Businessman’s love for bonsai establishes nursery with 1,000 plants, Rs 50L/year revenue

Saumik Das (52) says his first encounter with bonsai dates back to the early 1990s, at a horticulture festival at Delhi’s Talkatora Stadium.

“It was something straight out of a movie, like a magic wand had shrunk the trees,” he recalls. “As a curious high school student that I was, I couldn’t help but touch them. An elderly gardener chided me, pointing out how expensive the plants are. When I got home, I kept wondering how we managed to plant them.

Decades of deliberation later, the owner of a Vaishali-based barcode manufacturing business now also runs a thriving small bonsai and penjing plant business, caring for over a thousand of them in Grow Green Bonsai, his nursery in Noida.

“I started growing bonsai purely out of love for them. It’s living art in its most authentic form, if you take good care of them they will survive up to 400 years and you can pass them on to the future generations. At one point, I had 200 on the roof garden of my previous residence. This helped me prove the genuineness of my interest in the Indian Bonsai Association, which welcomed me in as a member around 2010,” Saumik said. The best India.

“Eventually, I was introduced to a network of horticulturalists in the NCR and other metropolitan cities, and began to showcase my designs at horticultural festivals across the country. My friends and family have pointed out that it was a rarity and encouraged me to go into business at the end of 2018. By the next year Grow Green Bonsai was up and running. We also grow and sell succulents, cacti and other exotic plants, but to me, their goal is only to popularize bonsai among plant lovers who may not be familiar with this amazing art,” he adds.

The Bonsai Nursery offers home deliveries throughout the NCR and encourages company employees to use the plants as decorative gifts for loved ones. “A good bouquet costs around Rs 1,500, why not give people a lasting symbol of good luck instead?” Saumik asks.

India’s “introduction” to vertical penjing factories

A welcome touch of green along the Noida highway, the Grow Green Bonsai farm spans 4,000 square meters. It is home to up to 30 species of potted bonsai in brightly colored ceramic containers of varying sizes, four resident gardeners and even a family of 20 ducks. “Two of them entered our farm after being chased by a street dog. I didn’t have the courage to chase them away, and they fit in perfectly,” he laughs.

The businessman holds a prominent position in Indian horticultural communities and is even an ambassador for the South Asian Bonsai Federation. However, it was his self-taught expertise that got him started on his entrepreneurial journey, he says.

“As a child, I had a fondness for horticulture-based communities. While my father worked as an art director for a government company, my parents liked to take me to flower shows. Once I decided to set up the nursery, I spent hours researching the potting, pruning, and wiring techniques needed to plant bonsai, referring to books I purchased. in old bookstores in Connaught Place,” he shares.

“After learning that the climate in northern India only allows growing a few species of bonsai, I started growing plants from ficus family, like long island and religiousbanyan bonsai and some flowering Indian species such as bougainvillea and Murraya. We eventually expanded to growing foreign species such as Chinese elm, ficus microcarpus, carmona microphylla and jade,” he explains.

What sets Grow Green Bonsai apart from other nurseries of its kind, Saumik says, is its specialized focus on penjing structures.

“Bonsai in Japanese means ‘a tree in a pot’. Penjing, on the other hand, is a Chinese word roughly translated as miniature landscape. Thus, a penjing plant is essentially a bonsai that has been modified with additional natural elements such as rocks, stone, grass and a (man-made) waterfall mechanism. It’s an endless art; the plants keep growing, so we have to continually groom and wire them,” he explains. .

“I actually introduced the country to the art of vertical penjing,” he says. “The technique involves growing plants on a vertically suspended panel using hydroponics. These structures are either freestanding or attached to a wall, and feature all the elements used in the traditional penjing form.

While the cheapest bonsai plants in the nursery cost 800 rupees, the most expensive upright penjing plant is priced at 2.5 lakh rupees. “The annual turnover of Grow Green Bonsai is between Rs 35 and Rs 50 lakh so far. But the trip was never about the money. Being able to maintain the bonsai nursery and teach the art of vertical penjing to others is a source of great pride for me,” says Saumik.

For the past six years, he has also showcased his bonsai collection at the Garden of Five Senses in Saket every February, through an exclusive collaboration with the Delhi Department of Tourism. In 2019, he was also approached by DD Kisaan, the rural Doordarshan Youtube channel, to make a four-part tutorial series on growing vertical penjing plants, which has accumulated over 50,000 views.

In September last year, Grow Green Bonsai also set up a ‘Plant Daycare’ unit. “It’s a temporary home for plants whose parents are leaving town for a weekend or two,” he smiles, adding, “It simultaneously functions as a kind of plant clinic, where my gardeners and I perform a routine check for bonsai and upright penjing plants.We offer wiring, pruning and repotting services for structures requiring maintenance.

grow green nursery noida

An ideal leisure activity

“Once you bring home a bonsai, you essentially become the guardian of its roots. It requires dedicated maintenance, but it’s not an expensive affair at all,” says Saumik.

“Regular watering is a must, and a natural booster every 25-30 days helps meet its nutrient needs. Many growers use chemical fertilizers, but we use a local blend of bone meal, neem khali, sarson khali, vermicompost and horn dust, which costs only a few rupees for 50 grams,” he adds.

Saumik conducts bonsai art workshops for beginners and advanced at Grow Green Bonsai, in addition to courses as needed for institutes such as Noida Horticulture Society and Indraprastha Horticulture Society. He also attended sessions at nurseries, vegetable gardens and clubs in other cities such as Ludhiana, Agra, Kolkata and Vijayawada, in addition to some online courses in view of the pandemic.

While his workshops cost around Rs 2,800 per participant, each of them, he says, eventually walks away with a “free experience”.

“We use the fees to give them a bonsai plant, a ceramic pot, aluminum wires, rocks, moss, and any other components they might need to make a penjing plant. The workshops usually take place over two days, and we take care of the snacks and drinks. Participants not only learn a new art, but also have something to show off by taking their creations home,” he shares.

“Caring for a bonsai not only teaches patience, but is an ideal leisure activity for students, doctors and other professionals looking to introduce a fun hobby into their busy schedules,” adds- he.

For any inquiries you can contact Grow Green Bonsai here.

Edited by Divya Sethu

Comments are closed.