Plans to indigenise tulip bulbs in works in Delhi
According to a senior NDMC official, the civic body imports tulip bulbs every year from the Netherlands and their plantation is carried out in New Delhi areas out in mid-December. The tulip season ends in early March
In a bid to undertake plantation of the otherwise imported tulips in the Capital itself, the Delhi civic body has decided to use bulbs of flowers which have wilted, New Delhi Municipal Council officials aware of the matter said.
According to a senior NDMC official, the civic body imports tulip bulbs every year from the Netherlands and their plantation is carried out in New Delhi areas out in mid-December. The tulip season ends in early March.
“The import cycle is repeated every year but now we have also decided to collect the bulbs from wilted plants and use them to undertake trials to create fresh bulbs out of them,” the official said.
The council plans to rope in the CSIR-Institute of Himalayan Bioresource Technology (CSIR-IHBT) in Palampur, Himachal Pradesh, for the trials.
ALSO READ: All you need to know about Delhi's Tulip Festival at Shantipath lawns
“We have been communicating with NDMC to supply the exhausted tulip bulbs to us. Along with our local farmers, we can try to propagate these imported bulbs under various conditions,” said Dr Sanjay Kumar, outgoing director of CSIR-IHBT.
The development comes even as the city plans to significantly ramp up its tulip counts in the Spring season. Lieutenant governor VK Saxena on February 11 announced that NDMC procured 1.4 lakh tulip bulbs this year against last year’s 40,000. Saxena had said that 500,000 bulbs will be planted next year in NDMC as well as MCD areas to turn Delhi into the “city of flowers”.
A second official from the local body said that the bulbs are sourced from Holland at a cost of ₹30-40 per unit and the indigenisation process can help NDMC become self-reliant and help save import costs.
“Since the number of flowers is expected to be increased manifold, we plan to undertake the research and development process so that the pre-treated Holland production can be replicated in our country,” the second official said.
NDMC starts the preparation for plantation of tulips in July-August by inviting open tenders, the official said. “After importing the flower bulbs, they are kept in quarantine followed by keeping them in low temperature at 5 degrees Celsius to break the dormancy and initiate the sprouting.Plantation of the bulbs is carried out in the second week December and it takes 30-40 days for them to bloom. It is observed that the flowers bloom fully in the month of February, which sometimes last till mid-March. However, a premature rise in temperatures this year has led to early wilting but normally the flowers bloom for 25 to 40 days depending on the three different varieties,” he added.
NDMC began importing tulip bulbs in 2016 at a cost ₹25 per unit. The council deploys around 14,00 gardeners to take care of its flowering plants and foliage in the spring months in several areas including Shanti Path, Talkatora Garden, Windsor Place, Central Park, Mandi House, Chanakyapuri, Lodhi Garden and Nehru Park.
ALSO READ: Japanese sakura to soon add a dash of pink to Srinagar’s palette
The NDMC official said that the Tulip flowering period is now over and bulbs will be allowed to dry up in the soil for one month. “All these bulbs will be harvested after the stem dries up after 20-30 days. Bulbs will be sorted with the details of quantity, colour of flowers and features. These will be stored in specialized packaging at low temperature conditions. The survival rate of these bulbs in various conditions to be studied in Palampur to test the appropriate conditions. We had tried reusing the bulbs in Delhi weather last over two years but it had failed. In Palampur, they will test the interventions and treatment required to re-use the bulbs to create fresh bulbs,” official said.
The official said that the after extraction, the bulbs will be allowed to dry up in the soil for one month. “All these bulbs will be harvested after the stem dries up after 20-30 days. Bulbs will be sorted based on colour and other features. They will then be stored in specialised packaging in low temperature conditions. The survival rate of the bulbs in various conditions will be studied in Palampur. Earlier, we tried reusing the bulbs in the Delhi weather over the last two years but failed,” the official said.
“Most of the winter annual seeds are being preserved for next year therefore the bulbs should be preserved by adopting appropriate method in our country for next year plantation if any feasible protocol is available,” read an undated letter by NDMC horticulture department to its staff.
Dr Kumar said that the talks with the municipal council for indigenisation of tulip bulbs are in an advanced stage and a Memorandum of Understanding is expected to be signed shortly.
“At the Palampur institute, we have been experimenting with tulips and we have been successful in creating a first garden on a large scale completely made from indigenous bulbs of tulips sourced from Lahaul area. Based on our experience in propagating the bulbs in Lahaul, this may be possible and we can indigenise their production,” the outgoing director said.
“The process is in pipeline. A lot of things are required to be worked out. Once the new director assumes office things would likely get in motion,” IHBT senior principal scientist and public relations officer Dr Shashi Bhushan said.