By Our Staff Reporter
GUWAHATI, Aug 2: Not just humans, orchids too seem to have an ear for music. In fact, orchids at the ICL Flora Exotica are growing and blossoming to the melodious songs of Lata Mangeshkar, Jagjit Singh, Ghulam Ali, Pankaj Udhas and other great artistes.
Orchids at the orchidarium are being treated to "music therapy" as the owners believe that the vibrations of music help in the growth of orchid buds.
The orchidarium is dotted with sound boxes attached to a hi-fi music system of 1,000 watts. Every morning from 6 am to 9 am and evening from 3 pm to 5 pm, the sound system plays devotiol songs, ghazals, religious chants and even instrumental music to the orchids.
"The vibrations of the music help in growth of the buds of orchid plants. The plants need a balanced temperature of 25-30 degree Celsius, and to balance the temperature in summer, we use green-coloured net around the orchidariums," said DN Singh, the mager of the orchidariums.
The two orchidariums of ICL Flora Exotica (IFE) boasts of seven different types like Dendrobium, Mocara, Aranda, Vanda, Ascocanda, Aranthera and Onsidium which are locally called 'Dancing lady'.
"There is a great demand for orchids in the intertiol market. We pack the orchids in specially designed boxes and send them to Kolkata, New Delhi, Mumbai, Bangalore and other cities of the country where the orchids have a good demand. Demand for the 'dancing queen' variety is growing by the day because these orchids remain fresh for more than 20 days, unlike other flowers. Representatives from the USA, Japan, UAE and New Zealand have also visited the orchidariums and shown interest in importing orchids," said Singh.
As orchids do not need soil to grow, the planters at the orchidarium use high burnt bricks, charcoal and sufficient water as per requirement.
ICL Flora Exotica is the first orchidariums in the North-East, which was established in 1994 for cultivation and propagation of the finest and most suitable varieties of orchid plants brought from Singapore, Malaysia and Bangkok. Initially, as many as 1, 50,000 orchid plants were planted, but now only 35,000 plants remain as the area of the orchidarium has been reduced.
The market value of a mature flowering plant ranges from Rs 1,000 to 1,500 in local markets, while the rate of flower per stem is from Rs 10 to Rs 25. "We earn Rs 22-25 lakh by selling orchids every year," DN Singh, who along with his employees were trained in Singapore in orchid-care, said.
There are around 25,000 species of orchids found in the world, most of which are found in Southeast Asian countries. Climatic conditions in Assam and the Northeast is suitable for growing various types of orchids.
However, despite its availability, there is no orchid market in the State till now.