Erratic and heavy rain drives plant nurseries into losses

Bengaluru Business City Environment

Over-watering caused plants heavy damage

Heavy rainfall in August and September has damaged plants in nurseries across Bengaluru, causing losses to their owners.

G. Shrinivas, owner of Sumanth Nursery and Garden, Jnanabharathi, informed The Observer: “Flowers like ZZ plant, peace lily and sevanthi (chrysanthemum) get destroyed when over-watered. They require a minimum of 5-6 hours of sunlight. The demand for flowers like rose, dahlia, hibiscus and jasmine is higher than that of others. There has been flower-dropping after the rain and I am not able to sell them. The loss suffered by the owners of the nursery affects gardeners as well. I have to pay Kumar, my gardener, Rs 10,000 per month. How will I pay him if I am not able to sell these plants?”.

repotting and polyhouse techniques can save plants at the time of floods

Nursery owners in affected areas like Varthur, Bellandur, and Whitefield say they have seen some of the worst times, resulting in a decrease in their revenues.

Mukesh Kumar Prakash, the owner of Mukesh Kumar Nursery, Varthur, shared: “Seasonal plants like zinnia, petunia and salvia were damaged in the rain. I pay around Rs 1 lakh to buy these plants in wholesale from local farms in Ramohalli. Also, I order plants from the cities of Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh. I did not get anything in return of investment.”

Chandan Gowda, horticulturist and founder of  Sadhvika Plant Studio, said: “The owners of plant nurseries and gardens should plan according to the season…. Polyhouse, a new technology, can protect plants from heavy rain, providing stable temperature… for 8-10 years. The nursery land should be mapped and categorised according to plant types. A proper drain pattern should be followed, (so that) excess water can be diverted to tanks.”

Kauser Ali, owner of Ali Plant Nursery, Bellandur, said “My plants were washed away in the floods. Even indoor plants like money plant and spider plant were destroyed. I suffered a loss of over Rs 40,000.”

Murshid Ahmed, one of the co-owners of Khan Plant nursery, Whitefield, said: “Business is not doing well, all my plants are damaged…. I am worried as I have to pay a rent of Rs 1,000 every month.”

Mohammed Tabriz, a landscape architect and founder of Accupro Landscaping, said: “Repotting — removing plants from existing pots or covers and placing them in other pots — can help. While repotting, make sure that sand is used instead of soil because sand absorbs little… water compared to soil.  Repotting uses vermicompost or cocopeat. Nursery owners should make sure nurseries are not onto the ground but at a raised level.”

Experts suggest that taking these measures can help nursery owners revive their businesses, and prevent future damage.

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