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Friday, September 22, 2017 34° Partly sunny

Ornamentals as profitable agribusiness

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By Zac B. Sarian

We just attended the ongoing Kadayawan garden show in Davao City and we are all the more convinced that growing ornamental plants as a business can sustain a family’s needs and more if they are willing to soil their hands and using some business sense.

In the ornamental plant business, one need not have land by the hectares. We have met garden people in Davao City in our most recent trip and one lady gardener who is making good business operates on just 1,500 square meters.

What are her strategies? She specializes in rare plants that command a high price in the market. There are plants that she can usually sell at P1,500 which cost her only P300 to produce in a growing period just over a year or thereabouts. She does not mind to pay a high price for an outstanding mother plant for as long as she knows she will be able to multiply the same in her growing area.

  • Best Ornamental in show – This is a variegated philodendron hybrid that was adjudged the Best Ornamental In Show at the Kadayawan garden show which will run through August 31. The prize-winning plant has unblemished variegated leaves that won the nod of judges that included Francis Flores of Vigan’s Hidden Garden, Armand Giron of Giron Botanic from Nueva Ecija, Jaime Chua of Cebu City, Doreen Dofitas of Bacolod City and Vangie Go, president of the Philippine Orchid Society. The winning plant is owned by Nenita de los Santos.

  • Best Flowering Ornamental – The Elaeocarpus Ridleyi was adjudged the best flowering plant in the ongoing Kadayawan garden show in Davao City. Flowering plants are needed in landscaping subdivisions, golf courses, homes and business establishments. This winning flowering tree is owned by Vicky Traer whose flowering bougainvillea won the second prize in the same category.

  • Gardening Couple – Beth and Noel Aton are enterprising plant growers in Davao City. They go for the rare varieties, multiply them and then sell their propagations at a good price. Here, they are showing the leaf anthurium King of Kings which won a prize at the ongoing Kadayawan garden show in Davao City. Their mother plant of King of Kings cost them a fortune but they are recovering their investment from their propagations. Many other couples are in the plant business in Davao and they have their own strategies in making profit from their plants.

  • Smart Ornamental Plant Grower – Ven Gallego, president of the Floriculture Industry of Davao Inc. (FIDI), is a smart plant grower. He produces outstanding varieties in big numbers and then unloadS the same during garden shows and other special occasions. At the ongoing Kadayawan garden show, his Golden Rosal was a big hit. A few buyers practically got all his available stocks. He is shown here with his flowering Golden Rosal.

  • Couple In the Plant Business – Alain and Imelda Agustin are among the young couples who are engaged in growing ornamental plants as a means of livelihood. The couple’s variegated schefflera won 2nd prize in the Variegated Plants category while their Old Rose aglaonema is a 3rd placer in its category. The couple are active members of the Floriculture Industry of Davao, Inc. that stages the annual Kadayawan garden show in tandem with the Mindanao Federation for Economic Development (MINFED).

  • Prize-Winning Fern – Photo shows Mario Atillo and his First Prize-winning Asplenium Colibrium, the top pick in the Ferns Category of the plant competition in the ongoing Kadayawan garden show at the grounds of SM Davao City. Mario grew the plant from spores of a plant he bought from Vangie Go. Propagating their own plants from spores or seeds is the secret of many plant growers in making good profit from gardening.

    Mario Atillo, a veteran in the plant business, loves to grow and multiply high-priced ornamentals. One example is his Asplenium Colibrium which won first prize in its category in the ongoing Kadayawan garden show. He said that his winning fern which he grew from spores could fetch several thousand pesos. He did not spend much in producing the same because he grew it from spores collected from the mother plant he bought from Vangie Go, another plant enthusiast specializing in plants that fetch a high price.

    Ven Gallego, a retired personnel from the Philippine Coconut Authority, is a smart player in the horticulture industry. At the ongoing Kadayawan garden show, he released a lot of his propagations of his Golden Rosal. On the second day of the garden show, practically all the hundreds of his stocks were sold out.

    His strategy has been to select something that has commercial potential i.e., for landscaping, and then produce the same in big numbers. Nobody else was selling Golden Rosal at the garden show so he practically had the monopoly as far as the particular ornamental plant is concerned. And who are the buyers?

    The buyers could be landscapers who have ongoing projects that need the type of ornamental. Or the fellow could multiply the same plant as fast as he can so he will have enough material for his next landscaping projects.

    Other buyers could be other nursery people from other parts of the country. These buyers could be small time operators. They take home their plant to their own province, multiply the same and then sell their propagations at a good price.

    FOR SENIORS – Growing ornamental plants for money is one of the best projects retirees can engage in. Growing plants could be therapeutic and at the same time profitable.

    One lady retiree we know specializes in plants that can be grown in small pots but which command a good price just the same. Small plants are easy for senior citizens to carry or move around. Even a limited space can produce good income for the elderly gardener.

    What are some of the easy-to-grow plants that seniors can grow? Sansevierias are very hardy plants. There are many varieties to choose from. Some are very small while others are big ones. They come in various shapes and colorations. Some are really expensive while others are more affordable.

    Another lady retiree that we know specializes in African violets. These are small flowering plants that are easy to grow if one has mastered the technique. But many people find it difficult to produce so that the few who supply the flowering plant have the market for themselves. Another hardy plant that is attractive and that can be produced in a limited space is Crypthantus, a kind of bromeliad that comes in various attractive colors and shapes.

    Oh yes, there are countless plants that an aspiring gardener can choose from. The best thing to do for the beginner is to attend garden shows to observe what plants are available and what are not. It is also good to join garden clubs to meet people of the same inclination and be able to know the trends in the horticulture business.

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