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Marigold glitters in winter race

Bhubaneswar, Dec. 16: Winter blossoms have not only brightened up the grey skies and gloomy weather, but also have pushed up the sales of nursery owners in the city.

Residents are rushing to the government-run nursery at Unit-II area, as well as 26 other private ones in different parts of the city, to pick the season’s best and add a colourful touch to their gardens. The demand for different varieties of marigold, dahlia and chrysanthemum (sebati) saplings are huge.

The sale of seasonal saplings began in the last week of September and has reached a crescendo at this moment. “As of now, we have sold more than 2 lakh plant saplings. The dwarf varieties of cosmia have become popular this year. We expect that the sales will continue till the last week of December,” said Pradosh Kumar Panda, superintendent of Capital Nursery.

Most nursery owners feel that though there is a growing demand for various flower saplings during winter, people generally chose the common varieties of marigold.

“Our old customers still prefer marigold, but the younger people or those who have settled in the city recently mostly ask for a wide array of flowering plant varieties including ornamental ones,” said president of all Odisha Nurseryman Landscaping Association, Sk. Nurul Amin. The hybrid Inca marigold saplings are also selling like hot cakes.

Other flowers such as dahlia, zinnia, chrysanthemum, aster, petunia, pansy and gerbera are also very popular during this season.

“Most people prefer to buy flower buds and young saplings, but fail to nurture it properly. So they keep coming back to us to buy more plants,” said Umakant Nanda, who has been working at a private nursery in the city for the past 12 years.

Some nursery owners in the city procure saplings from Calcutta and Hyderabad to meet the demand. The saplings are being sold both as individual plants and in clay pots. A single potted ornamental plant is being rented out for a single day at prices ranging from Rs 50 to Rs 200, depending on the variety.

The nursery business in Bhubaneswar is estimated to be worth nearly Rs 1 crore. While the price of a common open pollinated flowering saplings varies from Re 1 to Rs 10, the price of a potted sapling is somewhere between Rs 50 and Rs 200. Similarly, some hybrid varieties of ardenium may cost as much as Rs 250.

People are loosening their purse strings to brighten up their homes with vivid hues of flowers.

“They not only bring freshness to the home, but also to cheer you up. So what if it comes at a price,” said Sandhya Mishra, a schoolteacher.

Ramakant Parida, retired botany reader of Ravenshaw University, advised that people should buysaplings from reputed nurseries. “Roadside vendors often sell common varieties of plants in the name of hybrid saplings so one has to be careful,” he said.

“While planting the bud in a flower pot, one must add equal quantities of soil and compost. Besides watering it at the right time, one must ensure that the plant receives adequate sunlight,” Parida added.