Exotic roses enchant growers in Ho Chi Minh City

A pot of imported roses can fetch VND8 million (US$349)

A man takes care of exotic roses at a garden in Binh Thanh District, Ho Chi Minh City. Photo: Tuoi Tre

Over recent years, devotees of exotic roses have taken to growing visually striking varieties on their balconies or terraces in Ho Chi Minh City.

The blossoms come in different shapes, sizes and colors and grow in bushes or as creepers. 

They are imported from Thailand, Japan and Europe or are grafted from different breeds by local growers.

The practice provides aficionados with both a space-saving option and rewarding, novel experiences while adding colors and fragrances to their otherwise tedious balconies and terraces.

On a weekend morning, Ngoc Anh, a resident in Tan Binh District, and her daughter were busy watering more than 10 pots of roses on their rooftop.

The budding flowers, which she had bought from several websites, were of pinkish, yellowish and crimson shades and gave out an exquisite fragrance.

Anh shared she had purchased two tubs on a trial basis for fear of climate inadaptability before germinating some other breeds.

The tubs, boasting such varieties as Huntington, Abraham Darby and Mon Coeur (My Heart), fetched from VND200,000 ($8.7) to VND1 million ($44) apiece.

Meanwhile, Bich Dao, residing in District 12, makes the most of her small space by placing over 20 tubs of roses on the balcony and tiled roof.

She takes meticulous care of the plants by spending one hour each day watering and pruning them.

Dao also makes it a point to help the plants cope with the elements, constantly changing the positions of her pots to make sure that they are not exposed to excessive heat while still receiving plentiful sunlight.

After half a year, most of her plants, of Claire Austin, Nahema and Keira varieties, were in full bloom.

Despite the large amount of care, energy and time, the gardener said her efforts were worth it.

“I love contemplating the blossoms which I cut off to adorn my living room. My friends even buy some to grow at home,” Dao added.

Green exotic roses. Photo: Tuoi Tre
Green exotic roses. Photo: Tuoi Tre

All the rage

The practice of growing exotic roses for pleasure has taken a strong foothold in the southern metropolis over recent years.

Aficionados, who consider rose cultivation an elegant pastime rather than a profit-making business, also run forums to share experience in rose caretaking and tubs which they have in abundance.

Meanwhile, others combine their passion with business in which they produce a large volume of items of economic value in a limited area and earn quite a lot of value by properly tapping into the resource.

According to local traders, exotic roses are considered a ‘princess’ for their sheer beauty and ‘arrogance’ for the extra care they require.

Their appeal lies in their diversity regarding colors, shapes and sizes of the blossoms and petals and lasting periods.

The 50m² terrace at the house owned by Thanh Thao, who runs a website called H-Rose, in Tan Binh District brims with rose tubs.

She disclosed she first bought different rose varieties to indulge in her pastoral passion a few years ago.

The enthusiast embarked on her business as her friends and acquaintances wanted to buy some, and soon expanded it as demand surged.

It takes around one week for her plants to be transported from Thailand to Ho Chi Minh City.

“The plants are almost plucked of leaves during shipping. It takes one month of intensive care before the shrubs or climbers can be sold,” Thao revealed.

Traders of imported roses generally attach tags to the plants to tell them apart.

Owner of another website called Vuon Bon Mua (Four-season Garden) in Go Vap District divulged her garden is currently home to around 300 non-indigenous varieties.

“I became hooked on roses during my trips to flower gardens in the U.K., France and Germany,” she recalled.

After the plants came out of hibernation, the sellers sent them to Vietnam with their roots intact.

With proper care and techniques, the plants began to bud in their new home some time later.     

She later grafted the non-native breeds with tam xuan (Rosa canina, commonly known as the dog rose) to enrich diversity and facilitate the plants’ acclimatization.

The blossoms are also available at other shops including Hoa Hong Xu Nau (Roses from the Central Region), Hoa Hong Leo (Climbing Roses), and Hong Ngoai Saigon (Exotic Roses in Saigon), as well as streets lined with decorative plant stores such as Thanh Thai (District 10), Truong Chinh (District 12) and Pham The Hien (District 8).

Growers can create hybrids that are able to produce flowers with two colors in clusters or are in bloom on a more regular basis.

Shop owners can easily sell around 100 tubs at one go to people who wish to embellish their villas or quite spacious houses.

A variety of exotic roses. Photo: Tuoi Tre
A variety of exotic roses. Photo: Tuoi Tre

Pricy pastime

The plants’ value depends on their sizes as well as their age, ranging from VND150,000 ($6.5) for saplings to VND500,000 ($22) for average mature ones.

Thao, the owner of the H-Rose website, revealed several of her plants which stand 1.5m tall or above and boast many branches fetch VND2 million ($87) apiece.

Rose arcs, which come in limited amounts due to the city’s shrinking living space, can sell for VND5 million ($218) each.

Exquisite floral items also fetch similarly exorbitant prices on the Facebook page owned by Nguyen Tung in Hue City, the heart of central Thua Thien-Hue Province.

Thanks to his spacious garden, Tung can fulfill orders from across the country.

The plants are packaged with great care in cardboard boxes for shipping.

Likewise, the owner of the Berry Garden in Da Lat, a ‘flower city’ and resort town in the Central Highlands province of Lam Dong, said many clients and tourists from Ho Chi Minh City also place orders with his garden.

Perennial creepers which cover an entire gate are not sold for less than VND10 million ($436).  

According to traders, non-native rose varieties are likely to die or refuse to flower without proper care and techniques.

The plants may also contract diseases, Thao added.

Traders urged clients buy familiar breeds to avoid the contraction of diseases and poor adaptability to the climate in Ho Chi Minh City, which can result in less gorgeous blossoms or no flowers at all.   

Ngoc Hung, in District 7, shared he has pampered his weakness for exotic roses for some six years now.

He recently purchased a St. Ethelburga rose tub with three branches for VND8 million ($349).

“I have no regret at all as the shrub gives stunning blossoms to admire on a regular basis,” Hung remarked.

Over recent times, many buffs have also scoured for long-standing Vietnamese rose varieties native to Hue City in Thua Thien-Hue Province, Sa Pa Town in the northern province of Lao Cai, and northern Thai Binh, Hoa Binh and Nam Dinh provinces.

Such plants can fetch up to more than VND100 million ($4,363) each for their rarity and long existence.

Enthusiasts also go to great lengths to reach where the prized plants are germinated and bring them home.

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