THE INFLUENCE OF TYPE OF CUTTING AND GROWING MEDIUM ON GROWTH AND FLOWERING OF SCORPION ORCHID (Arachnis maingayi) Hook.f. Schltr
Orchids are of importance primarily for their horticultural appeal and accounts for 8% of the world floricultural trade. Scorpion orchid (Arachnis maingayi Hook) is highly prized for its beautiful long lasting flowers, but it is under-exploited in many countries including Nigeria. There is the need to determine the best type of cutting and growing medium protocols for commercial production of this species. Seven homogenous growing media (sawdust, topsoil, charcoal, coconut husk, wood shavings, maize cobs and rice husk) and two types of cutting (apical and non-apical) were compared in a factorial experiment laid out in Completely Randomized Design with six replications at the Federal University of Agriculture, Abeokuta, Nigeria between 2010 and 2012. Data collected on plant height, number of leaves, leaf area, shoot dry weight, days to spiking, length and number of spike, size and number of florets were subjected to analysis of variance and Tukey’s HSD at p ≤ 0.05 to separate treatment means. Apical cuttings were significantly (p ≤ 0.05) superior to non-apical cuttings in terms of all parameters assessed except floret diameter which was statistically similar. For growing medium, dry matter accumulation and spike yield were in the order of charcoal > rice husk > maize cob > topsoil > wood shavings > coconut husk. Apical cuttings planted in charcoal or rice husk gave the best results relative to other media. Thus, apical cutting is the best propagating technique and charcoal or rice husk is the best growing medium for scorpion orchid cultivation.
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