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The flower has acquired an unique position in our lives. Floriculture deals with growing or cultivation (large scale) of beautiful flowering plants. It is a branch of horticulture (A science of growing vegetables, fruits and flowers) which deals with flower cultivation on a commercial scale, its marketing and selling. If taken on broad perspective, it includes even flower arrangement. The very common plants grown for their flowers are different varieties of Chrysanthemum, Aster, Dahlia and other Compositae plants, Gladiolii and some flowers of Liliaceae and Amarilladaceae, Orchid varieties, Rose varieties etc. The flowers may be grown in green houses or outdoors. The main aim of floriculturist is to supply the flowers to the market the year round.
This needs the knowledge of some branches of Botany like Physiology (photo-periodism, temperature, hormones etc.), Ecology (nature of soil and other edaphic features), Genetics (to develop disease-resistant varieties, combinations of characters) and knowledge of weeds and weedicides, insects and insecticides etc.
Cut flowers are commercially grown in green houses, shade houses or in open fields. The floriculturist manipulates so that continuous supply to the market is possible (This is called forcing). Essential elements are provided by using soluble fertilisers.
The cut flowers generally wither because of the transpiration being more and absorption almost nil. The minimum transpiration loss can be achieved by keeping the cut flowers at lower temperature, high humidity and still air during the storing period. For longer life of cut flowers (which is very important) the two solutions called 'floral life' and 'bloom life' are used by floriculturists before cutting the flowers. The floral life consists of Hydrazine sulphate, Manganese sulphate and sugar dissolved in water while bloom life consists of Sodium hypochlorite. Ferric oxide and sugar dissolved in water. Sugar is the respiratory substrate and inorganic substances check the growth of fungus and bacteria.
The cut flowers are packed in such container were humidity can be maintained, which are smaller in size and are water and gas proof.
Some winter flowering plants (annuals):
1. Varieties of Snapdragon having various colors (Antirrhinum sp.),
2. Delphinium sp. of various colors,
3. Dianthus sp. etc.
Some summer flowering plants (annuals):
1. Petunia species with different colors,
3. Vinca sps.,
4. Salvia sp.
Some monsoon flowering plants (annuals):
1. Torenia sp.,
2. Gomphrena globosa,
3. Amaranthus sp.
Some selected roses:
1. Hybrid Tea 'Suspense', Hybrid Tea 'Helen Traubel', Miss Ireland.
2. Climber 'Mermaid' etc.
1. Dendrobium phalaenopsis,
2. Cypripedium pubescence,
3. Cymbidium - various colours.
Foliage plants are generally used inside the premises as they are generally shade loving plants. They don't thrive well if they are exposed directly to the sun. They have become the part of the interiors to create pleasing and soft and soothing atmosphere. They are also used as fillers in flower bouquets and in flower arrangements.
The site where foliage plants are grown should be protected from strong sunshine, cold spring winds (which damage young fronds) and drought. Thus they are grown in green houses or plastic houses. Some ferns are Asplenium, Blechnum, Onoclea, Phyllitis, Polypodium staghorn fern (Platycerium) etc.
Some plants for foliage are Begoria varieties like 'Rajah', Masoniana, rex etc., Sansevierta, Paperomia, Calthea, Caladium, Dieffenbachia, Maranta, Chlorophytum, Crotons, Philodendren etc.
The arrangement of flowers for decorating purposes is an art and like all arts differ from person to person. But inspite of differences some basic principles are deserved. They are two main types of arrangement namely Western style and Orient style (Japanese style). The requirements for flower arrangements are (1) different types of containers, wire netting, pin holders, oasis (a new form of water holding, plastic material), glass bulb (used in transparent vases to hold flowers) etc. The arrangement may be 'mass arrangement (profusion of flowers and foliate), 'Line arrangement' (stresses linear outline, or combination of two called 'Line mass'.