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HomekarnatakaOver 100 varieties on display at annual orchid show in Bengaluru

Over 100 varieties on display at annual orchid show in Bengaluru

Bengaluru: About 60 naturally occurring species of orchids and 70 hybrid varieties will be showcased at Orchid Show 2023 this weekend.

At the two-day expo, hobby growers will showcase their personal collections while nursery owners will sell orchids for Rs 300 to Rs 1,500 per piece. Organised by The Orchid Society of Karnataka (TOSKAR), the show will also feature stalls selling planters, potting media, guidebooks, and orchid paintings.

Orchids are prized for their beauty, rarity and longevity. It is among the largest flowering plant families, with 29,900 species recorded around the world.

Free training sessions for gardening enthusiasts are scheduled on both days. Tips to grow different orchids will be shared — the terrestrial variety grows on the ground while the epiphytic kind grows on other plants. “We will teach participants how to pot the plants, where to mount them, how to fight pests, and about water and nutrition needs,” says president Shashidhar Sastry.

This will be the eighth edition of the TOSKAR orchid show and Shashidhar says it is proof of Bengaluru’s growing interest in the plant. “TOSKAR was started by a few botanists around 2005. We had 15 members then. Now, we have 680-plus members — a majority in Karnataka and the rest in Pune, Mumbai and Hyderabad.They include doctors, IT professionals, retired people, home science lecturers, homemakers and college students,” he shares.

Once considered a rich man’s hobby, orchid-growing has gone mainstream after the advent of hybrid varieties. Shashidhar says, “Earlier, it called for setting up a greenhouse and facilities to filter the light and mist the plants. Hybrid varieties are resilient to weather changes and pest attacks. They are low-maintenance.”

Shashidhar got smitten with orchids in the 1980s when he was posted as a forester in Nagaland. “Today, I grow more than 500 orchid species on my terrace in Bengaluru. In 2022, I registered a new variety I bred, Vanda Krishna. It blooms twice a year. It has pale yellow petals with a light purplelipand is slightly fragrant.”

Shashidhar hopes the show will help people discover flowers beyond “roses, carnations and chrysanthemums”.

On October 28-29, 10 am-6 pm, St Joseph’s University, Langford Road. Tickets at the venue. Details

Easy to grow in Bengaluru

Dendrobiums: Produces white, green, yellow or pink to purple blooms, often with contrasting colours on the flower’s lip.

Phalaenopsis: It looks like a moth in flight. It boasts huge velvety blooms on a long arching stem.

Cattleyas: Known as the ‘Queen of orchids’, it gives showy, fragrant flowers with wavy frilly fringes.

(Published 24 October 2023, 20:46 IST)

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