Vying fame for his rare floral treasure, Solanki in 2019 had sent an application to a prominent national record book for the inclusion of his plant, when it was 39 feet tall. It was granted the certificate as the tallest rose plant in the country earlier this month when it has grown seven feet taller.
Solanki, who teaches accountancy, said he had already contacted a nationalized general insurance company for insurance of the plant. “They have said that they will contact their higher-ups and get back to me,” said Solanki, adding that several people visit his house just to see the plant and he doesn’t want to leave it insecure.
Each branch of the rose tree bears around 20 to 35 flowers in March. “They are pink in colour and have mild perfume,” said Solanki, who now wants the essence of his achievement to spread globally. Planning to seek entry in the Guinness Book of World Records too, the professor said he will approach the authorities soon.
Talking to TOI, the professor recounted the interesting story behind how he ‘met’ the plant.
“I bought the sapling from a street vendor who visits our society regularly in 2006 to mark my marriage anniversary. I took great of it since day one, watering it every morning without fail,” said the proud owner who added that he also kept trimming the higher branches of the plant regularly for thicker growth.
“But once a branch grew long and somehow I did not feel like cutting it off. Then it just kept growing,” Solanki recalled wistfully, a decision that now has risen higher than the entire height of Solanki’s three-storeyed house.
Eventually, Solanki had to erect steel supports on his terrace to ensure that the plant didn’t stop growing for lack of support, literally.
Several temples and individuals have taken stalks of the plant for implantation. “They have been successful in growing the rose plants, but these have never grown beyond six or seven feet,” said Solanki, adding that he never took any major steps to nourish the plant.
“In fact, it was planted in the only small open space I had in the paved compound. I only water it regularly,” he added.
According to prominent botanist and director of Vadodara-based Community Science Centre, Dr Jitendra Gavali, such growth of rose plants was unusual. “Rose plants are usually pruned and never allowed to grow. It is possible that the main stem of the plant may have remained intact and its growth was supported,” he said.