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Why Geranium crop is getting popular in many places

Geranium is one of the important aromatic plants, yielding an essential oil which is highly priced for its very profound and strong rose-like odor. The plant is also known as rose geranium. The chief constituent of the oil are geranial and citronellol.

When to grow?

When to grow?

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Ideal season to grow Geranium is during April to May . Thorough field preparation leading to fine tilth condition is essential. Rooted cuttings of 2 months age are planted at a spacing of 45 x 45 cm

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How to grow ?

How to grow ?

Propagation Geranium is propagated by stem cuttings. Cuttings of about 10 – 15 cm are taken from current season growth with a well-formed crown of leaves with 3 - 4 nodes and terminal bud. Dipping basal portion of the cuttings in 200 ppm of IBA increase the rooting efficiency. Cuttings planted in raised nursery beds will be ready for planting within 60 days.

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When and how to harvest plants

When and how to harvest plants

Geranium is harvested 4 months after transplanting, when the leaves begin to turn light-green and exhibit a change from a lemon-like odor to that of rose. However, this requires careful observation and experience. The crop should be harvested using a sharp sickle and sent for distillation immediately. The use of sharp sickle is important as it minimizes the jerks, pulls and damage to the crop while harvesting. After every harvest, hoeing, fertilizer application and irrigation are done according to the schedule. The plant then puts forth fresh shoots, grows faster, and reaches the next harvesting stage in 4 months. Thus, a total of 3-4 harvests can be obtained in one years. The essential oil is distributed over the green parts of the plant, particularly in the leaves. The oil content is higher during the summer months, from April to June. The terminal portion with 6-12 leaves contains more oil than the middle and basal portions.

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Distillation of Oil

Distillation of Oil

The freshly harvested terminals are used for the distillation of oil. The plant material is stacked for about 12 to 24 hours. This results in a slight fermentation process, which increases the yield of oil. The oil is extracted by a simple distillation method. The plant material is tightly packed in a still over the perforated grid and tamped down tightly and the still-head is clamped shut. The steam is generated in a separate boiler and conveyed to the still. The oil volatilizes and escapes along with the steam vapors, which is later collected by passing it through a condenser with running cold water. The condensed oil is separated from the water by the differential density method

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Yield

Yield

The quality and yield of oil will be better if the crop is harvested at the appropriate time of maturity. For a higher yield, a good plant population in the field is necessary. A minimum of 10,000 plants should be maintained in a Acre in a year which, in turn, may yield 6-10 kg of oil on distillation. The recovery of the oil ranges from 0.08 to 0.15%, depending upon the season of harvest and type of material. Herbage : 9 - 12 t/ Acre Oil yield : 6 - 10 kg/acre

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Uses of Geranium

Uses of Geranium

The pure geranium oil is almost a perfume by itself and blends well with all other perfumes. It is widely used in scenting soaps part of most high-grade perfumes It is also employed as a flavouring agent in many major food categories, alcoholic and soft drinks. Traditionally Geranium is used to staunch bleeding, healing of wounds, ulcers and skin disorders and also in the treatment of diarrohea, dysentry and colic. The oil has antibacterial and insecticidal properties and is profusely used in Aromatherapy.

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