Instead of buying in the nursery, horticultural enthusiasts are trading plants and seeds through Facebook groups
"They are my prized possession." Talking about Mumbai's Mamta Sukhija Joseph Dendrobium nobel Orchid, a double petal red azure and a cherry plum in its terrace garden. She got them from Darjeeling in exchange for Gulmohar Bonsai from her collection.
Pride of place in Sunita Hooda's garden in Gurugram, Haryana Sensavia cylinderA snake plant variety, which he got from a producer in Chennai, when he swapped his pink syngonium (arrowhead plant) for it. "I sent the person to the crinum lily, because my plant costs cr 30, while the cost of Sanceria is usually at 800-900." Apart from this, they must also have spent a considerable amount on packing and transportation.
Mamta and Sunita are horticultural enthusiasts who trade seeds and plants online. Groups from both pan-India and city-specific on Facebook – many of them have started during 2020.
“I was part of several online gardening groups and these pages saw unprecedented traffic during the lockdown. Mamta says, & # 39; & # 39; It was nice to make new friends through these pages. He is a member of five swap groups and is a co-administrator of Free Seeds and Plant for Swaps, founded by P. Anilkumar of Hyderabad.
Anilkumar, a member of more than 20 horticultural groups, says the group has 6,800 members from India and abroad. “Until I formed this group, I exchanged plants locally. After the lockdown restrictions have been relaxed, new members are joining in large numbers, ”he says. Hemant Dhingra, a teacher from Palwal, Haryana and administrator of Spread Free Seeds and Plants, is very happy that membership in his group crossed 10,000 within six months of launch.
Chennai-based Meenal Thamarai Selvan, a member and member of Seeds and Plants Swap Community (India), an early swap group, says he receives at least 50 requests per day for membership. The group formed in 2017 by Lawrence JD D'Souza, Shivanand Kare, Placido Dias (all from Goa) and Lynn Periara (Mumbai) has over 25,000 members. “The group was started to help with gardening but later shifted attention to swap and share. Now we have another group for questions related to gardening, ”says Meenal.
Why wake up now
Mona Chopra, a resident of Ludhiana, a gardener and a regular swapper, feels that the boom in members has to do with people remembering new friendships in a period of social distrust. “You interact with all people, some of whom you will probably never meet. I learn something new about plants and I also get to share with others. It is fun, ”Mona says. While all-India groups exist, it is easy to go hyper-local in hobbies like these. Cities like Mysuru, Pune and Ludhiana have swap groups.
Give and take
- Some Facebook groups where you can swap, share or exchange seeds and plants are & # 39; Seeds & Plants Swap Community (India) & # 39 ;, & # 39; Free Seeds & Plants for Swaps & # 39; , & # 39; Spread Free Seeds & Plants & # 39 ;, & # 39; Free Plants Exchange & # 39; , And & # 39; plant paradise & # 39 ;. There are city-specific groups like Chennai Plants and Seeds Exchange Group, 'HYDERABAD- Free Seeds and Plants Swap / Share Gardeners', s mysuru free plants and Seeds Exchange / Swap' …
Pradeep Gangarkar, the adventure coordinator and serpent protector who started the Mysuru group in January, says he returned to gardening and farming during the lockout. “Mysuru is a beautiful city that blooms everywhere. Most of the plants in my garden were collected during my snake rescue mission and I started a group to share them with interested people. "
Delhi-based Dimple Agarwal chooses to swap in and around the capital, even though she runs a pan-Indian conglomerate () free plant exchange '). “The whole exercise makes me happy. I started this page because I still had an overdose of seeds and plants after distributing them to my relatives. However, I am not keen on sending them by courier and prefer people to come and collect, ”says the 47-year-old entrepreneur.
Swap don't shop
The basic rule of these groups is that no purchase or sale is allowed. However, postage charges can be claimed, especially if the other person has no plant or seed to swap or share.
An obvious advantage of swap / share groups is that varieties with high (not rare plant prices) can be purchased for free in the nursery or by paying postage fees only. This makes it a good platform for gardeners to fulfill their wish lists. Receipts such as linseed, cacti and escavees cost between as much as 100–300 in nurseries or online.
For example, a member in Khargone in Madhya Pradesh wanted receipts and cacti from me because they are expensive in the nursery there. Swappers in North India demand orchids prevalent in Kerala, ”says Kollam, plant and plant swap community (India) member Sabitha Sujit.
Ever since he came across these groups on Facebook last July, Sabita has done more than 20 swaps. “I took seeds of dianthus, carnation, antherhinum, verbena, petunia, dimorphotheca and red salvia from a producer in Punjab who wanted chilli in return. Thanks to these groups, I now know that there are many varieties of the same plant. For example, the pea plant, "she says:" I am part of a Kerala-based group, where we also have competitions to keep the group active. Top contributors or those who receive maximum likes and comments for their activities receive seeds as gifts. "
Hemant, meanwhile, is looking for Ashwagandha and plans to "grow turmeric and black wheat". While Plants Paradise's administrator Sunita says that she is "crazy about Sansevia" these days, and Anil keeps looking for orchids, Meenl is interested in any "unique", strong plant. “Each erosion survives differently in transit and so I go for stronger ones because I can easily get other varieties from my local contacts. Philodendron pink princess is in demand and has the best climate for growing it in Kerala. I got the cactus variety from Delhi for interchange of Portulacus and Purslan. The Hawaiian Sunset Bell is Kerala's latest addition and I have in return promised my morning glory, ”also adds Meenal, a member of the Chennai Plants and Seeds Exchange Group.
What can you share
- Succulents and cacti have the largest fan base among scavengers as they survive infection. Water plants, winter annuals, ornamental plants, leafy greens, table roses, orchids, gerberas, roses, hibiscus, medicinal plants, vegetable seeds, seedlings or cuttings are often online.
Apart from the no-sale policy, groups do not allow members to post phone numbers and addresses, promotional posts and in some cases gardening tips. Meenal says, "We do not give membership to people abroad. Anyone joining must have a Facebook profile that is at least a year old. We neither allow posts to identify plants and Nor do we allow members to show their gardens or plants! Also, people are not entertained by taking plants from many members and not giving any seeds or plants to any of them. "
And then there are some members who give seeds and plants to many people without swap. "There are elderly members who send items to 10 or 20 people and expect only words of gratitude on the page," says Meenal.