Orchid-centric floriculture development in Kerala, India

P.K. Rajeevan, C.K. Geetha, P. Rajendran
With more than 4% share in the world orchid species wealth, India stands a strong hold in orchid research, development and trade. Among the three hot spots of orchids identified in the country, the Western Ghats has the unique advantage of lying at different altitudes in the warm humid tropics, enjoying climates ranging from tropical to warm temperate. The requirement of tropical, subtropical and temperate orchids of commerce match well with this and hence can be considered as an axis for production of cut flowers and foliage. Dendrobium, Cattleya, Oncidium and vandaceous orchids would go well with other cut flowers (heliconias, gingers) and foliages (Aglaonema, Philodendron, Dracaena, ferns) in the lower planes. Further up (about 1000 m a.m.s.l.), Phalaenopsis, Paphiopedilum and Oncidium orchids offer good scope, combined with bird of paradise, gerbera, anthurium (as cut flowers) and Philodendron, Dracaena, ferns, foliage anthuriums (as cut foliage). At the top of the mountain ranges, (altitude more than 1500 m a.m.s.l.), rose, carnation, etc. under cut flowers and silver dollar eucalyptus, ferns, kale, Buxus, etc. under cut greens can go well with Cymbidium and Paphiopedilum orchids. Rich information generated here on orchids, like, crop and venture combinations, fine tuning greenhouse structures, crop regulation, etc., coupled with overall revamping in areas of large scale production, postharvest handling, utilization of skilled labour and marketing of cut flowers and greens would help building up a strong floriculture industry in the region.
Rajeevan, P.K., Geetha, C.K. and Rajendran, P. (2017). Orchid-centric floriculture development in Kerala, India. Acta Hortic. 1165, 15-26
DOI: 10.17660/ActaHortic.2017.1165.3
cut flowers and foliage, orchid hot spots, floriculture industry