack of financial source to modernize the cultivation facilities is an another problem. Subsides on vital items such as planting material, shade nets, UV stabilized polythene, irrigation and fertilizing system etc will help in promoting the Industry.


Lack of improved system of marketing

J&K lack the improved system of marketing and prices of floricultural commodities are too irrational and are not regularized. We lack the connection with the various markets of the country and non-availability of proper auction centers. Flight charges of Air Cargo are high. Mechanized marketing system will promote this business venture.  


Desirable characteristics of land selected for seed crops include:

 Seed plot should have soil texture and fertility characteristics as required by the crop.

 Plot should be free from volunteer plant and seeds of weeds and other crop plants.

 The soil of the selected plot should be comparatively free from soil borne diseases and pests.

 The same crop or a variety should not have been cultivated during the previous season on the plot selected for seed production.


Production Techniques: The Bulb production consist of following steps:


Propagation techniques

Two principal methods are used for propagation of bulbous group of plants, which are separation and division. 

 Separation: In this method, naturally detachable structures are separated and planted e.g. bulbs and corms and cormels and offsets as in tulip and gladiolus.

 Division: In this method, modified storage structures like corm, tubers, rhizomes etc are cut into sections, each having buds and these pieces are used as individual propagates. Numerous techniques are used for increasing the units of multiplication from a single propagate. 

Techniques for bulb division

1) Cross cutting and scooping.

2) Scoring .

3) Scaling.

4) Twin scaling.

5) Chipping.

Preparation for planting

Bulbs grow best in soils of high fertility and the purpose of the long-term preparation of land for bulbs is to raise the fertility of the soil by generous manuring for previous crop. Where possible a three year ley is a most useful preparation. It is generally agreed that high soil fertility should be maintained and potash requirement is high for bulbs.

Methods of planting

For commercial growers, the bulbs can be hand planted and larger stocks should be plough planted. There are two main methods of plough planting, the most widely used in single – furrow plough turning a furrow of 18 -10 in wide and rathers deeper than the bulbs are to be set. Other method is by means of ridger bodies.

Depth of planting

The depth of planting is an important consideration for high bulb planting and it varies for different crops. For example 5-7.5cm in Iris, 10-10.5cm in Gladiolus and Narcissus, 12.5-15cm in Tulip and lily.

Subsequent cultivation practices

It includes weeding, rouging, nutrition, irrigation and spraying for pest management. These practices are carried out during subsequent growth phases after bulb planting.

De-blossoming or deheading

It is an important practice for bulb production. It involves removal of flower heads especially of stocks. Deheaded stocks yield a greater number of large bulbs with superior forcing quality.

The operation of deheading consist of snapping-off or preferably cutting off with knife, the blooms justs below the flower. When the first indication of colour appears in the flowers, it is probably the best time for deheading but it may be left later, so adequate roughing is done.

Lifting of bulbs

Lifting must begin as soon as the bulbs are ready and should be completed as quickly as possible. Before lifting, any dead foliage or weed cover should be removed. This is done by moving off tops. Bulb lifting can be done manually or by using lifting machines.

Time of bulb lifting is very important and it varies with different bulbous crops, season and the variety used. Normally, the correct time of lifting is determined by foliage. When foliage has died down completely, lifting is started.

After bulb lifting, it is desirable to place them in trays to take straight them into sheds for cleaning, grading and storing.


As bulbs are brought into the shed, it is most important to keep a careful check on the staking of the trays. On small holdings, cleaning may be done by hand but many bulbs can be handled by machines for cleaning.

It is best to clean tulips first when the skins are still tought and before it becomes brittle.


Grading refer to sorting of bulbs into various groups on the basis of their circumference. It is an important procedure and defines the superior and inferior classes of bulbs. The grading standards have been laid for almost every bulbous crop.


Bulbs are stored in ordinary stores or in CAS. Suitable airtight containers such as of plastic or polyethyne bags make a safe storage possibly upto 6 months. Cold storage may be employed for longer storage.

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