THE plant nursery business is set to blossom this monsoon with expectations of strong demand for saplings. “The plant nurseries anticipate a good season and firm growth in demand of 30 per cent to 50 per cent as compared to the year ago period,” said Bharat Jajodia, owner of Bharat Nursery, Shradanandpeth while speaking to The Hitavada. The indoor oxygen plants are in great demand these days apart from outdoor and decorative plants. A lot of the demand is coming from contractors of Government road projects, private and public sector offices, as well as banks and educational institutions. Apart from this, there is tremendous demand by corporates for gifting purpose during the festival season like Diwali. All these factors are pushing demand for saplings in a big way, he said. The most sought after saplings are rose, mogra, neem, hibiscus, champa, bogan veil, jaswand, parijat, jade, areca palm, zizi plant, snake plant, bonsai, cloud forest, money plant, bonsai plants in various colours and sizes among others, he pointed out. The nursery business flourished during the two years of COVID-19 as the nurseries were allowed to stay open. People enjoyed buying saplings as they had leisure time on hand, he added. Another nursery owner said that there is huge demand for saplings as a lot of people are taking up gardening in a big way. Gardening and maintaining plants has become a big business these days and gardeners are in great demand. The awareness level among the people has also increased to maintain a green environment and lower the pollution levels. Some people who don not have gardens are placing decorative plants in their homes and balconies. There are others who have taken up gardening as a hobby and enjoy planting exotic plants. The nursery owners feel that there would be good demand for saplings as awareness level among the people has increased for maintaining a green surrounding and to get clean air.They also feel that this year’s prolonged summer and intense heat conditions had destroyed a large number of plants and people would be replacing old plants with new ones, sources said. Accordingly, the prices of sapling has not changed from the past two years. The prices start from a little as Rs 10 to Rs 5,000 depending on the size and variety. A person does not have to spend a lot to buy saplings. Also, some people spend lavishly on buying saplings to decorate their homes and gardens. The nurseries produce saplings all year round to meet the demand. Some plant nurseries source exotic saplings from large hubs like Pune, Delhi and Kolkata. Nurseries also provide manure, seeds, garden tools and pebbles, sources added.