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            Plug-plant Production

            in Ornamental Crops

            –	t.n. saha, m.c. singh,         ith  the  fast    growing  floriculture   way	to	raise	numerous	seedlings	is	to	place	seeds
                   ramesh Kumar,             business	and	to	carry	out	a	successful	  in	rows	in	trays,	then	transplant	these	very	fragile
               p.naveen Kumar	and	 Wand	sustained	entrepreneurship,	quality	    plants	 into	 larger	 packs	 or	 pots.	 This	 method	 is
                         sellam p.  planting	 material	 is	 the	 need	 of	 the	 hour.	 The	  very	 labor-intensive	 and	 results	 in	 considerable
                       Directorate of   traditional	way	of	carrying	out	nursery	operation	  mortality	from	transplant	shock	or	root	loss.	Since
                Floricultural Research,  has	 undergone	 a	 sea	 change.	 Tremendous	  1980s,  most  seed  germination  has  been  done  in
                       CPC7I IARI,  advancement	 took	 place	 in	 recent	 times	 to	 raise	  plug trays in developed nations; by 1998, 81% of
                      Pusa Campus,  the seedlings of floricultural crops. With protected   annual	seedlings	were	grown	from	plugs.	A	plug
                         New Delhi
                                    structures,	 nurseries	 can	 be	 raised	 throughout	  is	a	containerized	transplant	with	a	self-enclosed
                                    the	year.	It	has	become	a	viable	option	in	Horti-  root	system.	The	advantages	of	growing	seedlings
                                    business	 in	 several	 parts	 of	 India.	 Technologies	  from	plugs	are	as	under:
                                    are	now	available	to	send	such	plug	plants	across	  v	  Reduces	the	time	a	crop	residues	in	ground
                                    the	globe	in	a	good	condition.              v	  Require	less	time	and	labour	to	transplant
                                       Plug	 plants	 are	 often	 known	 as	 seedlings	  v	  Reduced	root	loss
                                    grown	 in	 trays	 from	 expanded	 polythene	 called	  v	  More	uniform	growth
                                    usually	 with	 a	 good	 substrate.	 They	 are	 termed	  v	  Increase	the	production	and	improve	yield
                                    as	plug	plants	due	to	the	shape	of	the	seedling,	  v	  Plugs	 take	 1/3	 less	 time	 from	 planting	 to
                                    and	its	roots,	when	pulled	out	from	the	punnet,	  selling
                                    they	 resemble	 a	 “plug”.	 Many	 annuals	 are	 sold	  v	  Plugs	 require	 less	 space	 versus	 bare	 root
                                    in	nurseries	as	plugs	and	these	include	bedding	  seedlings
                                    plants	 such	 as	 petunias,	 pansies,	 marigolds	 etc.	  v	  Transplanting	is	faster
                                                                                    Very	easy	to	weed/	less	weed	development
                                    A	 plug	 tray	 consists	 of	 50-800	 cavities,	 2-5	 cm	  v	  Works	 well	 with	 transplanting	 assemble
                                    deep.	Germination	and	early	plant	growth	occurs	  lines
                                    in	 the	 plug	 tray	 until	 they	 are	 “transplantable,”	  v	  Plugs	move	down	on	belt	transplanters	very
                                    approximately	 when	 adjacent	 leaves	 touch.	  efficiently
                                    Gardeners	use	plugs	for	two	reasons;	1)	They	are	  v	  Cuts	 down	 labour	 costs,	 plugs	 adapt	 to
                                    often	 much	 easier	 to	 cultivate	 than	 traditional	  automatic	transplanters
                                    seed	raising,	and	2)	They	give	the	gardener	more	  v	  Automatic	plug	transplanters	are	now	used
                                    control	 over	 their	 planting	 arrangements	 than	  commercially	for	bed	plants
                                    sowing	 seeds.	 However,	 while	 they	 may	 have	  v	  No	empty	cells	or	skips
                                    some  benefits  over  their  seed  counterparts  they   v	  Healthy	plugs	transplant	well	and	continue
                                    do	have	some	drawbacks	as	well.	The	traditional	  to	grow

            10  Floriculture Today  August 2017
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