How to Grow Anthuriums and Earn Money

How to Grow Anthuriums and Earn Money

How to Grow Anthuriums and Earn Money

Introduction

in this article, I’m going to show you How to Grow Anthuriums and Earn Money. Anthuriums have a special place in the cut flower trade, second only to orchids among tropical flowers. The genus belongs to the family Araceae. Its world trade and popularity have greatly increased during the last few years. The availability of Anthuriums in a wide range of colours, the long shelf life of flowers and simple growing techniques have been some of the factors contributing to this popularity of anthuriums as tropical flowers as well as potted plants. Today, though originally native to the tropical zones of Central and South America, large scale commercial cultivations are found in most parts of the world including Asia and Europe. Although Anthuriums grows as an epiphytic in nature on forest litter, commercial cultivation requires more efficient cropping systems.

In addition to Anthurium andraeanum which is grown for the harvest of cut flowers, as well as potted ornamental plants, Anthurium andraeanum is cultivated as a potted plant and various other Anthuriums species.

Cultivation

Climatic Conditions

Light : 70% – 80% shade

Temperature: 25 – 32°C not less than 15°C (Night)

Growing System and Media

When Anthuriums were first introduced for commercial cultivation, consisted of leaf mould, cattle manure and sand mixed at a ratio of 4:2:1 However, obtaining leaf mould in large amounts is a limiting factor, especially when establishing large scale plantations. Thus alternative growing media recommendations were also introduced such as Coconut husk pieces only or coconut pieces and tile pieces mixed at a ratio of 1:1, burnt paddy husk and coir dust at a ratio of 1:1:1 coconut husk pieces, cattle manure and river sand mixed in a 1:1:1 ratio as well as coir dust+ cattle manure+ river sand mixed in a ratio of 1:1:1.

Anthuriums may be cultivated in the following methods

  1. Pot culture
  2. Bed culture
  3. Gutter system

Pot cultivation is recommended only for home gardens the bed and gutter systems are recommended for commercial cultivation. Initially raised beds 6 – 8 in height were constructed and filled with growing medium of leaf mould, cattle manure and sand mixture at a ratio 4:2:1 plants were then placed at a distance of 1.5× 1.5 feet in a triangular method. Shallow planting with the staking of each plant is recommended for aeration of the rooting system.

However, the above system has been replaced with a new bed system to mitigate the spread of bacterial blight and introduced more efficient use of bed space. Closer planting 1× 1 feet is now recommended with pruning of leaves, allowing each plant to have 4 leaves at a given time.

Bed System – Raised Beds

Raised beds may be constructed with any material convenient and easily available to the grower, cement blocks, tiles or bricks may be used. Beds need to be 25 – 30 cm height and 120cm wide and “U” shaped with a slope of 5cm at the bottom of the bed for easy drainage. A layer of black polythene is first laid at the b bottom of the bed in a manner in which the bottom side of the bed is fully covered. Subsequently, a 50mm diameter PVC pipe is laid along the length of the bed to facilitate easy drainage. The PVC pipe needs to be perforated on the top part for drainage of excess water through the holes into the tube and subsequently be drained out of the bed. The bed overlaid with polythene and drainage pipes is then filled with a media of coconut husk and tile pieces mixed in a ratio of 1:1 to a height of 20cm

How to Grow Anthuriums and Earn Money

Gutter System

“V” or “U” shaped structures made of rigid foam or any other material may be used for this system. Gutters should either be 30 or 60 cm in width and 30cm height. Gutters are overlaid with back polythene as in the case of beds and subsequently fitted with a PVC drainage pipe (25 mm diameter) at the bottom to facilitate the easy draining of water. The gutter system is more advantageous than beds since less substrate is needed for cultivation. Shallow planting 1feet spacing is recommended.

Irrigation

  1. Water once thoroughly, preferably in the morning.
  2. To maintain high levels of humidity around the plants beds, media and surrounding area may be dumped
  3. However, plants should be allowed to dry out especially during the late evening or night; since too much of moisture may be conducive to the growth of fungi and other microorganisms
  4. Water stagnating near roots and between leaves should be avoided
  5. The root system of Anthuriums does enjoy good ventilation and produces healthy growth when air circulation is freely found
  6. A drip irrigation system is preferred due to less risk involved in the spread of water born diseases

Nutrition

When Anthuriums are grown on inert media such as tile pieces, Coconut husk chips etc, they would need regular application of artificial fertilizers to growth and development of plants. Fertilizers are sprayed as a foliar application or are included in the water while watering plants (fertigation). In all cases, fertilizers that easily dissolve in water in water are used. Inorganic fertilizer mixtures with N (Nitrogen), P (Phosphorus) and K (Potassium) are applied to plants in combination with organic fertilizers mixtures containing other elements such as Ca, Mg, Fe etc.

The N:P:K ratios in the fertilizer applied is varied according to the developmental stage of the plant. For small plant a ratio of 30:10:10 may be added, for intermediate size plants, a ratio of 20:20:20 or 20:30:20 may be added while for adult flowering plants a ratio of 13:27:27 may be applied.

Frequent application of fertilizer low concentration is the best method of feeding Anthuriums, rather than strong applications far apart. At least three applications per week would be ideal when water soluable liquid fertilizer applications are done, this should include an N:P:K mixture twice a week and a micro nutrient fertilizer mixture once a week. further  more the Anthuriums flower stalk needs the elements Ca and Mg (Calcium and Magnesium). However when pellets are used fertilizer once a week slow release  fertilizer pellets are also ideal for optimum growth and flowering of Anthuriums. These may be added once in 2-3 months and supplemented with liquid fertilizer applications once a week. The latter is more labor saving and easier for maintenance.

Propagation

Stem suckers

How to Grow Anthuriums and Earn Money

Propagation may be vegetatively done through division of suckers or Rhizomes. However, this is a rather slow process and only about 3-4 plants may be obtained per year from a single plant. Plants may also be propagated through rhizome/stem cuttings. The top cutting with 2-3 roots is initially removed and planted separately. Then all roots are cut and removed from the remaining stem/rhizome which is segmented into 2-3 inch length pieces. Each piece is then placed horizontally in a flat tray or pot filled with sand and compost at a ratio of 1:1 New shoots are formed in 3-4 weeks which can be separated and planted in pots or beds However number of plants obtained in this method is also low.

Seeds

Propagation through seeds is also possible. Seeds may be formed through cross-pollination that can be done artificially or may take place naturally as well. Seeds take around 6 months to mature and germinate. Seedlings require another 1.5-2 years to flower. hybrids produced through seed germination may resemble parents yet would not be exactly similar to parents. Cross-pollination is carried out by breeders to produce new hybrids.

Micropropagation

In vitro propagation is the most suitable method to produce large numbers of true to type plants for establishing commercial cultivations for the production of cut flowers and potted plants. Young leaf tissue and meristems can be used as explants for the micropropagation of anthuriums. however young leaf tissue with part of the midrib or petiole segments are most convenient and economical for the establishment of tissue cultures leading to the production of large quantities of true to type plants.

Pests and Diseases

Diseases of Anthuriums

Only the most common diseases and their control are discussed here.

Bacterial Blight in Anthuriums

This is most common and economically important diseases in Anthuriums and is reported from all parts of the country where anthuriums are grown; it is caused by the bacteria Xanthomonas campestris pv.“dieffenbachiae

Symptoms

This disease has an incubation period of 1-2 months,  after being infected with the causal organism and usually symptoms are shown when the disease has fully spread within the plant. Symptoms are the last stages of infection and plants cannot be treated after symptoms are seen. Symptoms include yellowing of leaf margins, yellow patches which spread and turn brown until the whole leaf falls, watery lesions on the leaf tips and edges, brown spots with yellow haloes on the leaf laminar and watery ooze from the cut ends of stems.

Diseases transmission

  1. Primarily spread by water-such as planting from overhead irrigation
  2. Planting infected materials using contaminated cutting tools.
  3. Contacting infected plants before handling healthy ones
  4. Contaminated soil or growing media

Control measures

  1. Sanitary at nursery level – all infected/diseased planting material has to be burnt and destroyed.
  2. Use of clean planting material, all new plants purchased should be quarantined for a month. If symptoms are not seen they can be planted in the nursery.
  3. Infected fields may be kept follow for a short period as recommended by the University of Hawaii of sterilization by rays of the sun
  4. Overhead watering contributes to the easy spread of diseases throughout the nursery. Hence it is recommended that individual plants be watered.
  5. Introducing drip irrigation systems would be helpful if possible.
  6. Disease occurrence is high after rains, thus it is recommended that small plants be not allowed to get wet in the rain. An overhead sheet or at least polythene cover over the plants is essential.
  7. Raised beds should be constructed with proper drainage, since water stagnation is conducive to disease spread
  8. Media free of soil should be used in all cases; coconut husk chips, tile pieces or a combination of both may be used between media and surface soil.
  9. Shading should also be provided at 70-80% and structures fitted 11-12 above ground level, since too much of dark and humid/wet conditions are conducive to the development of the disease.
  10. Maintaining sanitary of all workers and cutting tools is essential – disinfecting hands and tools often before, after and while at work.

Dumping off

The disease is usually observed at the seedings stage. It is caused due to overwatering and rotting of roots. Subsequently, the whole plant may wilt and die. Shoot tips may also be affected due to high humid and damp conditions once again leading to the destruction of the whole plant.

Damping-off can be controlled by improving drainage and application of fungicides such as Thiram 80% WP, Mancozeb 80% WP or Captan 50%/80% WP.

Pests

Only a few of the most common pests found to affect Anthuriums

Mites

They are small white or red sucking insects seen on the underside of leaves. They cause deterioration in plant growth by sucking of leaf sap. Hot and dry conditions favour the spread of the pest throughout the nursery within a short time.

Control of mites involves making sure the environment of the nursery has to be kept moist at all times and application of 60-80% Sulphur of Abemectin 18 g/l EC, or Neem seed water extract.

Slugs and Snails

Cause extensive damage to new leaves and shoots, in some cases damaging entire leaves.

Physically removing slugs and snails whenever possible, as well as the use of a bait containing Metaldehyde 6.5% RB (mix with sufficient water and some flour and make into balls and place several places in the nursery) or Beer traps, help in their control.

Thrips

They feed on foliage, stems, and flowers. Affected foliage may appear to be ragged, scarred, and deformed. Small pin dot-like markings may be seen on the underside of leaves and yellowing of the upper surface of the leaves may be observed at these spots due to the cell sap being sucked by these insects. Usually new or younger leaves and flower buds are affected first. This injury to plant tissue, leaves brownish streaks on light coloured flower petals. Since thrips prefer feeding is unopened buds and unfurled leaves and pupae in the medium of soil beneath the host plant, they are concealed throughout most of their life cycle and may be difficult to detect.

Control would include weeding and clearing grass and old stock plants that may serve as hosts to anthurium thrips. Spraying plants with a suitable insecticide.  According to labelled instruction would also help control the pest.

Although a host of other pest and disease problems not discussed here may arise, good cultural practices with sanitation and optimum climatic conditions would help prevent them.

Harvest, Post – Harvest and Packaging

Anthurium flowers are generally harvested early in the morning or late in the evening. Flowers may be harvested with disinfected sharp cutters. The flowers are cut leaving 2cm from the bottom of the flower stalk and kept in the bucket containing pure water. Only matured flowers should be harvested. Maturation sign may be followed by observing the colour change of spadix up to 50 to 60% and hardness of stem. Generally flowers mature with 8-12 days of the unfurling of the spathe.

Flowers are then covered by polythene bags; a bunch of flowers is made and the basal stems are covered with moist cotton. However to mitigate damage to flowers they are also packed individually. Wet cotton wool is fixed to the cut end of each flower stalk and tissue paper, polythene or cellophane is placed between the spadix and the spathe to avoid damage. The cotton is then covered with a small piece of polythene or cellophane and tried with a rubber band. Plastic vials filled with water can also be attached to the cut end of the flower stalk.

Flowers are arranged in layers in the box and when doing so, the flowers are planted in one direction in one layer and in the opposite direction in the next layer. Flowers are packed in corrugated fibreboard boxes lined with polythene and newspapers, moist paper shredding and foam inserts around the flowers for cushioning of blooms and avoid damage.

Cool room conditions are 15 – 18°C and RH 90% pre-cooling as well as storing prior to transport.

check out my other article:How to Grow and Care for Alstroemeria Flowers

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