Hibiscus plant Farm in india

Cultivating Hibiscus for commercial purposes is not well known but there are a few farmers who have indulged themselves in cultivating Hibiscus for its flowers and leaves. Success stories of a few farmers have encouraged more people to cultivate Shoe Flower or Hibiscus plants lately. Though hibiscus can be grown almost anywhere in India, except where temperatures touch below 6 degrees, it is not widely cultivated as it lacks wide use and has lesser demand.

Unlike other flowering plants, the hibiscus is not used for its beauty. Though the flowers look beautiful and come in different sizes and colors, the ones cultivated are the red hibiscus with medium to large flowers. These flowers are not very fragrant but have medicinal value. They are used in cosmetics and tea. They add color to food too but use as food color is limited to none. 

  • Propagation of Hibiscus from Stem : Propagation of hibiscus is done through stem cuttings. The stem which is hard or soft (commonly referred to as softwood) is taken and planted in nursery bags that are 6 inches in height. They are cared for in a semi-shaded area in nursery conditions with 60% light for 2 months before they are planted on the farm. Plants with fully grown leaves and at least one or 2 stem emergence is recommended. Stem cuttings are to be taken from healthy plants, which are not affected by diseases or pests are important. Selective breeding of these plants has resulted in high floral yield and choosing a good stem cutting for cultivation is recommended. Flowers should be ridged or smooth and depending on the requirements of the market and where you intend to sell, the colors are to be picked accordingly. 

    I have found the propagation of hibiscus easy. In tropical conditions like Kerala, it is possible to stick a stem in the ground during June or July when the monsoon is at its peak and you will have a success of it rooting to up to 70%. But for commercial cultivation, such practices are not recommended. Nevertheless, it should be noted that hibiscus is one of the few plants to propagate easily, even for beginners. 
  • Propagating hibiscus from seeds is usually not heard of though it seems possible. Plenty of youtube videos do show how to collect these seeds and reproduce hibiscus plants at home. These practices are not recommended for commercial farming as the quality, parentage, and yield of the plant cannot be determined. 
  • Climate for  Cultivation : Young plants requires watering for the first 4 months. Planting should be done during monsoon to ensure that irrigation is sufficient during the growing stages of the hibiscus plant. Once established, the plant can survive short stages of drought. During summers, when rainfall is not available, irrigation can help the plant flower better. The tropical climate and subtropical climate are perfect for hibiscus plants. 
  • Ideal Soil for  Cultivation : Soil is most often not the problem with hibiscus. Soil can be anything from clay to sandy loam but the best soil is red soil or sandy loam soil. If for the first few months (the first 4 to be more precise, the plants will need care in any soil conditions so be sure to plant hibiscus during the onset of monsoon. Soil with organic matter and better drainage will help the plant grow faster. 
  • Varieties of Hibiscus. : there is no specific variety that is best or recommended for the cultivation of hibiscus. The requirement should be met based on the market. Most companies and purchasers prefer red flowers with double or single petals. Depending on the usage, plants should be purchased. For herbal products, large hibiscus flowers, usually red are preferred. Propagation: Propagation of hibiscus can be done through cuttings It is the most reliable way to propagate hibiscus. Propagation through seeds is possible but not reliable for commercial cultivation. Unfortunately, the flowers also may not be of the desired variety propagated from seeds. 
  • Season: The best season to propagate hibiscus is before the monsoon. 2 months before the monsoon in your region is the best time to propagate hibiscus in a greenhouse or playhouse. This may be between March and May in most states in India. Once the plants are propagated, the best season to plant the propagated hibiscus is during the monsoon. The onset of monsoon is usually the preferred time. June onwards is usually preferred for hibiscus planting. The flowers are not seasonal though, the best yield is often during the peak of summer, usually from March to May in India. 
  • Land Preparation: Land preparation is important for any crop and it’s no different for hibiscus either. Plow the land at least twice to ensure that the soil is loose enough. Adding organic matter will help loosen the soil. Vermicompost, leaf compost, or plain compost can add aeration to the soil. If the addition of organic matter is not possible throughout the field, at least ensure that the pots have sufficient organic matter before planting the saplings.
  • Intercropping: intercropping is not practiced with hibiscus crops. The plants tend to grow fast and bushy. With constant pruning requirements, most plants require constant care and movement within the field. Propagation of large trees and crops like papaya is possible, but it’s not tested and requests for intercropping with hibiscus are not accounted for yet by farmers.
  • Spacing and Density: The hibiscus plants are known to grow bushy once pruned and generate lots of stems. Considering the growth of hibiscus, a gap of 8 feet to 10 feet is required between plants, and a distance of 12 feet is required between rows. An acre of hibiscus plantation would require 500 plants per acre with the right spacing. 
  • Irrigation: Irrigation is not required for the hibiscus after the first 4 months. The plant is capable of surviving most conditions harsh but for commercial cultivation, it is recommended to irrigate the plants with drip irrigation. Each plant will need to be watered twice a week with at least 3-5 liters of water during summer. During monsoon, the irrigation can be completely stopped and winters usually require irrigation only once 2 weeks. 
  • Fertilizers: The application of chemical fertilizers are not recommended for hibiscus especially if the flowers are used for herbal remedies or companies manufacturing any product which is used for medicinal purposes. Application of Rajphos for better flowering and branching can be practiced. Rajphos is natural and safe to apply. Application of vermicompost and cow manure are seen to be beneficial if applied once a month for better plant health. 
  • Pests & Diseases:  A range of pests attack hibiscus. From aphids, whitefly, ants, and mealybugs, the hibiscus plants are a host to a range of pests. Most pests are sucking pests that leave deformities in the plants. From poor quality leaves and stems to shunted growth in plants, the results can be disastrous. While controlling these pests is possible with chemical pesticides, it is not recommended. Most of these pests occur during the summer season while during the monsoon, they are often free from problems. Showering water could leave the plants a lot of healthy and remove pests. If this is not possible, natural pesticides with Neem oil, garlic, and chili solution should be applied when problems are seen.
  • Training and Pruning: Pruning is regularly done for maintaining the plant and induces flowering in the plant. Pruning constantly will induce more branches and will also result in more flowering. Pruning is also beneficial for the plants’ health in general as it helps the growth of the main trunk and thickens it while constantly producing more and more branches. 
  • Harvesting: Harvesting is a regular practice on hibiscus plantations. With the right weather conditions, you will see flowering throughout the year with lesser flowering during monsoons and winters and more flowering during summers. 
  • POST-HARVEST: While hibiscus plants are sold both fresh and dried, your market requirements demand that you provided the right type of product at the end. Some industries require a fresh flower and there is no processing done. Usually, fresh flowers are plucked before blooming. On the contrary, dry flowers require a sun-dried or shade-dried facility. For people who require dry flowers, it is important to invest in a dryer, especially to dry the flowers during the monsoon. 
  • Yield: The average yield of hibiscus flowers per year is 1000 Kilos per acre. While the yield may increase every year depending on the fertilizer and care you provide.  Plants with proper climatic conditions and care will yield more than 1000 Kilos every year from the second year.
  • area of cultivation: Cultivation of hibiscus is limited to areas where there is a demand. Most states which have processing facilities and use hibiscus as a byproduct will have cultivation in nearby areas. It’s not a crop that can be sold in mandis and open markets. Finding if the flowers and leaves will be sold nearby to processing companies is important for cultivation. Commonly Tamil Nadu, Maharashtra, Karnataka, and Andhra are hibiscus growing areas. States and areas that have natural remedy centers and medicinal plant processing areas have high scope in cultivating Hibiscus.
  • PRUNING AND TRAINING: Pruning and training are mandatory for hibiscus plants. The plants tend to grow wild and accommodate space. Without proper pruning and training, the plant will result in higher foliage and leggy branches with lesser flowers. It is important to prune the plant regularly or at least 2 times a year for the right-branching and more flowering. 
  • WEED CONTROL: Weeds may be a problem for young plants but are often not a concern for large plants. After a year, the only area which needs weeding is the area you intend to walk to keep rodents and snakes away to make picking comfortable. The first year will require weeding and manual weeding is recommended in most cases. During weeding, it’s also possible to soil up to near the plants for better support. Weed control should be practiced during monsoon if possible.

yield per acre and per plant: The yield of the hibiscus plant is approximately 1 KG flower per year per plant. With an average of 1000 Plants per acre, it’s possible to get a 1000 Kilo yield per acre of hibiscus. While the fresh yield is 1000 KG the dry yield will be approximately 200 Kilos per acre. This may sound a lot low by the economics of cultivating hibiscus is very interesting as it’s one of the few crops which require minimal to no care at all.

Profit Per acre

Depending on the needs of the end customer, the profits vary. The dry matter or dry hibiscus could be sold for from 600 to 750 rs per kilo while fresh flowers will cost 200 rs per kilo. Considering the values you could do a simple calculation 

Land preparation20,00020000
Sapling costs20 PEr plant20000
Manure and fertilizers50005000
Labour cost2500025000
Picking cost3500035000
Total Expense105000

Total Yield and Profit for Fresh Flowers

Yield per year: 1000 Kilo 

Total Revenue at the price of 200 Rs per kilo: 200000

Total Profit on sale of fresh flowers: 95000 Per acre

Total Yield and profit of Dry flower

Yield per year: 200 KG

Additional Expense for drying flowers: 15000 Rs

Total Revenue on sale: 120000-150000

Total profit: up to 30,000 Rs

While profit from hibiscus the first year may be high with extra cost for saplings and land preparation, weeding, etc, all these expenses will be removed the second year onwards. Chances of profiting will be much higher from the second year onwards for hibiscus plantations. It recommended that farmers not be let down because of the first year’s yield. 

News: https://www.vikatan.com/news/agriculture/153830–348000-from-3-acres-prosperous-income-from-hibiscusReference: https://www.agrigoaexpert.res.in/icar/category/horitculture/floriculture_landscaping/hibiscus.php

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