Introduction to Geranium Farming and Cultivation Practices
Are you planning to grow the beautiful Geraniums? then you must read the Geranium Farming Information below.
Geranium is a flowering annual, perennial and biennial plant. The plant is commonly named as Cranesbills. There are more than 422 species of Geranium with same genus. The scientific name of Geranium is Pelargonium. Geranium is also called as Rose Geranium. It is originated from the genus called Geranium. Geranium belongs to Geraniaceae family. The species have originated from the Cape of South Africa.
These plants are widely farmed in Europe, Egypt, China, India, Japan, Central America, Central Africa, Spain, France, Belgium, Congo and Madagascar. In India, they are widely grown in the states of Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu and Karnataka. These Geranium plants are used for oil extraction (flowers, leaves and stems). The aroma of the plant and flowers is similar to the rose flower fragrance.
Characteristics of Geranium:
- It is a perennial plant; shrubby in nature; it reaches a height up to 1 m; it is can be left unpruned.
- The essential parts of the plant are stalks and leaves.
- The leaves are lobbed.
- Flowers are small in size, pinkish – purple in colour.
Cultivars/varieties of Geranium:
- This variety is popularly found in Lucknow.
- They are Bourbon type, equally rich in both citronella and geranial.
- This variety is highly cultivated in Nilgiri.
- The plant is slender.
- Plant blooms with pink colour flower.
- This variety yields 50 – 60% of the oil.
- This variety is popularly found in Bengaluru.
- This variety is found in Lucknow.
- They are cultivated in the plains of North India.
- It is rich in citronellol.
- They are grown widely in Annamalai hills and Nilgiri hills.
- The plant blooms light pink flower and can be cultivated even in wet conditions.
- During summer, oil content is very high.
- The plant contains 6 – 10 leaves on a terminal.
- This variety spreads rapidly and covers the ground.
- These can be divided and shared easily as they spread but are not invasive.
- They are also referred to as Bloody cranesbills, the leaves turn up to be deep blood red.
- The flowers of this variety are magenta pink in colour.
- The flowers are 3 inches in size; height of the plant is 2 feet.
- The flowers of this variety are white in colour and are generally called as Kashmir white.
- This Geranium flower and plants grow vigorously; they are popular all over the world.
- The flowers are pink in colour.
- Plant of this variety is 18 – 24 inches high.
Other Hybrids Varieties of this plant are Geranium oxonianum, Rozanne, Patricia, Double Jewel, Ann Folkard, Johnson’s Blue
Soil and climate requirements for Geranium Farming:
Geranium can be grown in large varieties of soils, but the most preferred soil should be well drained, sandy – loam soil. The pH level of the soil to be maintained for farming Geranium is 5.8 – 8.5. The soil should be rich in organic matter and should also contain little clay content in it, may be around 40% (maximum). On the coastal belt they grow well in sandy soils. They are capable of tolerating the high alkaline content in the soil. To prevent water-logging near the plants good drainage is required otherwise this may cause disease in plants and also damage the roots.
They prefer and grow well in warm climates; a subtropical climate with a long growing season without extreme conditions is also considered good for these plants. The required temperature should range between 10˚C – 33˚C. Annual rainfall that is required for the crop is 700 – 1500 mm. If there is regular rainfall, then there is no requirement for irrigation. In the areas where the rainfall is less, supplementary irrigation should be available.
Land preparation and planting for Geranium Farming:
Land that is selected for planting should be prepared by removing weeds, pebbles, stones, and roots of the previous crop; any other unwanted material should be removed from the main field. To attain fine and smooth texture of the soil, it should be ploughed several times. Ploughing should be followed by levelling and harrowing. In the fields, proper drainage channels should be created. The soil should be completely mixed with manure to make it fertile before the last ploughing
After the harvest of the active growing season, the cuttings can be planted again during the spring season because it is the only time where the moisture in the soil is sufficient for the plants to grow. During the warm and cold climates, plantation should be avoided because the plants are usually dormant in this period.
The planting can be done manually or mechanically. The row space is 40 cm and the width of each row should be 50 cm. In a hectare of land, with these spacing specifications, we can plant 50,000 plants in heavy rainfall area, whereas 60,000 – 87,000 of plants can be planted in an irrigated area.
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Propagation method for Geranium Farming:
The propagation process of Geranium is done through the stem cuttings. The cutting should be taken from the current season. The stem should be 10 – 15 cm long. The stem which is picked should be healthy with well formed leaves and 3 – 4 nodes (the terminal buds). The basal portion of cuttings should be dipped into the 200 ppm of IBA to increase the root efficiency. Initially, the cutting should be planted in a nursery and should be later transplanted into the main area (after 60 days).
Manure and fertilization method in Geranium Farming:
The farmyard manure @ 25 tonnes per hectare should be supplied. The mixture of Nitrogen; Phosphorous; Potassium @ 25: 150: 100 kg per hectare of land should be applied in 5 equal split doses; the remaining nitrogen should be supplied to the plants at an interval of 2 months. In the months of June – July, Boron @ 10 kg per hectare and ZnSO₄ @ 20 kg per hectare should be applied to the land.
Irrigation methods in Geranium Farming:
For irrigating the plants, either drip or flood irrigation can be used. Before harvesting, overhead irrigation should be given with care otherwise it may lead to the loss of oil content.
Intercultural methods in Geranium Farming:
Weeding: Weeding is either done manually or by the use of chemicals. It is highly essential to control the weeds by the application of Generic Glyphosate substance at least for 6 times in a year.
Pruning: The plant should be pruned so that there would be good air flow between the plants.
Mulching: For conserving the moisture in the soil, proper mulch should be selected and applied at the base of the plant.
Earthing up: After the monsoon seasons, the area near the plants should be earthed up to avoid water logging near the plants.
Pest and diseases control measures in Geranium Farming:
The pest and diseases that affect the Geranium crop are:
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|Pests and Diseases||Control Measures|
By spraying the Dithane M – 45 and COC @ 0.5 %.
|Aldkarb 10 @ 20 kg per hectare.|
Kelthane @ 0.3 %.
Harvesting techniques in Geranium Farming:
Harvesting can be done only once in the first year, but in the subsequent years the leafy shoots can be harvested 3 – 4 times in a year. For harvest the tender tips and leaves are picked. When the flowers smell like lemon, they should be harvested. Adequate foliage should be left on the plant after harvesting. After the planting, it blooms back after 120 days and then they are harvested a second time. After the harvest, the crop should be dried for 1 – 2 days in the open air, after which it should be sent for further processing or distillation.
Post harvesting techniques in Geranium Farming:
These should be sorted as per the freshness of the leaves, stems and flowers.
The process of distillation is done through steam at 96˚C – 100˚C for 30 – 60 minutes. It also depends on the oil recovery.
When the oil is extracted it is greenish-olive in colour, with rosy-sweet minty scent. This oil is used in perfume making. This plant blends well with clove, rose, orange, jasmine, citrus oils, juniper, patchouli, and sandalwood.
The oil should be packed with care, as it is an essential volatile oil. Oil should be kept in bottles or air –tight jars with tight caps. If the oil is placed in a dark room, then it may deteriorate.
The oil should be stored in a cool and dry area, until it is used. Once opened, it should be stored in a refrigerator. Its life span is 4 months – 2 years, under proper care.
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The demand for the oil is very high in India, around 25 tons are required, but the production of oil is very less; we produce 3 – 4 tonnes. Oil is imported from other countries. Compared to India the price of the oil is much higher in the international markets.
Yield in Geranium Farming:
Under perfect growing conditions, the average yield of the Geranium flowers is 20 – 25 tonnes per hectare. From this we get 15 – 20 kgs of oil per hectare.
Tips for Geranium Farming:
- It is better to propagate the Geranium plants from cuttings because they root easily.
- If we are growing them indoors, then they need to be re-potted once they are overgrown, usually when we notice them wilting between watering cycles.
- Indoor growing of the Geranium can make the soil dry so they should be irrigated to maintain the soil moisture.
- Fertilization is necessary for the indoor plants.
- For fertilizing, water soluble fertilizers are more preferred and they should contain additional organic matter.
- During the active growing season, the plants should be fertilized every 4 – 6 weeks thoroughly.