Propagation Methods used in the Nursery
Both sexual and asexual propagation methods are used to multiply plant species at the nursery. Cuttings are mainly used as the vegetative method and layering is also practiced rarely.
Sexual propagation is done using seeds for palm trees such as Foxtail (Wodyetia bifurcate), Kentia (Howea fosteriana) and Ceiling wax (Cyrtostachys renda). The company has a large Foxtail palm stock at the nursery, which were propagated by using imported seeds. However, nowadays foxtail seeds are available in palm trees. The ripen seeds are sown in a special germinating media made of sand and coir dust at the ratio of 3:1. The germinated seeds are transferred to plastic or cement pots filled with a mixture. This potting mixture of top soil, cow dung coir dust and sand at the ratio of 2:2:1:1.
Vegetative propagation is the widely used method to multiply most of ornamental plants. Such as Polyscias fruticosa ‘aurea’, Ixora, Durantha repens, Hibiscus in the nursery. Currently media of sand and coir dust filled big plastic containers are used. It facilitates propagators to rooting and easy management. Then the rooted cuttings are transferred into small polythene pots and keep under net houses.
In Polyscias fruticosa ‘aurea’, softwood cuttings are taken from stock mother plants and make a slanted cut to provide more surface for rooting. Then a rooting hormone should be applied to the cut to stimulate rooting and place them in holes which made by finger or a stick. As the next step, a fungicide should be applied to the whole propagator. Finally cover the container using polythene. The polythene can be removed after two weeks and rooted cuttings are transferred into polythene pots after 21 days.
Vegetative Propagation Continued…..
Alteranthera dentana does not need hormone application as they have a rapid root development. Four soft wood cuttings are planted directly in each pot to obtain a round shaped plant as follow.
Suckers are used for the propagation of Rhoco, Aglounema, Chlorophytum ocean (Ribbon planı), Anthurium, Pandanus like species as the planting material. When planting suckers like Pandanus and Ribbon plant, Ieaves should be cut off leaving 2-3 inch length to conserve resources.
Layering is a method of vegetative propagation, in which roots are induced on the branches or vines while they are still attached to the mother plant. There are many layering techniques. Most widely used method is air layering and it can be done for species like Ficus benjamina, Syzygium campanulatum.
First, remove one inch wide ring bark around the pencil thick stem.
Then the rooting hormone should be applied on the bark-removed surface.
Put wet coir dust and wrapped with polythene and thread it tightly.
After 21 days rooted stems can be separated and plant on pots.
Potting Mixture Preparation and Pot Filling
General potting mixture is prepared using top soil, cow dung, sand, and coir dust at the ratio of 2:2:1:1. Place tile pieces on each drainage hole and fill with potting mixture up to 3/4 of the pot when filling pots. Then make a hole which enough to place the plant and put some small amount of mixture on to the base of the plant after planting.
When a plant grows from one stage to another it requires more space and nutrients. Therefore, it should be transferred from one pot to another in several times in its life span to ensure the continuous growth.
Gently tap to the pot while keeping the other hand to the base of the plant and take out. Remove excess soil colloids at the root ball. Then cut excess room and weak branches before planting in new pots with new media.
Fertilizer application in Plant propagation
Fertilizer application is one of the most important management practices used to ensure the quality of ornamental plants. It will also affect the general health of the plant. Healthy plants can compete and tolerate to pests like weeds, diseases and insects.
We use both organic and inorganic fertilizers to ensure the growth and quality of plants at nursery. ‘Baurs 14‘ is applied for all flowering and foliage plants while ‘Baurs 18‘ is applied for all palm trees at two weeks intervals. ‘Albert’s solution’, ‘3 in one’ like foliage fertilizers are sprayed once per week.
Pest and Disease Management
Pest and Disease Management is critical and essential practice in nursery management. Syzygium campanulatum and Cycas tender leaves are more vulnerable to caterpillar attacks. Therefore, insecticides are used weekly to control it. Agloanema, Polyscias fruticosa ‘aurea’ like ornamental plants are more susceptible to fungal diseases and apply suitable fungicides to control them.
Most of the ornamental plants, palm trees and other shrubs are established on pots. Therefore, they need more water than soil established plants. Generally, water application is done one time per day with two inch rubber hose pipe. Applied two time per day in dry periods.