Five-fruit trees, plants shaped like rats popular for Tet hinh anh 1The flowers and ornamental plants for Tet represent Vietnamese hopes for health, happiness and prosperity. (Photo: VNA)

HCM City (VNS/VNA) - Farmers in the Mekong Delta are growing new flower and plant varieties such as five-fruit trees and rat-shaped plants for the upcoming Tet (Lunar New Year) festival, which falls on January 25 (Year of the Rat).

In Dong Thap province’s Sa Dec 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 Tet. 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 Tet holiday, according to farmer Nguyen Van Ty. 

The buying trend has led to increased production of unusual or special flowers and plants

Tran Van Phuong, who has 20,000 lily pots in Sa Dec City, said traders from Can Tho city and Ba Ria-Vung Tau and Vinh Long provinces has contracted to sell all his lily pots for Tet.

Nguyen Van Tiep, chairman of Toi Yeu Mau Tim Clubhouse in Sa Dec, 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 Dong Thap’s Hi-Tech Agriculture Centre. 

Do Van Tham, head of the Sa Dec 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 Dec 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 Tet," he said.

Rat-shaped plants

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 Le Duc Giap of Hanoi 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 8 million VND (380 USD) and 25 million VND (1,200 USD).

The shapes of 12-animal ornamental plants are also in high demand of this Tet, 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 2-5 million VND (86-215 USD).

Meanwhile, the Lai Vung pink mandarin bonsai is among the most in-demand trees in Dong Thap.  Farmer Luu Vinh Chuong 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 2.5 million VND and 3 million VND (120-140 USD). 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 Tet season.

However, flower farmers faced unfavourable weather conditions when they began growing Tet flowers this year. Most flowers for Tet bloom after 60-90 days.

In Vinh Long province, about 20 percent of 5,000 ochna trees in the Phuoc Dinh ochna village in Long Ho 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 percent against last year, according to flower farmers in Sa Dec city.

Sa Dec flowers are supplied to Ho Chi Minh City as well as the southern and northern regions./.