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World’s Most Expensive Mango, Lotus With 1000 Petals & More: Engineer Grows 400 Plants at Home

Odisha resident Subrat Nath has turned his home into a mini garden with rare flowers and fruit plants. His exotic collection includes the Miyazaki mango which sells for Rs 2.5 lakh per kg. With lilies, lotuses, and other rare plants thriving at home, Subrat hopes his work will inspire others to pick up gardening.

World’s Most Expensive Mango, Lotus With 1000 Petals & More: Engineer Grows 400 Plants at Home

For Subrat Nath, going on a shopping spree equals visiting plant nurseries. He considers this as one of the most upbeat activities for him. On one such trip, the florist there introduced him to a sapling that was said to produce the world’s costliest mangoes – Miyazaki!

“The rare mango is native to Miyazaki city in Japan. It has a violet-red colour and is comparatively sweeter, juicier, and larger than other mango varieties, including the famous Alphonso mangoes. I was so fascinated by it,” he tells The Better India.

The fruit has an unusual appearance like an egg, which is why it is also known as the ‘Eggs of Sun.’

Surprisingly, these mangoes are sold at Rs 2.5 lakh per kg in the international market. Subrat cites their medicinal properties for their exorbitant price. 

A 2021 research article points out that these mangoes –  botanically classified as Mangifera Indica – have anti-cancer, anti-inflammatory, antimicrobial, antioxidant, and immunomodulatory properties. Its consumption may potentially be beneficial in breast cancer management.

Subrat grows rare plants like Hydrangea and world's costiliest Miyazaki mangoes.
Subrat grows rare plants like Hydrangea and world’s costiliest Miyazaki mangoes.

Inspired, Subrat came home with the sapling and decided to grow it.

After two years of care, the sapling has now grown into a nine-feet tall tree. “This February, I spotted its first fruit. My happiness knew no bounds. It was truly rewarding. In June, I will be able to harvest eight mangoes. If I sell them, I will be a crorepati (millionaire),” he laughs.

However, the urban gardener intends to refrain from commercialising it. It goes into his personal collection of 400 plant garden that comprise rare plants like 1,000 petal lotus, rainbow sugarcane, and hydrangea.

Managing 400 plant garden with a full-time job

Subrat grew up tending to his parents’ garden comprising fruits and vegetables. After finishing his homework in the evening, he would water all the plants along with his sister. 

Over the years, Subrat’s interest piqued in growing rare flowering and fruiting plants at home.
Over the years, Subrat’s interest piqued in growing rare flowering and fruiting plants at home.

Recalling one of his childhood memories, the 43-year-old says, “My parents had all sorts of seasonal vegetables in our home. We would be tasked with fun duties like protecting cauliflowers from the harsh sunlight. So, we would get creative and make cones from newspapers to shield them. This was our favourite activity.”

Although Subrat became an engineer in a multinational company, his fondness for gardening only grew with time. So alongside his full-time job, he maintains a garden of 400 plants comprising 100 varieties of water lilies and lotuses, 10 types of orchids, 20 varieties of Adenium, 10 rare varieties of plants including the Miyazaki mango, and the ‘Sahasradala Padmam’ – a lotus with 1,000 petals. 

Utilising the ground floor, balcony and terrace spaces of his house, Subrat grows these plants in a combined area of 4,000 sq ft.

“I give up two hours of sleep daily and wake up around 5 am to look after my plants before setting off for work around 8. See, if you aspire to do something, you must be passionate about it,” he says.

Every evening after returning from work, Subrat waters the plants just like he did as a kid. “I kept my inner child alive,” he smiles.

 Subrat maintains a garden of 400 plants comprising 100 varieties of water lilies and lotuses. 
Subrat maintains a garden of 400 plants like 100 varieties of water lilies and lotuses. 

Miyazaki mango, 1,000 petal lotus, and more

Over the years, Subrat’s interest piqued in growing rare flowering and fruiting plants at home. With a simple google search, he read about rare plants that can be grown in Odisha’s warm climate.

“I love keeping rare plants inside my garden. Sometimes it is challenging as well, given the temperature here rises to 46 degrees in the summer. But this challenge is what exactly makes it fun,” he adds.

To control the temperature, he has established a small greenhouse where he keeps new saplings for 2-3 months to help them acclimatise. “I introduce them to direct sunlight slowly,” he adds.

Talking about the Miyazaki mango plant, he says, “I planted it directly on the ground floor of my house. Its sapling cost me Rs 2,500 and I did not want to take any risk. I let the sapling settle into the soil. After two months, I added cow dung, bone meal, neem and mustard cakes to the plant,” he says.

For Subrat, growing rare plants is just a hobby and these plants are his only treasures.
For Subrat, growing rare plants is just a hobby and these plants are his only treasures.

Just like his parents, Subrat believes in giving traditional fertilisers to plants. “Any fruiting plant requires nitrogen for leaves and stem growth, phosphorus for root development, and potash for flower and fruit growth. We get these nutrients in cow dung itself. I do not make any other fancy fertilisers. Cow dung is enough,” he adds.

Although Subrat does not aim to sell the Miyazaki mangoes, he does sell saplings of the rare 1,000 petal lotus and other water lily varieties. Last year, he earned an annual income of Rs 1 lakh through them.

“To grow any rare plant, one must do a detailed study on the kind of temperature and humidity they require and the pot size. For instance, I grow the 1,000 petal lotus in a bigger pot of 4 ft width and 2 ft of depth,” he explains. 

“Whereas, I use a pot of one ft width and seven inch depth for micro lotuses. We must also keep in mind that lotuses and water lilies do not thrive in hard water and require 6 to 7 hours of sunlight,” he adds.

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Subrat says, “I am not a pro. Growing rare plants is just my hobby and these plants are my only treasures. Also, I come across many people who make excuses that they cannot grow plants because of small spaces. With my example, I want to show that anyone can grow plants, even the rarest ones at home. My objective will be fulfilled when more and more people come forward to recreate my work.”

Edited by Padmashree Pande. All photos: Subrat Nath.


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