With Tet and spring just around the corner, preparations for the Lunar New Year and family gatherings are imbued with promises of growth and prosperity. For Vietnam’s flower and ornamental tree businesses, that means business is blooming.
Spring typically brings a burst of consumption of flowers, trees and ornamental plants that symbolize the Tet holiday, from decorative peach, apricot and kumquat trees to short-lived spring flowers like lilies, marigolds and chrysanthemums.
While the pink peach blossoms are the holiday’s floral trademark in the North of Vietnam, the yellow apricot trees are favored in the South. The geographical distinction stems from the fact that while apricot blooms in the warm weather of the South, peach blossoms enjoy the cold, chilly temperatures of the North.
Only seen once a year around the Tet holiday season, the flowers of both trees are believed to bring about good tidings for the year to come; as the saying goes for the Tet wish, “an khang thịnh vượng,” which translates to “security, good health and prosperity.”
Across the South at this time of year, merchants are displaying apricot trees and hoping to attract families who plan on freshening up their houses with flowers and decorative trees for a more festive and joyful atmosphere and to make their homes more welcoming to visitors.
While Lam Dong and Ha Noi are among the largest flower and ornamental tree production sites in the country, Thu Duc City is the “capital” of the yellow apricot blossom of Ho Chi Minh City. At Ha Ba Tran’s three apricot gardens in Thu Duc City and District 9, demand this season is similar to before the pandemic, said owner Nguyen Thanh Ha. Besides supplying fruit seeds and saplings, Ha’s gardens offer large quantities of apricot trees for sale, rent and to be transported to Northern provinces as far as Vinh Phuc or Yen Bai.
With the fourth COVID-19 wave sweeping the country since April 2021, Ha said his business now has to cover the rising costs of production, including fertilizers or plant care. Nevertheless, Ha said he still tries to offer a reasonable rental price range for an apricot tree of 1.5 million VND to 150 million VND, depending on the tree size. So far, for this holiday season, he plans to rent out around 300 to 400 small apricot trees and 100 bigger trees. Still, Ha said, the success of this holiday shopping season won't be clear until the last week of January.
The good news for consumers is that prices have remained stable. As the warm weather this spring speeds up the flowering process, shoppers are taking advantage of the selection of late-bloomers, so that the buds can break and bloom brilliantly in time for the holidays.
For Ha, who comes from a family with a history of apricot farming that goes back to the 1960s, horticulture has become a life-long passion. “It is the joy of nurturing, tending to the tree and seeing it grow through different delicate phases into a unique shape that’s rewarding,” Ha explained.
With their major cultural importance to Vietnamese people, apricot trees are sought after by those passionate about the “art” of horticulture. Recently, at a local flower market in An Giang province, a 50-year-old apricot tree was bought at $264,000, or VND6 billion.