By Razia Parveen, Stawa 12-19
Ladakhis have been growing ornamental plants for aesthetic reasons for several generations. Plants like Geranium, Cosmos, Sunflower, Dahlia, Calendula, Marigold, Hollyhock, Aster and Chrysanthemum were very common. Over the last few years, there has been a craze amongst Ladakhis, especially hoteliers, for exotic ornamental plants. Today, a great variety of exotic plants are grown in Leh for ornamental purpose. The common ornamental plants grown in Leh include:
This includes hybrid Petunia, Marigold, Snapdragon, Godetia, Zinnia, Dimorphotheca, Calendula, Phlox, Sweet Alyssum, Delphinium, Pansy, Portulaca, Sunflower, Dianthus, Aster, Cosmos, Pink Malva etc.
This includes herbs such as Allium, Arum Lily, Chrysanthemum, Geranium, Begonia, Bergenia, Primula and shrubs like Roses, Snowball, Nerium, China rose, Queen rose, Azalea, Fuchsia, Ivy, Hydrangea, Peonies etc.
This includes various types of common plants like Sedum, Kalanchoe, Aeonium, Opuntia, Aptenia, Aloe Vera, Plush plant, Euphorbia and others.
This includes Gladiolus, Lilium, lily, Iris, Dahlia, Canna, Daffodil, Tulip, etc.
This includes Salix, Black Locust, Lilac, Juniper etc.
There is a lot of scope to invest in an ornamental nursery to produce and market various plants, including herbs, shrubs, trees, xerophytes in the form of seed, cuttings of roots, stems, leaves and vegetative propagules like bulbs, corms, tubers, rhizomes, saplings, seedlings etc.
All one needs is to open a nursery along with landscaping service. One will need a small piece of land whose soil will need to be tested to ensure that it is productive. It will also require irrigation facilities. One will also have to invest in skilled, semi-skilled and unskilled labour to perform technical and untechnical activities. Transport facilities are important to facilitate easy availability of raw materials and nursery products for sale.
A nursery operator must have basic knowledge about plants that thrive in this part of the world. He or she must also be aware of the different phases and life-cycles of plants. Similarly, he or she must also know the appropriate use of gardening equipment and machinery. Plant nurseries are highly profitable and do not require large tracts of land, big investments, and research knowledge. It can easily be adopted by small and marginal farmers as an additional source of income. This business is seasonal and requires minimal maintenance.
Nurseries can also have the provision of renting out flower pots along with the sale of plants. The renting of pots is a new concept. While this is not so popular in Ladakh yet, this may change soon as people can get potted plants of their choice on rent to decorate the venue for special events.
We have very few ornamental nurseries in Leh and they are not able to meet the current demand for these plants. As a result, we see numerous fully-loaded trucks from Kashmir in the spring season selling various varieties of ornamental plants. These trucks earn a healthy profit for their efforts. If some of our youth explore ways to sell and support the Ladakhi fascination with ornamental plants, they will definitely receive good financial returns, generate employment and experience a sense of satisfaction. These days, the Department of Agriculture and Horticulture is conducting training programmes in floriculture to boost the technical knowledge and skills of youth and farmers. They also provide technical assistance to develop a nursery. Also, the department provides subsidy on various plant materials, equipment, manure and other items required for the development of a nursery.
Ornamental plant nursery is thus a unique business opportunity that mixes an interest in nature with a cultural aesthetic of using such plants for decoration and in gardens. Ladakhi youth must explore this opportunity as it can be started with little investment and faces a very low risk factor.
Ornamental flowers in Ladakh: Dahlia
Ornamental flowers in Ladakh: Aster
Ornamental flowers in Ladakh: Geranium
Ornamental flowers in Ladakh: Sunflower
Ornamental flowers in Ladakh: Calendula
Ornamental flowers in Ladakh: Marigold
Ornamental flowers in Ladakh: Hollyhock
Ornamental flowers in Ladakh: Chrysanthemum