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Plant lovers showcase splurging collections

By Phan Duong   March 26, 2022 | 06:42 pm PT
More than 200 pots of rare houseplants worth thousands of dollars collected over several years have been showcased in Ho Chi Minh City.
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On March 20, more than 200 e plant-enthusiasts gathered on the premises of a coffee shop in Go Vap District for the 'Xanh Le' (Super Green) event.
Nguyen Ngoc Quy, admin of an online forum with more than 14,000 members, stated that members have wanted to meet up for a long time, but the event had been constantly put off due to the pandemic.
"This event aims to honor unique and rare houseplants from all over the world that people have collected over many years," Quy said.

Ornamental leaves are a hobby of plants with beautiful colors, strange shapes or trees with leaves that change shape and size according to each growth stage. This hobby appeared in the 16th century among the European nobility, then spread to many countries. In Vietnam, the bonsai community appeared 6 years ago and thrived in the two years of Covid-19.Currently in Vietnam, there are hundreds of thousands of players, many of whom own a huge collection of both the number of trees and the value.

The hobby involves collecting colorful and uniquely shaped plants that adapt to each season and change shape and size according to each growth stage.
Collecting houseplants was a hobby started by European nobles in the 16th century that subsequently spread across the globe. It has been making waves in Vietnam for the past six years, with people especially looking for a healthy hobby amid the Covid-19 lockdown.
Currently in Vietnam, there are hundreds of thousands of people hooked on this hobby, many of whom own a huge collection in both number and value.

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Architect Huynh Cong Khanh, owner of the cafe where the event was held, stated that his shop housed a three meter Nephrolepis Cordifolia (commonly known as tuber ladder fern or erect sword fern) from Thailand. When people arrived at the event, they were surprised to learn that he had hundreds of plants with unique leaf shapes and a "secret garden" where he domesticated high-value mutant species.

The outdoor green space of the restaurant has impressive meter-long leaves, because usually people put the plants indoors and the time is not long enough, so it is difficult to reach such a large size. I want to inspire people to see that as long as they take care of them, there will be big and beautiful trees in the future, Khanh said.This is Philodendron sharoniea native to Ecuador and Colombia, mature leaves can be up to 1.5 m long. This plant is characterized by climbing stem, dark green oblong leaves, wavy leaf surface. Normally, a small sharoniea tree with 25 cm long leaves costs about 6.5 million VND. And Khanhs tree has leaves up to 80 cm long, so it is admired by many people.

The coffee shop's outdoor green space has impressive meter-long leaves. Most people keep plants indoors and the time is insufficient to grow them to such a large size.
"I want to inspire people to see that if they take care of their plants, they will grow up and yield big and beautiful leaves," Khanh said.
This Philodendron Sharoniea is a native of Ecuador and Colombia, with size mature leaves up to 1.5 meters long. This plant has a climbing stem, dark green oblong leaves, and a wavy leaf surface. A small Sharoniea plant with 25 centimeter leaves normally costs around VND6.5 million ($284.30). And because Khanh's tree has leaves up to 80 centimeters long, it impressed many people.

Anthurium veitchii (King Anthurium) is a species native to South America, characterized by oblong leaves with many folds, leaves can reach a size of 2 m when the tree is mature. The market price for a tree with two to three small leaves 20 cm long is about 5-6 million VND. Khanh said the care process is very thorough to get such beautiful leaves.Mr. Quy said that the reason why imported plants are often expensive compared to other common ornamental species in Vietnam is because the wholesale prices for plants from sources such as Indonesia, Thailand, and South America have fluctuated. from 30 to 250 USD per tree, depending on the species. When returning to Vietnam, the price of trees will be increased 3-4 times due to transportation costs and great loss due to dead trees. Moreover, many plants when brought back need two months to recover and three months for the plants to adapt and produce new leaves.

Anthurium Veitchii is a South American species with oblong leaves with many folds. When mature, the leaves can reach a size of two meters. A tree with two to three small leaves 20 centimeters long sells for about VND5-6 million on the market. Khanh stated that the care process must bevery thorough in order to obtain such beautiful leaves.
According to Quy, the reason imported plants are frequently more expensive than other common ornamental species in Vietnam is that wholesale prices for plants from sources like Indonesia, Thailand, and South America have fluctuated. Depending on the species, prices range from $30 to $250 per plant. When returning to Vietnam, the price will be tripled or quadrupled due to transportation costs while many plants die during the shipping process. Furthermore, when many plants are brought back, it takes two months for them to recover and three months for them to adapt and produce new leaves.

Philodendron billietiae Variegated (Mutant Flamingo) is a rare species in the event, because among hundreds of thousands of trees, only a few trees have leaves bearing patches of color mutations. This tree is as beautiful as a work of art, winning Thailands 2019 Best Aroids Show award in 2019.Because of his passion, Khanh managed to own the tree when it had six leaves. He said there was a time when the tree was blown up to 80 million VND per leaf, but to him, the value of the tree to a true player is having beautiful, healthy leaves and bringing emotions to the owner. . So he just kept playing, not selling. Currently, he has taken care of 24 cards.

Philodendron Billietiae Variegated is a rare species at the event because only a few of them have leaves with patches of color mutations among hundreds of thousands of plants. This plant is as stunning as a work of art, having won awards at Thailand's 2019 Best Aroids Show.
Khanh was able to acquire the plantwhen it only had six leaves. He stated that it was once valued at VND80 million per leaf.
"Having beautiful, healthy leaves bringsmany indescribable emotions to me," he said, adding he doesn't plan to sell it. His plant currently has 24 leaves.

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Architect Nguyen Ba Thieu, 30, from southern Binh Duong Province, also brought eight unique plants to the event, including the Anthurium Crystallinum Dark that he purchased for VND50 million from Indonesia in October 2021. It is nearly 20 years old with nearly 40 leaves that have an average diameter of 45 centimeters.
"I know the amount of money I spend is quite unreasonable for many people, but those who have the same passion will understand. I have no regrets," Thieu said.
He became interested in this hobby after seeing the beauty of a Monstera Deliciosa plant in 2016. He has since learned and gradually collected different plants with leaves that have similar shapes. He currently has over 100 plants in his collection.

Mr. Dinh Gia Thien Sanh, owner of a leafy garden in Tan Binh district came to this hobby 6 years ago. In his garden, there are nearly 400 different types of leaves.To the event he brought 11 most precious lines. In the photo is an Anthurium brownii tree with an Anthurium Big Bill representing the garden, which he imported four years ago. Thanks to the ability to care, the tree has large leaves, making players admire. The leaves of the tree can be up to 2.2 m long if planted well continuously for about 15 years.

Dinh Gia Thien Sanh from Tan Binh District, one of the attendees, said he began this hobby six years ago. Now his garden has 400 different types of plants.
He brought 11 of his most valuable onesto the event, including the Anthurium Brownii species as shown in the photo and the Anthurium Big Bill which he imported four years ago. Many people were impressed by how big the leaves are. He said that the tree's leaves can grow to be up to 2.2 meters long if well planted continuously for about 15 years.

Alocasia serendipity variegated has pink leaves. This tree once caused a storm in the Vietnamese ornamental community when it was auctioned for billions of dong.The high price is mainly due to the price storm of the Thai tree market. Now that the tree has been multiplied more, this tree is gradually returning to its real value and collectors are more interested in the beauty value. The beauty of the tree is not the value of money anymore, Quy said.

With its pink leaves, Alocasia Serendipity Variegated, caused quite a stir among the Vietnamese plants lovers community when it was auctioned off for billions of dong.
"The high price is primarily due its huge formerpopularity in Thailand. Now that the plant has multiplied, its value is gradually decreasing to the original price it should be and more collectors are becoming more interested in the beauty and not its monetary value," Quy said.

The tree Philodendron spiritus sancti, a species listed in the worlds red book and almost extinct in the wild, was also present at the event.At the time of fever, a leaf of this plant is valued at $8,000 - $9,000. When mature, this tree has leaves up to 1m long blade-shaped. Now, thanks to conservation breeding and tissue culture technology, the price of trees has come down a lot to be able to reach more players.

The event also featured Philodendron Spiritus Sancti, a species listed in the world's red book and nearly extinct in the wild.
A leaf of this plant was valued at $8,000 - $9,000 at the time it caused a stir in the community. When fully mature, the blade-shaped leaves can grow to be up to one meter long. Because of conservation breeding and plant tissue culture techniques, the price of this plant has dropped significantly, allowing it to reach the hands of more collectors.

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In the picture is the rare Philodendron Golden Dragon Variegata with alternating green and white patches.
A plant with a green marbled mutant leaf array has a one in 10,000 chance of surviving, and it is often difficult to keep the mutant patches when propagated. Plants that have breeded are frequently too green or too white, making them weak and unable to photosynthesize. Only the lucky plants that have the harmony of each color array live long and healthy lives.

The many tree species that make up the event are large in size giving the feel of a rainforest in the heart of the city. Visitors to the event were excited because they saw these trees in real life for the first time.

Since many plant species at the event are large in size, it gives the impression of a rainforest in the heart of the city. Visitors to the event were ecstatic because they were seeing these trees for the first time in person.

Not only can admire the rare species of ornamental leaves, but the hobbyists also exchange and exchange experiences in taking care of ornamental species. The event also auctioned trees to donate to cancer centers.

Not only can hobbyists admire the rare species but can also share and exchange experiences in caring for unique houseplants.
Plants auctioned off at the event and the money were donated to cancer treatment centers.

Photos courtesy of Cong Dong Choi Kieng La Co Chat

 
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