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Anthuriums

A manual for smallholder production in Fiji

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South Sea Orchids


Funded by CTA

Anthurium: A Manual for Small Holder Production in Fri

Preface
We at South Sea Orchids (SSO) have a vision that Fiji can develop a world class
floriculture industry that makes a significant contribution to the livelihoods of our people.
This can be achieved because we are blessed with a climate that enables us to grow a
wide range of tropical flowers and leaves; our favourable pest and disease status
compared with other flower growing countries; a fast growing local market for
floriculture products; Fiji's strategic location with respect to overseas markets; and most
importantly the skill and motivation of our women growers.
Anthuriums are a highly prized cut flower in Fiji. Their multiple colours and long vase
life mean they are highly sought after by the tourism industry and local people alike. We
need to meet the demands of this market.
Our small project currently has 44 anthurium growers - ranging in size from 200 to 6,000
flowering plants. SSO provides a market outlet and technical support services for these
growers. This manual will enable us to better serve our growers. It will be the core
resource material for our workshops and provide a ready reference for the grower's book
shelf It is hoped that our growers with greater knowledge and skill will increase their
income by producing more quality flowers and better use of inputs.
Andrew McGregor coordinated the production of this manual, with assistance from Don
Bumess_ Our growers extend a hearty vinaka vakalevu to CTA for providing funding for
the manual.
Aileen Bumess
Project Manager

Cover
Clockwise: "Tropical" anthuriums on benches with overhead sprinklers at Tamavua Suva;
anthuriums ready for collection by florists at St Andrew's wholesale market in Suva; a plan for
anthurium ground beds

Anthurium: AManual forSmall Holder Production in Fiji

Table of Contents
Page
Preface
Anthuriums: The Plant

1
1

The anthuriumflower
Environmental conditions best for anthuriums
Improved variety anthuriums

2
2

Anthuriums in Fiji
Dutch Anthuriums - the plant and its capability

3
6

Getting started
Anthuriums ready for planting
Locating your shade house
Shade house design

Media and potting requirements


Planting
Beds
Bags on benches
How to plant your anthuriums

Care and maintenance


Fertilizer and fertilizing
Detecting nutrient disorders
Watering requirements

Pest and disease management


Cultural control practices
Chemical control measures
Diseases
Pests

Harvesting and postharvest handling


Markets and marketing
Tourism
Local market
Marketing arrangements

Growing anthuriums as a small business


Start-up cost
Production
Prices
Cash flow projections
Financing and paying offyour loan

Glossary of Terms
References

7
7
7
7

8
10
11
12

13
13
13

15

16
17
18
19
19

21
24
25
25
25
26

27
26
27
28
28
29

32
34

iii

Anthurium: A Manual for Small Holder Production in Fiji

AnthurlLms
1.
(anthurium andreanum) are renown for their wide range of colours
Anthuriums
and types and their exceptional long vase life. A common pink "local" variety of
anthurium has long been grown in Fiji and is a regular feature in wreaths and flower
arrangements. However, this "local" variety does not provide a basis for significant
commercial development. Improved variety anthuriums do provide this opportunity.
The anthurium flower

2. is a native of the wet forests of the Central American Andes,


The anthurium
where it grows as an epiphyte (on trees and rocks). The name Anthurium is a
combination of two Greek words: "Anthos"(bloom) and "Oura" (tail). Anthurium
literally means tail flower.
3.
Anthuriums belong to the Araceae plant family, which includes numerous types
of plants. Some of the better known members of the Araceae family include:
philodendron, Alocasia taro (dalo via), calla Lilly and dieffenbachia. Anthuriums, like
most members of the Araceae family, thrive in conditions of low light and high humidity.
4.
The anthurium "flower" Figure 1
is not really a flower. It is a
colourful modified leaf know as
a spathe. The anthurium has
hundreds of tiny real flowers,
containing both female (pistils)
and male (stamen) flower parts.
These are located along the
spadix, which is a pencil like
protrusion rising from base of the
spathe (figure 1). What is
commonly recognised as the
anthurium flower combines both
the spathe and spadix. This is
the flower referred to in this
manual.
stem
5.
The anthurium is a
perennial evergreen plant that
produces flowers throughout the year - although higher production occurs during the
warmer summer months. A mature anthurium (around 18 months) produces one flower
for each leaf The sequence of leaf, flower, leaf continues throughout the life of the plant
A healthy anthurium plant can expect last many years, without any noticeable reduction
in yield.

Anthurium: A Manual for Small Holder Production in Fiji

Environmental conditions best for anthuriums

The conditions in which anthuriums will thrive must simulate those of the
6.
rainforests of Central America, where the plant evolved. This is a shaded tropical
environment well protected from extreme weather conditions.
In their natural environment anthuriums grows epiphytically (on trees and on
7.
rocks). Anthurium roots are naturally in contact with the air. Thus when anthuriums are
cultivated its important that they are planted in well aerated growing media. This allows
the aerial roots to remain in contact with the air and not get too wet.
The temperature range for anthuriums is between 14C and 35C, with an
8.
optimum day time temperature of about 22C. The upper limit of the acceptable
temperature range depends on humidity. Good flowering requires high humidity. In the
high humidity conditions of the Suva area anthuriums would thrive at 35C. In the lower
humidity conditions of Nadi your anthuriums will feel distinctly uncomfortable at this
temperature. Thus measures would be needed to either reduce the temperature or
increase the humidity.
Anthuriums need semi shade conditions. Too much light can cause the colours to
9.
fade. If there is little or no shade the leaf temperature will be well above the air
temperature causing the leaf to bum and plant growth to be slowed. In its natural
environment anthuriums grow under trees and bushes. When anthuriums are cultivated
shade is provided systematically by shade cloth.
Improved variety anthuriums

Improved variety anthuriums have been especially bred for colour, size,
10.
productivity and vase life. Up until the 1970s breeding for these characteristics involved
crossing pollinating plants to obtain desirable characteristics and then taking cuttings
from selected plants. This mixed culture system was slow, resulted in a lot of variation
in the plants, and could lead to the transfer of disease.
Cross-pollinating has now been replaced by tissue culture propagation. Tissue
11.
culture allows for the propagation of large number of plants from a selected parent. Each
one of these plants is identical (clones). New varieties are developed by cross breeding
and by selecting and propagating the best plants from this offspring via tissue culture.
The development of a new anthurium variety takes between eight to ten years (Anthura
1998 p, 19).
Anthurium flowers are characterised by a wide range of sizes and
12.
colours. The flowers can be classified into 3 broad types:

Types of
anthuriums

standards (usually single colour);


obakes (a bi-colour of green and an other colour) ; and,
tulip types (tulip shaped flower with a usually upright straight spadix).

Anthurium: A Manual for Small Holder Production in Fiji

A desirable shape for a standard anthurium flower is broad, symmetrical and heart shaped
with slightly touching or over lapping basal lobes. The spadix should be shorter than the
length of the spathe and gently reclined to facilitate packing for shipment . Obake
anthuriums tended to be larger and to have a somewhat longer vase life. A long stem is a
desirable characteristic in all anthuriums.
13.
World wide, red anthuriums
(particularly dark and bright red) tend to be
most populart . Fiji is no exception in the
popularity of red flowers
14,
Anthuriums have been developed for cut
flowers and pot plants. The pot plant varieties
tend to have numerous smaller flowers and
leaves. Some pot plant varieties belong to a
separate anthurium species Anthurium
scherzeianum, which is more suited to cooler
climates Most of the commercial varieties
grown in Fiji are for cut flowers --- although
some pot plant varieties are also good for cut
flowers.
Anthuriums in Fiji
15.
The first improved
variety anthurium plants were imported from Australia and .
planted at Colo-i-Suva about 30 years ago. In the warm wet conditions of Colo-i-Suva
they thrived. This original collection has now been dispersed throughout Fiji. More
recently anthurium plants were imported from Florida by the Golden Cowrie at Navua.
In 1997 SSO imported some 17,000 anthurium plants from Holland. These were
16.
distributed to 33 small growers who were members of the SSO Project. A further 15,000
Dutch anthurium plants were imported by SSO at Nasau near Nadi. Holland is regarded
as the world leader in the production of anthurium plants. Anthuriums plants cannot be
imported into Fiji from Hawaii because of the presence of Anthurium leaf blight
(Xanthomonas campestris pv. dieffenbachiae)_
SSO has imported
Dutch anthuriums under licence from Anthura B.V. Anthura
17.
holds the patent for all these varieties. Under the licence agreement the cut flower
varieties cannot be sold. SSO has permission to sell Anthura pot plant varieties. Table
1 shows the wide range of varieties that have been imported.

' In Holland, the world's largest anthurium producer, reds account for 40% of anthurium production,
followed by pink 13% (Anthura p 12). Halloran et.al undertook a survey of 350 US florists and found red
to be the most popular colour. Bright red was the preferred shade, with dark red also highly ranked.
3

Anthurium: A Manual for Small Holder Production in Fiji

Table 1: Some of the anthurium types grown by the South Sea Orchids Project.
Name
type
Size (cm
yield potential
vase life
potential
diameter)
(stems/m2lyear)
(days)
13-15
80
23
.
Acropolis
standard

Champagne

standard

13-15

55

29

Fantasia

standard

13-15

45

26

Laguna

standard

14-16

65

35

Aphrodite

Obake

15-17

55

26

President

Obake

14-19

55

41

Anthurium: A Manualfor Small Holder Production in Fiji

Linda

Standard

Tropical

Standard

12-15

80

23

Arizona

Standard

11-13

90

32

Carr

Standard

14-17

75

29

Casino

Standard

14-16

65

27

Standard

14-16

60

39

Sonate

Standard

14-16

75

40

Spirit

Standard

14-16

80

32

Safari

Standard

12-14

85

20

+ti'-5

Passion

-'

Anthurium: A Manual for Small Holder Production in Fiji

Choco

Standard

15-17

70

34

Cognac

Standard

14-16

75

31

Midori

Standard

14-16

90

20

Pistache

Standard

14-16

65

28

Cheers

Standard

13-15

85

35

California

Pot plant

14-17

85

41

Calore

,+4

Standard

Dutch Anthuriums - the plant and its capability


The Dutch anthuriums have the potential to produce 10 flowers a year if optimum
18.
growing conditions are created. The yield and vase life rating for the varieties that have
been imported into Fiji are shown in Table 1.

Anihurium: A Manual for Small Holder Production in Fiji

In Holland these
19. plants were produced under scrupulously hygienic conditions,
with air conditioning, and computer controlled water and fertilizer application. Thus
major plant loss can occur when they are planted out under Fiji's open conditions if the
correct package of practices is not followed. Some growers experienced initial losses as
high as 50%, until an appropriate package of practices was developed for Fiji conditions.
SSO's growers have learnt by costly experience, with a number falling by the wayside.
However, those who remain are now achieving satisfactory results. The best growers are
realizing around 70 to 80% of genetic potential of their plants. These plants are yielding
7 to 8 good quality flowers per year.
Getting started
Anthuriunts ready for planting
SSO imported
20. small plantlets (approximately 10 cm). Under the conditions of
the Fiji Quarantine's import permit, these plants were kept under quarantine surveillance
for 6 months at SSO's Nadi floriculture facility. During this time the plants were given a
head start and hardened up (acclimatised) before being distributed to the growers. During
this time the young plantlets were lightly fertilised with a complete fertilizer. Young
anthurium plants can be easily damaged by over fertilisation. They are also highly
susceptible to diseases, thrips, rain damage, and snails.
At 6 months the plants were given their quarantine clearance and ready to start
21.
life in the tender loving care of the out-growers growers. At this time the plants were
about 25 to 30 cm tall.
Locating your shade house
Your shade 22.
house should be located in an open space, which provides for good
air circulation, but if possible protection from strong winds. There must be access to
good quality water.
Shade house design

In all anthurium
23. growing locations in Fiji 80% shade should be used. The shade
is provided by knitted black sarlon cloth.
24.
This manual considers a shade house for a micro (200 plants) and a small
enterprise (2,000 plants). The size of the two shade houses are 4m x 2m x 5m and 30m x
15m x 5m respectively. For the village based micro enterprise it is assumed that at least 5
micro shade houses will be built in the location. These individual micro enterprises
would be expected to share the cost of purchasing a roll of sarlon cloth (385m x 1.5).

Anthurium: A Manual for Small Holder Production in Fiji

sfl/:cE

l+CXIN--

25.
The basic design
of the anthurium house
is shown in the
photograph and plan. A
"loose" construction
design is followed. The
height of shade house is
important in providing
good aeration - ideally
they should be 5m high.

. Anthurium house for 2000 plants

26.
The grower has
two planting options. The anthuriums can be planted in planter bags placed on benches
or they can be planted on the ground in especially constructed beds on the ground. Most
of the small outgrowers have opted for planting in pots on benches. The advantages and
disadvantages of the two systems are discussed in paragraph 38.
For pots the most cost effective benches are constructed from galvanised mesh
27.
sheets. The standard sheet is 8ft x 4ft (2.4 mtrs x 1.2 mtrs), with a 2in x tin gap. Media
gauge mesh is sufficiently strong for relatively light anthurium bags. The mesh is placed
on top of concrete building blocks,
stacked two high (plate). Some growers
have built wooden benches for their
anthurium pots. While, this option gave
an ideal bench height it proved to be more
expensive and requires a reasonable
degree of carpentry skills. Also some of
the benches rotted, even though
supposedly treated timber was used. The
floor of the shade house is covered by
gravel to allow for a high relative
humidity. Such construction will allow
for clear access to all benches and good aeration.
28.
The house is made bird proof by using l inch chicken wire. These houses have
sufficient space to hold 400 and 3,000 pots respectively - thus there is ample room for
future expansion. An option for anthuriums is to plant them on the ground in especially
designed beds.
29.
These shade houses are sufficiently small for irrigation to be via watering can or
hose. Hand watering will ensure maximum contact with plants facilitating early
detection of pests, diseases and nutrient deficiencies.

Anthurium: A Manual for Small Holder Production in Fiji

Media and potting requirements


The purpose30.
of the planting media is to provide a healthy environment in which
the roots of the anthurium can grow. It is through its roots that plant absorbs most of its
nutrients and moisture. A healthy root system is critical for the achievement of good
flower yields. The media used has to provide similar conditions to the natural
environment in which anthuriums thrives. Due to their epiphytic nature anthuriums
require a well aerated media mix for healthy growth. The mix also needs to provide
sufficient moisture and support for the plant.
In Holland most anthurium are grown in "oasis" (polyphenol foam). Oasis is an
31.
inorganic product made from petroleum. It has minute pores which enables it to retain
moisture. For anthuriums 1.5 cm chunks of "oasis" are used, which allows for good air
circulation around the chunks. A major advantage of inorganic material is that it does not
degrade (compost) into soil which has poor aeration. A disadvantage is that it does not
supply any nutrients to plant in its own right.
"Oasis" is an ideal media for planting anthuriums. However, in Fiji it would have
32.
to be imported making it far too expensive for small growers to consider. Thus suitable
inexpensive locally available materials need to be utilised.
In Hawaii combinations of locally available organic (including wood shavings,
33.
tree fern chips, sugar cane bagasse, macadamia nut shell and coffee bean shells) and
inorganic matter (volcanic cinder) materials are used for anthuriums. In Fiji most
growers now use rice husk as the main ingredient in their media. Rice husks are light and
offers good aeration for the roots. It is available from Dreketi in Vanua Levu around $4
per standard sugar or flour bag. The main problem with rice husk is that is starts to
degrade into soil with 12 to 18 months and it constantly needs to be supplemented with
new rice husks.
SSO have chosen to use 100% rice husks as
34.
the media in their Nadi anthurium operation. Other
growers have supplemented rice husks with other
materials. The addition of shredded/stripped
qanibulu (coconut husk) to the media provides more
anchorage for the roots, moisture holding capacity
and provides some nutrients. The rate of
decomposition for
qanibulu tends to
be less than for
rice husk thereby extending
the life of the
media. If you are going to use qanibulu make sure it is
cut up into small chunks and soaked in water for at least
a month and then exposed to the sun for a further
month. This removes the tannin that will damage
9

Anthurium: A Manual for Small Holder Production in Fiji

sensitive roots and provides for easier shredding by hand. Sugar cane bagasse would
serve equally well as qanibulu and provides an option for anthurium growers in the West.
A small quantity of sand can be added to the rice husk to provide a little body and
35.
extended life to the media. Initially some Fiji growers used sand as the main component
of the media. However, poor aeration was achieved resulting in a high incidence of root
rot. Styro-foam used for packing electrical appliances is usually thrown away. This non
bio-degradable material can be chopped up into small pieces and added to the media to
provide additional aeration and longevity. Look out for styro-foam in piles of rubbish on
the side of the road waiting for the next City Council clean-up. Some growers add a little
tuida (sphagum moss) to their media to enhance water holding capacity and root
anchorage. Tuida is gathered and dried in the Naulu, Caubati and Nausori areas and is
usually sold during Arbour Week in Suva.
36_
An approximate guideline for the proportion mix of ingredients for a Fiji
anthurium media is:
Approx. % (by volume)
Ingredients
75
rice husks
15
shredded qanibulu
4
sand
3
styro-foam
3
tuida
100
Total
Planting
Young anthurium plants are around 15cm (6in) high when they are released from
37.
SSO's quarantine house for distribution to growers. At this stage the plants will be
about 6 months old and will have a healthy and a well developed root system. If they are
well cared for, your anthuriums will start flowering 6 to 8 months after planting. They
will be mature plants in 12 months and achieve 50 percent of their production potential.
The plants should be fully grown in 20 to 24 months.
Most small growers in Fiji have opted for planting in bags on benches. SSO have
38_
opted for planting 40% of their anthuriums in ground beds. Both systems offer
advantages and disadvantages, which are summarised as follows:
There are significant cost savings from planting in beds. You don't
Cost
need to build benches and buy plastic bags.
Yield

Higher yield per plant is apparent from planting in well drained beds.
The surface feeding roots of the epiphytic anthurium plant are able to
spread unconstrained in beds. The plant thrives and flowers more often.
However, a closer plant spacing is achieved when anthuriums are
planted in pots, offsetting the lower yield per plant

Flower size

A much higher percentage of large flowers are obtained in beds - a


further indication of how comfortable these epiphytic plants are in this

10

Anthurium: A Manualfor Small Holder Production in Fiji

environment. However, a high percentage of large flowers has a down


side for the Fiji market. The Fiji local market has a strong preference
for medium sized flowers. Mature plants in pots predominately
produce medium sized flowers.
Disease
Anthuriums thrive in well prepared ground beds of the appropriate
management media. However, if one plant is affected by disease it is more likely to
spread to other plants in the bed. In Hawaii all anthuriums were planted
in beds prior to the arrival of Anthurium blight. This devastating
bacterial disease spread rapidly through the beds. To limit the spread of
the disease many growers changed to planting in bags on benches.
Ease of
work

Bags on benches are at waist level and easy for working compared with
continual bending required for plants in beds

Planting in beds constructed on the ground

Given that39.
the two planting systems have
advantages and disadvantages the grower has the
option of establishing a combination of both. Two
systems are described briefly below.
Beds

A suitable40.
design of an anthurium bed is
shown in the diagram. A number of key points need
to be taken into account when building a bed:
Good drainage is essential for a successful
anthurium bed.

11

Anthurium: A Manual for Small Holder Production in Fiji

The bed should be built on a slight slope (0.1% -10cm


per 100meters- is enough if the bed is correctly built).
The bed should be approximately L5 metres (5' wide)
wide. Beds any wider make it too difficult to access
plants in the middle of the bed. The beds can be can be
as long as the size of the shade house permits. For a
small grower 6 metres (20 ft) would be a reasonable
length. The space for the path between the beds should be around .8 metres wide (3
feet).
The ground and the planting media should be separated by black plastic sheet (1 mm).
+ Running through the length of the bed should be a agricultural drainage pipe (100mm
-- 4 inch). Place the pipe on top of the plastic sheet. It should be inserted in a small
trench and covered with gravel. The bottom of the bed should be a slight V shape
running into the pipe.
The walls of the bed (approx 35 cm or 14 inches high) are constructed by concrete
building blocks stacked two high (one lying flat on its side with the holes pointing
upwards.
The bed should be filled with planting media up to a minimum height of 20cm (8
inches). Over time (2 to 3 years) new media will be added up to a height of about
30cm (12 inches).
Growers may wish to string a wire, attached to posts along the edge of the bed, to
stop the flowers falling over into the path and being damaged.

Plant spacing
for beds

41.

For beds the recommended spacing between plants is 1 ft (30 cm).


Thus a 5'x 20'bed would contain around 75 plants. A small grower with 6
beds would have 450 anthuriums. Allowing for pathways the size of overall
size of the shade house would around 1,000 sq feet (or 300 sq meters).

12

Anthurium: A Manual for Small Holder Production in Fiji

Bags on benches

42.
The young 15cm (bin) plants (keikis) are planted in a #5 plastic planter bag PB
(15 cm in diameter). When a plant fills a #5PB it is transferred to a #12PB (21 cm
diameter) or to a #8 PB (18 cm). The #12 PBs used for anthurium are 14.5 cm high.
SSO bulk orders bags from Lees Trading for distribution to the out-growers.
Approximately 213 of the bag is filled with media allowing some room for topping up
media over time. The bag should be turned town to prevent the bag caving in obstructing
water coverage. It is recommended that you put a few extra holes at the bottom of bag to
improve drainage.
Planting in bags allows for a much closer plant spacing and more
anthuriums for a given area. The bags can even be allowed to touch,
providing an average distance between plants of around 5 in (13 cm). With
this spacing it is possible to have around 550 anthurium plants on a 5'x 20' bench
(compared with only 75 mature plants in a 5'x 20' bed.) Having so many plants in a
small area is a big advantage for a small grower with limited space. However, such dense
planting does have disadvantages. Air circulation is restricted, increasing the likelihood
of pest and disease problems. Also the roots often venture into adjacent bags, thereby
increasing the possibility of disease spreading and making repotting more difficult If a
dense planting is to be adopted it is critical that leaf pruning and bag shaking schedules
are strictly followed. A 7in (18cm) spacing between plants seen as a good compromise
between planting density and air circulation. This space would give around 270 mature
plants on a 5'x 20'bench.

Plant spacing

for bags

43.

How to plant your anthuriums

Anthurium are epiphytes


and thus should be shallowly
planted - not buried like dalo.
Larger plants might fall over
before their roots are anchored.
They can be propped up with light
bamboo stakes. After planting
slow release fertilizer is applied.
For planting in bags the
application rate for slow release fertilizer is 10 ml ('/2 table
spoon) per plant , with the granules spread evenly around the
planting bag. If planting is in bags the rate of application 20
ml (1 table spoon) spread evenly on the surface of the bed.
44.

13

Anthurium: A Manual for Small Holder Production in Fiji

Care and maintenance


Fertilizer and fertilizing

45.
The media into which anthuriums are planted provides very little nutrients for the
plant. It is important that your anthuriums be supplied with moderate but consistent
levels of complete fertiliser.
46.
Fertilizer is absorbed trough a plants roots and leaves. However, anthurium
leaves contain a thick layer of wax and thus do not absorb fertilizer particularly well
(Anthura 1998 p, 53). It is for this reason that most large commercial anthurium
operations fertilizer via their trickle irrigation system. High cost precludes this as an
option for small growers in Fiji.
Main elements

47.

The three main elements in fertilizer:

Nitrogen (N) (for healthy green leaf growth - this element is required in the
greatest amount).
Phosphorous (P) (for strong roots and stems)
Potash (potassium) (K) (for fruiting and flowering).

A typical soluble (dissolves in water) NPK fertiliser for anthuriums has the following
analysis: 12:5:15 - which means it contains 12% nitrogen, 5% phosphorous and 15%
potassium.
Trace elements

48.
The plant requires trace elements in minute quantities: these are iron
(Fe), manganese (Mn), zinc (Zn), boron (B), copper (Cu) and molybdenum
(Mo). Trace elements are usually included in slow release formulations. These are also
soluble trace element formulations (eg Yeates Gro-Plus() Trace Element Mix), which can
be applied on a quarterly basis.
49.
Magnesium requirements in anthurium plant tissue are higher than for most
foliage crops, particularly in warmer climates (Oglesby Plants International Anthurium
www.oglesbytc.com/CultureInfolanthurium.htm ). You expect your anthurium plant to
last many years. Thus special attention needs to be paid to the long term availability of
magnesium. Under Fiji conditions the addition of a small quantity (112 table spoon per
plant) of dolomite lime applied every six months does the trick. Dolomite contains
magnesium and calcium and assists the release of these elements from other sources.

Organic
fertiliser

50.
Chemical (inorganic) fertiliser programs can be supplemented by
regular application of soluble organic fertiliser in the form of seaweed and fish
formulations. This will help stimulate root development, enhance healthy
plant growth and flowering and increase resistance to disease and fungal attack. Organic
fertilisers should be a commercial product (eg Earth Care Seasol). The use of
uncomposted chicken, horse or cow manure can introduce disease into your plants.

14

Anthurium: A Manual for Small Holder Production in Fiji

The pH of the
growing media

51.

Soil (or planting media) pH is a measure of acidity or alkalinity. pH


can range from 0 to 14, with 7 being neutral (neither acid or alkaline). The
lower the pH below 7 the more acid ("sour") the soil and the higher the pH
above 7 the more alkaline the soil. Different plants have different pH requirements.
Anthuriums like somewhat acid conditions - the pH in the media should lie between 5.5
to 6.5. A media made from rice husks and qanibulu will lie in this range. However, the
constant use of inorganic fertiliser and tap water for irrigation has an acidifying effect If
the growing media becomes too acid essential micro elements are not released to the
plant and aluminium toxicity can occur. Some Fiji growers have had this problem,
resulting in substantial plant losses. The problem was simply overcome through the
addition of dolomite (112 table spoon per plant) to the growing media every 6 months.
Dolomite slowly dissolves over time, helping to counteract the acidifying effects of
fertilizers and tap water and supplies the plant with calcium and magnesium needed for
healthy growth. The Koronivia Research Station can test the pH level of your growing
media.

52.
There are two ways to apply fertilizer to anthuriums: one is in soluble
form through the leaves and aerial roots (foliar fertiliser) and the other via
pelletised slow release fertilizer to the roots. Standard NPK fertiliser applied
to crops like dalo should not be used for anthuriums as it will bum the roots. Some Fiji
growers have learned this lesson from bitter experience.

Fertiliser
application

Foliar fertilizer

The basic principle is to apply a weak solution ('/4 to Y2 normal


strength) often. Most growers in Fiji use two formulations of chemical foliar
53.

fertilizer:
F60 Soluble NPK 20:9:17 - plus trace elements (used on a weekly basis on young
plants prior to flowering).
F67 ("booster") Soluble N:P:K 13:12:22 - plus trace elements (used on weekly
basis when flowering commences).
54.
Foliar fertiliser is usually applied via a 6 litre pressure sprayer. A watering can
also be used - but this tends to waste fertiliser. The application rate is 10 ml (2 tea
spoon/6 litre). Both the leaves and the aerial roots should be spayed with anthuriums
the absorption of nutrients through the aerial roots is likely to be stronger than the leaves.
55.
It is recommended that soluble fish or seaweed fertilizer be applied monthly at the
rate of 15 ml of concentrate per 6litres. Again apply to both the leaves and the aerial
roots.
Slow release

56_
Slow release pellets are applied at time of planting your anthuriums.
The application rate is 5 ml per plant for anthuriums planted in bags and 10 ml
per plant for anthuriums planted in beds. Most Fiji growers use nutricote() (N=13:
P=5.7: K=10.8: Mg=1.2 plus trace elements). Depending on the formulation, slow
release fertiliser can last 6 to 12 months before reapplication is required.

15

Anthurium: A Manual for Small Holder Production in Fiji

Detecting nutrient disorders

57.
To detect nutrient
disorders plants should be frequently inspected for leaf colour,
growth rate, new shoot activity, root activity, flower yield and flower quality. If your
plant is not producing at least 6 good quality flowers per year you are likely to have
nutritional problems. There could be other factors at play such as the quality of the
planting media or pest and diseases. However,
susceptibility to pest and diseases can be related
to poor nutrition.
58.
Healthy mature anthurium leaves will be
dark green in colour with a waxy appearance.
The new leaves are a light shiny green. A
number of bright aerial roots, often red in
colour, will protrude from the stem of a healthy
anthurium plant. Anthuria (p, 51) describes
the symptoms of various deficiencies as:
element
Nitrogen (N)

symptoms
Necrosis (dead tissue) spots on the leaves and a yellowing of the old
leaves.

Phosphate (P)

The edges of the old leaves turn yellow. The young leaves have a
hard, dark green colour and are much smaller than the younger
leaves.

Potassium (K)

The old leaves look chlorotic (lose their normal green colour) among
the veins, while the general leaf colour turn light green. The young
leaf is smaller with a reddish or dark green colour. The flowers
reveal blue edges and/or spots in spathe with red and orange varieties.
The flowers of light coloured cultivars have a glassy appearance.

Calcium (Ca)

Deficiencies show up in young leaves as irregular, chlorotic spots.


The leaves become pointed in shape.

Magnesium (Mg) A deficiency shows up in the form of yellowing of old leaves along
the main veins. The veins often remain green in colour.
The best way to determine the nutrient status of your anthuriums is to undertake a leaf
tissue analysis. This service is available at the Koronivia Research Station. Laboratory
leaf analysis would help determine optimum fertiliser programs and identify possible
nutrient disorders or imbalances.

16

Anthurium: A Manual for Small Holder Production in Fiji

Watering requirements
Anthuriums 59.
prefer evenly moist media, which must be well drained. Thus in dry
periods it is necessary to water every day. It is better to slightly under water than over
water. Drying out can cause leaf tip burn, root damage and reduced growth rates. Over
watering can cause root rot and sudden yellowing of the older leaves - anthuriums will
not tolerate prolonged saturation of the planting media. All anthuriums in Fiji are
grown in the open. Thus during periods of prolonged and heavy rain over watering
cannot be avoided, making good drainage even the more important. Root rot can
become a serious problem when old media decomposes into soil_ At this stage the media
needs to be replaced or at least supplemented.
There are a number of irrigation options available to growers:

60.

Natural irrigation through rainfall, supplemented by a watering can during dry


period. This least cost option is adopted by most Fiji growers. Hand watering
also offers the grower the opportunity to inspect individual plants for indications
of pest disease or nutritional problems.
Over head sprinklers. The use of mister sprinklers is recommended as it creates
conditions similar to the natural
rain forest environment of
anthuriums. Several Fiji growers
have adopted this system.
Ground sprinklers that apply water
to the root system without wetting
the leaves. Keeping the leaves dry
restricts the spread of bacterial
disease. For beds a ground
irrigation system can be achieved
with "spitters" mounted on risers
30 cm above the ground. A more
sophisticated system can be
adopted for pots - where there is a single dripper spike per pot.

In larger commercial anthurium operations fertiliser application is also through the


irrigation systems. This is not an option for Fiji's growers because of the costs involved.
Pest and disease management
There are a number of pests and diseases that impact on anthuriums in Fiji. These
64.
need to be managed if good commercial results are to be achieved.
Most pests and diseases have natural enemies that should be encouraged as part of
65.
an integrated pest management (1PM) approach. IPM is an old concept that is back in
favour with increasing health and environmental concerns from the misuse and over use

17

Anthurium: A Manual for Small Holder Production in Fiji

of chemical pesticides. Before synthetic chemical pesticides were developed, pests were
managed by various means including:
application of mineral oils, soaps and plant extracts;
use of natural predators, barriers, traps and trap crops;
modifying cultural practices affecting crop environments; and,
utilising sanitation and quarantine (isolation) practices.
Knowing the "enemy" and predicting its occurrence is critical for successful pest
63.
and disease management. Growers should be able to identify potentially damaging
organisms and what effect they have in your plants. Certain fungal diseases thrive in
wanner conditions with high humidity, while others favour cool damp conditions.
Sticky yellow cards suspended above the plants can be used to gauge populations of
flying insects such as thrips and white flies. There should be regular inspection of the
plants and their media for non-flying insects such as aphids, mites, mealy bugs and slugs.
Some pests leave tell tale signs of their presence even if they are not seen. Slugs leave
slim trails and sucking and chewing insects damage leaves in particular ways.
64.
Plants should also be inspected often for indicators of diseases, such as rotted
roots and stems; yellowed or spotted leaves or flowers; and blemishes on the leaves and
flowers.
Cultural control practices
Disease free
planting
material

65.
Clean planting material should always be used. Plants that were
imported by SSO from Holland are certified disease free. However, practices
must be followed to keep the plants disease free.

66.
Fiji growers often use "keikis" (small plants taken from a mature plant) for
replanting. Care must be taken to only plant healthy looking off-shoots with a strong root
system already developing. However, there is no guarantee that these are disease free.
67.
Within the shade house, strict sanitation is critical if disease problems
are to be minimised. The shade house should be kept free of fallen leaves and
flowers, sick and dead plants, and weeds. There should be a weekly program for
removing all these items as they can be reservoirs for diseases and pests. Once removed
they should be burnt or buried.

Sanitation

68.
Try and minimise the entry of people into the shade house as they can bring in
disease from outside. Do not let cats and dogs into your shade house. Workers should
wear clean clothes every day and regularly clean their foot wear. Large commercial
operations have very strict rules regarding the entry of people into the green house. For
example requirements for Anthura in Holland are (p, 92):
+ Use visitor coats and shoes for those visiting operations.
Have visitors wash their hands thoroughly with disinfectant soap or use a gel
containing alcohol.

18

Anthurium: A Manual for Small Holder Production in Fiji

Make sure there is a disinfect tray near the door, so that visitors can disinfect their
shoes.

69.
Adopting the measures of Anthura are
not practical for Fiji's small growers - but the
same sanitation principles should apply. You
must continually disinfect the implements you
use for cutting your plants. Dip your cutter in
concentrated soapy water solution (1 cap of dish
washing detergent per 500 ml) or bleach
solution each time you move to a new plant.
Also wash your hands in soapy water each time
you move to work with a new plant.
70.
Prevent plants from becoming stressed
(too dry over watering, too much or too little
fertiliser). Stressed plants are more susceptible to disease.
Pruning leaves

You should clip off all excess leaves to improve the air flow to reduce
fungal problems. Three or even two leaves are sufficient. You also get less
flowers if you have too many leaves.
71.

Chemical control measures

72.
Chemical pesticides have a place when other effective alternatives are not
available. They should be used to the minimum extent necessary to avoid serious plant
losses and used in a way that has the least adverse consequences on beneficial organisms.
It is not worth using pesticides on minor problems that don't have a significant impact on
your production. The pesticide will kill your pest, but it may also kill all the useful
insects. It's a bit like firing a shotgun at night into your chicken house to kill a mongoose
that is somewhere in there! If you are to use chemicals you need to wear protective
clothing, gloves, boots and a face mask.
Types ofpesticides

73. You need to understand the different types of insecticides:

contact sprays are those that kill the insect when spayed on its exterior
surface;
residual sprays are those that remain active on the plant surface for several
days and provide longer term control of pests; and,
systemic sprays are those that are absorbed by the plant and kill the insect
when it sucks the sap.

Diseases
Anthurium
blight

Anthurium blight is probably the most serious disease in anthuriums_


This bacterial disease devastated the Hawaii anthurium industry in the 1980s.
It has not been officially identified as present in Fiji. However, growers need
74.

19

Anthurium: A Manual for Small Holder Production in Fiji

to be continually vigilant for its presence.


75.
The first symptoms are small, scattered, irregulatly shaped, water soaked spots
that are more pronounced on the underside of the leaves (Higaki et.al . p, 13). They may
take a long time to enlarge but eventually they cover the entire leaf margin and invade the
center of the leaf. Mature lesions (scares) are black and usually surrounded by a bright
yellow halo. If the anthurium becomes systemically infected, the plant will show signs of
yellowing, stunting and loss of lower leaves. Eventually the infected plants die.
Avoidance of this disease is the most effective control. You need to frequently look for
early symptoms of Anthurium blight. In Hawaii some growers report effective control by
removing leaves that show symptoms. Limit overhead irrigation to reduce pathogen
spread. Also remember that aroids such as dieffenbachia and dalo via are a host for the
blight.
Root rot

76.
Root rot is a common disease problem in anthurium. It can be caused
by range of fungal pathogens, including Pythium sp., Phytophtora sp., and
Fusarium sp.
77.
The symptoms of root rot are reduced plant height, smaller leaves and flowers,
lack of leaf and flower sheen and general lack of plant vigour. In extreme cases of root
rot all the root that have entered the media will be dead. The plant can continue to linger
on through nutrients secured through the leaves - but is unlikely to produce any
worthwhile flowers.
78.
Root rot is usually caused by poor drainage in the media. Old media that has
decomposed into soil will have poor drainage and root rot is common. Too much sand in
media mix can also result in poor drainage. Continual over-watering can cause root rot.
This can be a problem for growers located in the Suva area. All the more important that
your anthuriums are planted in a free draining media.
79.
Roots that have been damaged by fertiliser are more susceptible to root rot.
Damage caused by burrowing nematodes (Radopholus similis) result in root rots by
allowing the entry of fungal pathogens. Nematodes are microscopic worms (eelworms)
that feed on roots. The burrowing nematode is a common pest for ginger in Fiji. Thus
this pest might be expected to cause problems for anthurium growers.
80.
Maintaining good drainage is the key to avoiding root rot problems. Every 3 to 4
months old decomposed media that has accumulated at the bottom of the bag should be
removed and replaced with new media. This will remove some of the fertiliser and any
pesticide residues that have accumulated at the bottom of the bag. At the time of
supplementing the media any rotten roots should be clipped off Make sure you disinfect
your clippers as you move between plants.
81.
When anthuriums are planted in beds it is not so practical to remove the old
decomposed media. Thus every 6 months or so the media in bed should be topped up

20

Anthurium: A Manual for Small Holder Production in Fiji

with new media. Every 3 or 4 years all the media in the bed will have to replaced with
clean fresh media.

82,
The regular spraying of a weak bleach solution (20 ml janolall 0 litres water) is a
cheap effective way of controlling the spread of fungal diseases. During extended wet
periods twice weekly application is recommended - otherwise once a week is sufficient
Some growers in Fiji regularly (once a week) apply fungicide (eg Lanosan) to reduce
the level of fungal diseases. However, fungicides will not solve the problem in situations
were the drainage is poor.
81
Each time you supplement the media the bag should also be given a good shake to
allow for aeration. Once a month and after a continuous period of rain the bags should be
shaken. Shaking the bags must be a regular part of your anthurium work routine.
Stem rot

84.
Another serious fungal problem
encountered in anthuriums is stem rot.
This is probably caused by the pathogen Fusarium sp.
which is the result of poor drainage. The plant base
rots away and eventually collapses. As soon as stem
rot is detected the whole plant should be removed and
properly disposed of along with media. The bag
should be washed and sterilised in janola solution
before it is used again.
_...Spadix rot
Anthracnose (black nose or spadix rot) is another fungal disease. It is
85.
the same disease that causes mangoes in Suva to go black during continual wet weather.
This disease effects the tiny individual flowers on the spadix. It starts as a small dark
spot and then spreads over the spadix. This discolouration makes the flower

21

Anthurium: A Manual for Small Holder Production in Fiji

unmarketable. The fungal spores are produced in large numbers and are spread by drops
of water and by insects. The disease will spread rapidly if plants are closely placed.
Thus it is important to regularly cut excess leaves to improve aeration_ Regular
application of janola will help to control anthracnose. If the incidence of the disease
continues to be high a weekly application of a fungicide such as Lanosan is appropriate.
Make sure you follow the directions on the label closely.
Pests

These are the soft bodied insects that


multiply rapidly and suck the juices from plant
reducing its vigour. They can also adversely
affect plant health indirectly by secondary infections. Sooty
mould is a fungal disease that appears as black dusty layer on
the leaves of the plant and reduces photosynthesis. Aphids
excrete a sugar substance known as honeydew, which is an
ideal media for sooty mold development. Ants feed off
honeydew and spread sooty mould as a result. Ants will
often "herd" aphids, and other insects such as mealy bugs, as
a source of food. If you notice ants travelling up and down
your anthuriums find out what they are doing there - they might be tending their aphid
"farm". If so the aphids should be removed.

Aphids and

thrips

86.

87.
Thrips bore through the cells and suck up the juices. The damage shows up as
motley blotches on the flowers. Severe damage can cause the leaves to become fragile
and to disfigure. Aphids also suck plant sap and inject toxic substances that affect plant
growth. Aphids are also known to transmit viruses.

88. There are beneficial insects that help control aphids and thrips. These include
ladybird beetles. Controlling the ants that herd the aphids will usually significantly
reduce the population. Banding the legs of benches with petroleum jelly or "stickum"
can serve as a barrier to ants.
89.
Because aphids and thrips are soft bodied and slow moving they are relatively
easy to kill. However, they are persistent and they build up into large populations in a
short period of time (less than a week). Thus you need to continually check for them.
Insecticidal soaps and ultra fine oils (white oil) are effective. For small growers
recycling soapy water used for washing your cloths or dishes can give good results,
particularly if some coconut oil is added. The objective is to suffocate or repel the insect.
This will also help wash the mould off the tree and save water. Another good organic
answer is to spray the plant with some flour mixed in water - this will dry and trap the
insect in batter! Systemic insecticides such as Orthene, can be used to counter large
build ups of aphids and thrips. Make sure you follow the directions on the packet. Two
applications at 10 day intervals are usually necessary to be effective, to account for any
eggs that might have hatched following the first application. Contact insecticides such
as Malathion, mixed with an oil spray can be effective against leaf sucking insects and
the ants that herd them.
22

Anthurium: A Manual for Small Holder Production in Fiji

90.
Many plants are hosts for aphids and thrips and reinfestation can occur quickly.
Thus it is important to remove all weeds from in and around your shade house.
Scale insects are firmly
stuck to the plant - they are
either armoured and soft scales.
Armoured scales live, feed and lay their
eggs under a hard protective covering.
This cover is nonliving and is either round
or oval shaped. Soft scale insects have a
soft cover. Adolescent scales attach
themselves to the leaves of the plants,
where it inserts its needle like mouth part to extract juices. Mealy bugs cover themselves
in white cotton wool substance that makes them even easier to detect. These sucking
insects that tend to congregate at the base and axils of anthurium leaves. They can also
be found in the roots. Scales and mealybugs excrete honeydew and thus are tended by
ants leading to more concentrated infestations.

Scales and
mealy bugs

91.

Severe infestations of these pests weaken, and even kill plants. The leaves may
92.
turn yellow and drop early. Soft scales are easier to control than their protected cousins.
Armoured scaled insects are mainly spread by infected plants. You need to be very
careful in sourcing planting material from other growers - you should inspect closely for
the presence of scales.
Early detection of scales and mealy bug infestations, before they get out of
93.
control, is critical for the management of these pest. Once they become established they
are very difficult to manage. You can push them off with your thumb nail. A cotton bud,
soaked with methylated spirits that dissolves the waxy covering, is a good for getting at
mealybugs hidden deep down in the leaf sheaths. All scale insects have to lift their shell
every 15 to 20 minutes to breath and can be suffocated by oily substances. Recycled
washing and dishwashing water with some added coconut oil can work wonders.
Insecticides are generally ineffective against those infesting the roots.
Mites

Red spider mites are a major insect problem for Fiji growers. These
94.
minute sap sucking pests feed off the softer leaves and cause damage to the
stems and flowers. They cause a silvery white film to appear on the leaf where they have
killed the cells. Mites cause browning of the underside of the leaves and at the end of the
spathe. They cause young leaves and buds to wither. They spin a characteristic silken
web. In time these areas turn black as the injured plant tissue oxidises and is invaded by
infection. With severe damage the leaves look dried out and have a yellow
decolourisation. Cutting off old leaves also helps control spider mites. Damage is
visible on the flowers in the form of brown dots on the spathe. A similar pest is the false
red spider mite, but they don't spin the characteristic silken webs of red spider mites.
95.
Early detection of spider mites is critical for effective control. They can be
detected by tiny red specks associated with the silvering of leaves. Natural enemies such
23

Anthurium: A Manual for Small Holder Production in Fiji

as ladybird beetles can help control mites. However, for large populations it may be
necessary to use a miticide at two weekly intervals sprayed on the underside of the leaves
and flowers. Other pesticides will not help - they will only kill the ladybirds and make
things worse.
96.
These pests can turn up at any time and do a lot of damage fast. They
can incur a huge wound in one night. They also spread disease between plants
and feeding wounds provide an entry point for disease.

Snails and slugs

97.
Snails and slugs are active at night. During the day, they are found hidden in
plants, in plant debris and under rocks and pots. After rain they can be found foraging
during daylight. Constant vigilance is required to keep snails and slugs under control.
The first line of defence against snails and slugs is sanitation. You need to remove all
plant debris from the vicinity of your shade house and destroy all potential hiding places.
Look for them under pots. Use a torch light to find them at night and to kill them.
Mollusc pests are repelled by any form of copper (a metal or as copper hydroxide). Thus
copper bands around the legs benches can serve as an effective barrier to snails coming
up from the ground.
98.
Chemical baits (molluscides), such as Slugout, can also be used. It should be
applied immediately after symptoms appear in the affected area, following the
manufacturer's directions.
99.
Caterpillars can cause major damage to
your anthuriums by chewing large holes in the
flowers and young leaves. If you have a severe infestation
can be controlled by a contact insecticide. However, it is
preferable for small growers doing there regular daily rounds
to remove these offending critters by hand.

Caterpillars

Harvesting and postharvest handling


100. The life of cut flower anthuriums depends on both the
conditions prior to harvesting and how they are handled after
harvesting. Dutch anthuriums are renowned for their vase life. Healthy flowers that are
well handled should last three weeks before wilting and discolouring. A vase life of only
a week can be expected if the flowers are improperly handled after harvesting. The
main causes of premature flower wilt are premature harvesting water absorption
disruption along the stem. This is often caused by microbial contamination of the broken
or cut stem ends.
Ripening of anthurium flowers starts at the bottom of the spadix
101.
and moves upwards. As the ripen proceeds the spadix discolours. For
most varieties, when half to three quarters of the spadix is discoloured the
flower is ready to harvest. There is some varietal difference in this measure of maturity.
For Midori the flowers ripen quicker - at 50 percent discolouration of the spadix Midori
flowers are ready to cut. Whereas Linda de Mol should have 90 percent discolouration

Ripening of the
anthurium flower

24

Anthurium:A Manual for Small Holder Production in Fiji

before it is cut (Anthura p, 79). To make sure you don't harvest prematurely check that
the stem directly beneath the flower will be hard and firm. Harvesting unripe flowers
will significantly reduce the vase life.

Not ready to harvest

Ready to harvest

102.
Despite the exceptionally long vase life of anthuriums they are easily damaged.
Thus you need to be very careful in harvesting and packing. Always use a sharp knife or
sharp clippers. The stem is cut diagonally near the bottom. The aim is to cut the stem at
maximum length. You should dip your clip in a strong soapy water solution between
each cut. The flowers should be placed in a bucket of clean water as soon as possible.
103. During your harvesting round you should also cut all your damaged flowers. Use
these in your house - they should not be sold.
104.

Your flowers are grade in terms of size (measured as diameter below the spadix):
miniature < 2 in
small 2 to 3 in
medium 3 to 4 in
large 4 to 6 in
jumbo > 6in

Flowers with defects should not be included.


105. You must be careful not to damage your anthuriums in carrying them to the
wholesale
buying points at
St Andrew's
Church in Suva
or at the SSO
facility in Nasau
Nadi. Your
graded flowers
should be laid
flat in a plastic
container for

25

Anthurium: ^ Manual for Small Holder Production in Fiji

transportation. A suitable container can be purchased from MI-Is for $25 each.
these will be sufficient for a small grower.

Two of

106. Florists who receive their anthuriums by overnight courier should immediately
unpack them. Another 1/2 cm should be cut from the stems under water. Thereafter
regular fine misting with clean water help maintain freshness.
Markets and marketing
107. A large and growing local market exists for anthuriums. A good tourist carry-on
market opportunity currently exists for anthuriums. A limited niche market is available
in New Zealand. For the future a market could be developed in Australia, once Fiji has
an adequate production base and if prices can be reduced.
Tourism

108. Hawaii provides a guide to the demand for flowers that can be generated by a
flower orientated tourism industry. However, to achieve this level of demand would
require the development of flower culture within the hotel sector. Tourist arrivals have
now returned to around 400, 000. Hawaii has also shown the potential of the "carry-on"
trade with departing tourists, particularly from Japan. Anthuriums are permitted into the
source countries of Fiji tourists, with the current exception of New Zealand_ The
lightweight, beauty and long vase life make anthuriums an ideal carry on item. Japanese
visitors in particular are frustrated that they cannot buy suitable gift items.
Local market

109. All communities place a high value on flowers for special occasions and
household beautification. Growth in the urban middle class has seen this demand expand
rapidly. Meeting this demand has been constrained by the absence of a wholesale market
to distribute production, erratic supply, and high prices. The SSO production and
marketing system is starting to overcome these constraints. In 2002 61, 869 =thorium
stems were sold. In 2003 the number sold increased to 83, 487, a 35 percent increase.
110. It is estimated that the volume of anthuriums sold on the local market could
readily reach 120, 000 stems at current prices if the supply was available. If there is
continued strong growth in the economy it is projected that the local demand for
anthuriums could exceed 200, 000 stems annually within 5 years.
Marketing arrangements

111. A major constraint to the development of the industry was the absence of a
wholesale market, where the small growers could sell their cut flowers and the small
florists could readily source their supplies. Both were spending a lot of time and energy
trying to find each other and there was no market growth.

26

Anthurium: A Manual for Small Holder Production in Fiji

112. To overcome this marketing constraint a wholesale cut flower market (orchids
and anthuriums) was established by SSO in 2001. There are now two SSO wholesale
market outlets - one located at Nasau Nadi (SSO farm) and one situated underneath St
Andrews Presbyterian Church Suva. Growers bring their cut flowers to the wholesale
market on their designated
day. At the end of each
month the growers are paid
for previous month's delivery
at predetermined prices.
113. Florists have standing
orders with the wholesale
market, which they collect on
their designated day. If
supplies are short, flowers
that are available are shared
pro-rata amongst the florists.
If available supply exceeds
standing orders then the
surplus is available on a first
come first served basis. A 30 percent margin (difference between the grower price and
the wholesale price) applies to cover the cost of operating the wholesale market. The
wholesale market has meant that orderly marketing has replaced a previously chaotic
marketing situation. The growers can now concentrate their energies entirely on
producing quality cut flowers. The florists can now aggressively promote their products
assured that a dependable supply base at a reasonable price is in place.
Growing anthuriums as a small business
114. Simple financial models are presented for a micro anthurium grower (200 plants)
and a small dendrobium grower (2,000 plants). The micro 200 enterprise would be of
sufficient size to provide some supplementary cash income for a village based grower or
for a part-time urban grower. The small enterprise is seen of sufficient scale to provide a
basic income for a household.
Start-up cost

115. To establishment cost of the micro anthurium enterprise is approximately $1,500


and the small enterprise around $13,000 (table 2). This is based a bag on bench
production system. It includes the cost of the shade house, the plants and inputs for the
first year of operation.

27

Anthurium: A Manual for Small Holder Production in Fiji

Table 2: Establishment cost of small and micro enterprise anthurium production (bag on bench system)
200 bags
2,000 bags
Cost(5)
Shade house
Quantity and prices
Cost (5) Quantity and prices
Pine posts

4posts (4mx15)@$24/post

#8 wire

2 kgs @ $4.50/18

Salon cloth (50% Shade)

15 roll (385 m x 1.5m) @ $385

96.00
9.00

720.00

30 posts
15 kgs

67.50

57.75

1 roll

385.00

Gravel for potting and floor

.25 m @ $154hn

38.50

3.5 m

261.80

Welded mesh for bences

4 x 8m @$750 each

30.00

30

225.00

Concrete building blocks

50 @ $1

50.00

200

200.00

Clips

10 @ $1

10.00

75

75.00

Nais

1kg @ $4.50/kg

4.50

7.5kgs

33.75

1 inch chicken wire

113 of a roll @ $90/roll

29.70

2.5 roils

225.00

Labour cost

1 skilled supervisor for 2 days @$50/day

100.00

5 days

250.00

(household to supply its own labour)


Total shade house cost

2,443.05

425.45

Other capital costs


Anthurium plants

220 @$4 each

Plastic potting bags

880.00

2,200

8,800.00

200 @ 35c eah

70.00

2,000

700.00

Rice husks for potting media

10 bags @3/bag

30.00

100 bags

300.00

1 year fertiliser requirement

3 x 300gm pkt foliar NPK @ $13

39.00

30 x 300gm pid

390.00

14.00

20 X 50gm pld

140.00

15.00

5 X 50gm pkt

75.00

8.00

10 x 451tr

40.00

25.00

50.00

20.00

40.00

4.00

5 x $2

10.00

1 x 5 Itre

75.00

X 50gm pkt slow release fert @ $7

1 year fungicide/perticide requirement

1 X 50gm pkt lanosan

bleach (cleaning gravel and fungicide)

2 x 4.51tr @ $4

Seceteurs

1 @$25

Watering can

1 x 5 litre

Plastic bucket

2 x $2

Cm

$20

$15

Pressure spray
Protective clothing for spraying chemicals (masWciothing)
Total other costs

Total capital cost

30.00

50.00

1135.00

10,670.00

1,560.45

13,113.05

116. If the small enterprise opted for beds rather than benches there would be some
reduction in the capital cost. Less would be spent on plants and there be no expenditure
on welded mesh and planter bags. More bags of rice husks would be required.
Production

117. Your anthuriums should start flowering 6 to 8 months after planting and reach
maturity after about 12 to 14 months. Your anthuriums will be fully grown plants in 20
to 24 months_ In the first year it assumed that each plant will produce 2 small flowers.
In the second year each plant producers an average of 5 flowers; of which 30 percent of
the flowers are small, 50 percent medium and 20% large. Full production is achieved in
the third year, with an average of 8 flowers per plant (40% medium and 60% large). It
assumed that this level of production is maintained indefinitely.

28

Anthurium: A Manual for Small Holder Production in Fiji

Table 3: Projected annual production from the micro and small anthurium enterprises
7
2
3
5
6
Year
1
4
Micro enterprise model
200
Number of plants
200
200
200
200
200
200
8
8
8
8
Number of stems per plant/year
2
5
8
Total number of stems
400 1,000
L600 1,600 1,600 1,600 1,600
300
0
0
0
Small blooms (>2" dia)
400
0
0
640
500
640
640
640
Medium blooms (3-4")
640
Large blooms (>4")
960
960
960
200
960
960
Small enterprise model
2,000
Number of plants
2,000
2,000
2,000 2,000 2,000 2,000
Number of stems per plant/year
5
8
8
8
8
2
8
Total number of stems
4,000 10,000 16,000 16,000 16,000 16,000 16,000
0
0
0
0
Small blooms (>2" dia)
4,000
3,000
0
6,400
5,000
6,400
6,400
6,400
6,400
Medium blooms (3-4")
2,000 9,600 9,600 9,600 9,600 9,600
Large blooms (>4")

10

200

200
8
1,600
0
640
960

200
8
1,600
0

8
1,600

0
640

960

640

960

2,000 2,000
8
8
16,000
16,000
16,000
0
0
0
6,400
6,400 6,400
9,600 9,600 9,600
2,000
8

Prices

118. The current (May 2004) SSO anthurium grower prices are used in the model.
Size
Price/stem
Large (4 in +)
$0.70
Medium (3 - 4 in)
$0.60
Small (2 - 3 in)
$0.38
Mini (< 2 in)
$0.15
Cash flow projections

119. Ten-year cash flow projections for the two models, not allowing for any debt
servicing, are presented in table 4. Both models achieve a small surplus in the second
year, which reaches a maximum in year 3 of $1,000 and $9,300 respectively. The
average annual cash flow for the two enterprises are approximately $690 and $6,800
respectively. In both of these models it is assumed that only household labour is used that is no wages are paid to hired labour. The average return per day of this labour is
$11.50 for the micro enterprise and $20 for the small enterprise. The difference can be
explained by the greater labour efficiency of the larger shade house_ It is of note that the
return to labour from the anthurium enterprises are somewhat lower than that estimated
for the dendrobium orchid enterprises 2.

For the dendrobium orchid enterprises the estimated average return per day of household labour is $15.60
for the micro enterprise and $29.40 for the small enterprise (South Sea Orchids 2003)

29

Anthurium: A Manual for Small Holder Production in Fiji

Table 4: Cash flow projections for micro and small anthuritun growing
Year

10

Total

400
152
0
0
0
0
152

300

0
0
640
384
960
672
1,056

0
0
640
384
960
672
1,056

0
0
640

0
640
384
960
672
1,056

0
640
384
960
672
1,056

0
640
384
960
672
1,056

0
0
640
384
960
672

700
266
5,620
3,372
7,880
5,516
9,154

Micro enterprise (200 plants)


Revenue
Small blooms tt
Revenue (S) @ 38c/bloom)
Medium spray #
Revenue (S) @60cl bloom
Large spray #
Revenue (S) @70c/bloom)
Total revenue (S)
Expenses
Shade house (from table 2)
Plants
Other capital items
Fertiliser and other agri chemicals
Rice husk replacement
Total expenses
Cash flow
Labour inputs
Cutting coconut husks for media
Mixing media and planting
Daily husbandy (watering, fertilising vet)
Harvesting, grading and marketing
Total labour input
Average annual cash flow (S)

114
500
300
200

140
554

425
880
179
76

76
15
76
1,560
-1408 478
Person days
2
2

50
4
58

Average return per day of family labour

76
15
76
980

76
15
76

980

2
50
7
57
691

50
10
62

76
15
76
980

640
384
960
672
1,056

76
15
76
980

2
50
10
60

50
10
62

384
960
672
1,056

76
15
76
980

76
15
76
980

76
15
76
980

2
50
10
60

1,056

15

425
880
179
760
135

76
980

2,244
6.910

76

2
50
10
62

500

50
10
60

91
603

0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
6,400 6,400 6,400 6,400 6,400 6,400 6,400 6,400
3,840 3,840 3,840 3,840 3.840 3,840 3,840 3,840
9,600 9,600 9,600 9,600 9,600 9,600
9,600 9,600
6,240 6,240 6,240 6,240 6,240 6,240 6,240 6,240
10,080 10,080 10,080 10,080 10,080 10,080 10,080 10,080

7,000
2,660
56,200
33,720
78,800
51,220
87,600

50
10
62

50
10
60

10
2

11.5

Small enterprise (2,000 plants)


Revenue
Small blooms It
Revenue (S) @ 38c/bloom)
Medium spray it
Revenue (S) @60dblom
Large spray #
Revenue (S) @ 70c/bloom)
Total revenue (S)
Expenses
Shade house (from table 2)
Plants
Other capital items
Fertiliser and other agrichemicals
Rice husk replacement
Total expenses
Cash flow
Labour inputs
Cutting coconut husks for media
Mixing media and planting
Daily husbandy (watering, fertilising ed.)
Harvesting, grading and marketing
Total labour input
Average annual cash flow (S)

Average return per day of family labour

4,000
1,520
0
0
0
0
1,520
2,443
8,800
1,265
605

3,000
1,140
5,000

3,000
2,000
1,300
5,440

2,443
8, 800
605

150
13,113
755
-11,593 4,685
15
18
300
30
363

300
30
330
6,769

605
150
755
9,325

300
30
330

605
150
755
9,325

300
30
330

605

605

150
755
9,325

150
755
9,325

300
30
330

300
30
330

605
150
755
9,325

300
30
330

605
150
755
9,325

300
30
330

605
150
755
9,325

1,265
605 6,050
150 1,350
755 19,908
9,325 67,692

300
30
330

15
18
3,000
300
3,333

20

30

300
30
330

Anthurium: A Manual for Small Holder Production in Fiji

Table 5: Cash flow projections for micro and small anthurium growing with debt servicing
1
2
3
6
4
5
7
Micro enterprise model
980
980
Cash flow before debt servicing
-1,408
478
980
980
980
332
332
332
Repayment on $1,600 loan (@81'o interest)
332
332
332
Cash flow after debt servicing
-1,408
146
648
648
648
648
648
417
417
417
Repayment on $1,600 loan (@13.5% interest)
417
417
417
Cash flow after debt servicing
-1,408
61
563
563
563
563
563

10

Total

980
332

980

980

6,910

648
417

980

980

563

980

980

9,325
2,016
7,309
2,616
6,709

9,325
2,016
7.309

9,325 67,692
2,016 18,617
7,309 49,075

9,325

9,325 49,380

2,323
4,586
2,919
3,990

Small enterprise model

Cash flow before debt servicing


-11,593
Repayment on 813,200 loan (@8% interest)
Cash flow after debt servicing
-11,593
Repayment on $13,200 loan (@13.5% interest)
Cash flow after debt servicing
-11,593
Financing and paying

4,685
2,489
2.196
2,616

2,069

9,325
2,016
7,309
2,616
6,709

9,325
2,016
7,309
2,616
6,709

9,325
2,016
7,309

9,325

9,325

2,016

2,016

7,309

2,616

2,616

6,709

6,709

7,309
2,616
6,709

18,312

off your loan

120. The start-up capital requirements were estimated at $1,600 and $13,200 for the
micro and small enterprise respectively. Table 5 shows cash flow projections after debt
servicing if these funds are borrowed. Two interest rates are applied: 8% (the subsidized
rate for indigenous Fijian) and 13.5% (the current FDB rate for commercial loans). It is
assumed that loan repayment commence in year 2 and are repaid over 7 years. Both
these enterprises could service these loans with relatively little difficulty.

31

Anthurium: A Manual for Small Holder Production in Fiji

Glossary of Terms

cash flow

The difference between money received and money spent

contact insecticides

Are those that kill the insect when it is sprayed on its exterior
surface

debt servicing

The ability to repay a loan taken to establish the enterprise

foliar fertilizer

Fertilizer applied through the leaves

genus (singular); genera (plural)

A division of the plant family which groups together similar


species

gross margin

Income after meeting all operating costs

keikis

Small offshoots from plant

inorganic fertilizer

Manufactured chemical fertilizer

integrated pest management


(1PM)

Pest control that emphasizes non-chemical measures

media

Material into which anthuriums are planted

obake

Two coloured anthurium - green and other colour

organic fertilizer

Based on natural material eg sea weed, manure

perennial

Long lasting

photosynthesis

How plants convert sunlight into energy

pH

The measure of acidity/alkalinity of the media

pistils

Female flower parts

qanibulu

Coconut husk

spathe

A modified leaf just below and protecting an inflorescence

spadix

A pencil like protrusion rising from the base of the spathe.


The true anthurium flowers are located along the spadix.

residual insecticides

Those that remain active on the plant surface for several days
and provide longer term control of pests.

stamen

Male flower parts

32

Anthurium: A Manual for Small Holder Production in Fiji

soluable fertilizer

Fertilizer that is dissolved in water before being applied

systemic fertilizer

Those that are absorbed by the plant and kill the insect when
it sucks the sap

wholesale market

A market where businesses buy and sell (not for general


public)

33

Anthurium: A Manual for Small Holder Production in Fiji

References
Anthura
1998

Cultivation Guide Anthurium: Global Know How for Growers around the
Globe. Bleiswijk Holland.

Fiji Islands Trade and Investment Bureau (FTIB)


2001
Profiles in Small and Micro Ventures: Floriculture. Suva.
Halloran John and Kuehnle Adelheid
1998
What do Anthurium Buyers Want in Their Flowers? Results of a Market
Survey. Cooperative Extension Service. College of Tropical Agriculture
and Human Resources. University of Hawaii Manoa
Henny R.J., A.R. Chase and L.S. Osborne Professor
Anthurium Production Guide. University of Florida
(http://mrec.ifas.unl.edu/Foliage/folnoteslanthuriu.htm)
Higaki Tadashi (editor)
1995
Anthurium Culture in Hawai'i. College of Tropical Agriculture and
Human Resources, University of Hawaii.
Reid Michael and Dodge Linda
2002
Anthurium: Recommendations for Maintaining Postharvest Quality.
University of California Davis. Post Harvest Technology
(http://rics. ucdavis. edu/portharvest2/Produce/ProduceFacts/Orn/anthu . sht
ml)

34