The flowers and ornamental plants for Tết represent Vietnamese hopes for health, happiness and prosperity. VNS Photo Văn Châu
HCM CITY – Farmers in the Cửu Long (Mekong) Delta are growing new flower and plant varieties such as five-fruit trees and rat-shaped plants for the upcoming Tết (Lunar New Year) festival, which falls on January 25 (Year of the Rat).
In Đồng Tháp Province’s Sa Đéc City, one of the delta’s largest flower growing areas, hundreds of new flower varieties, including various types of new foreign roses and daisies, have been planted for Tết. The new varieties of roses, lilies and zinnias are in high demand.
More and more people this year are buying expensive ornamental flowers and fruit trees for the coming Tết holiday, according to farmer Nguyễn Văn Tý.
The buying trend has led to increased production of unusual or special flowers and plants
Trần Văn Phương, who has 20,000 lily pots in Sa Dec City, said traders from Cần Thơ City and Bà Rịa – Vũng Tàu and Vĩnh Long provinces has contracted to sell all his lily pots for Tết.
Nguyễn Văn Tiếp, chairman of Tôi Yêu Màu Tím Clubhouse in Sa Đéc, said that clubhouse farmers would supply more than 100,000 flower pots, including new varieties of daisies.
Seedlings of most of the new flower varieties are produced by Đồng Tháp’s Hi-Tech Agriculture Centre.
Đỗ Văn Thậm, head of the Sa Đéc Economic Bureau, said that flower farmers in recent years had switched from traditional to advanced farming techniques and were growing more new flower varieties.
Sa Đéc farmers are expected to supply 2-3 million of pots of flowers for Tết, according to the bureau. "With this shift, flower farmers are expected to have good sales for Tết," he said.
In recent years, there has been higher demand for uniquely shaped ornamental trees for Tết such as five-fruit trees, a new tree variety that farmer Lê Đức Giáp of Hà Nội has successfully grown.
Depending on their size and quality, the trees, which yield five fruits of pomelo, orange, tangerine, kumquat and phat thu (Buddha hand-shaped fruit), cost between VND8 million (US$380) and 25 million ($1,200).
The shapes of 12-animal ornamental plants are also in high demand of this Tết, especially those in the shape of the rat, this year's zodiac symbol.
The rat-shaped plants are 1.5 metre high and are sold for VNĐ2-5 million (US$86-215).
Meanwhile, the Lai Vung pink mandarin bonsai is among the most in-demand trees in Đồng Tháp. Farmer Lưu Vĩnh Chương in Lai Vung District expects to provide the market with 200 pots.
He is among the first gardeners in the area to have successfully grown the mandarin tree in ceramic pots. Each tree costs between VND2.5 million and 3 million ($120-140). Next week, the prices will rise.
Other gardeners are also growing plants like papaya, star-fruit and plums in pots so as they can bear fruit during the Tết season.
However, flower farmers faced unfavourable weather conditions when they began growing Tết flowers this year. Most flowers for Tết bloom after 60-90 days.
In Vĩnh Long Province, about 20 per cent of 5,000 ochna trees in the Phước Định ochna village in Long Hồ District have bloomed because of irregular rains.
Besides unfavourable weather, the price of input materials for growing flowers has been high this year, which will increase flower prices by 10 per cent against last year, according to flower farmers in Sa Đéc City.
Sa Đéc flowers are supplied to HCM City as well as the southern and northern regions. — VNS