Nursery an establishment or area for propagation, production and distribution of different types of plants, plantlets, or seedlings for transplanting or for sale. The term nursery originally specified a place where seedlings of valuable forest trees, fruit trees, etc were produced. But as the interest for horticultural and ornamental plants grew, the concept of nursery has been extended.
Plant breeding and development of new varieties of plant species and garden flowers are now included in the programmes and activities of modern nurseries. Staffed by horticultural experts and equipped with modern facilities, some nurseries supply home gardeners, flower and fruit growers, farmers and foresters with seeds and seedlings of specified qualities.
Although planting economic plants around homestead is an old age practice, raising plants in nurseries is recent in Bangladesh. In the middle of 19th century the Forest Department first developed nurseries for planting forest trees only. It was then extended to some commercial fruit trees, which was confined to government level. In the middle of 20th century some private nurseries were developed to raise horticultural plants only. Besides, Bangladesh Agricultural Development Corporation and Horticultural Division of the Ministry of Agriculture established some nurseries in different places of the country.
In the early 1980s nursery practice got momentum due to great demand of plants and due to awareness of planting of economic trees. Mahagani, sissoo, koroi, raintree, neem, akashmoni (Acacia), teak, gamari, kadam, champa, pitraj, and jarul are mostly selected as nursery plants. Mango, sapodilla, jackfruit, litchi, guava, coconut, boroi, bilati amra, bel, papaya and bilati gab are also raised as nursery plants. Common ornamental plants are thuja, araukaria, palm, krishnachura, and eucalyptus. Dahlia, cosmos, chrysanthemum, marigold, phlox, rose, baganbilash, mussenda, china-rose, karobi, tagar, coleus, nayan tara, and allamanda are among common seasonal, annual or perennial plants. Common vegetables like tomato, cabbage, cauliflower, capsicum, cucurbits, Indian spinach, brinjal, and squash are also raised in nurseries. Seedlings of different medicinal plants are also being raised by the government nurseries and people are being motivated through the Tree Plantation Programme to transplant those in their premises.
There are some special local nurseries in some low lying areas of Gopalganj and Pirojpur districts where floating beds are prepared by gathering and piling tied heap of submerged and floating microphytes, and basal parts of deep water rice plants. Vegetable seedlings are raised in these nurseries. The selected plants are bottle gourd, sweet gourd, chillies, okra, Indian spinach, and brinjal. In some places rice seedlings are also raised, especially for boro, on free floating (as raft) or specially prepared attached platform with a thin layer of clay just placed at water level in many parts of Bangladesh. [Mostafa Kamal Pasha]