As the Tet (Lunar New Year) holiday is approaching, people in Ho Chi Minh City and across Vietnam are opening their wallets to buy special ornamental plants and imported flowers to decorate their homes for the nation's biggest festival.
Besides the traditional Tet flowers, apricot blossoms and peach flowers, customers are also seeking to decorate their houses and offices with other artificial plants including mangos, kumquats and soursops, which are placed in ceramic pots and cost between 8 million VND (340 USD) and 25 million VND (1,050 USD) each.
In recent years, there has been higher demand for uniquely shaped ornamental trees for Tet such as five-fruit trees, a new tree variety that farmer Le Duc Giap of Hanoi has successfully grown.
The shapes of 12-animal ornamental plants are also in high demand 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.
Last year, Vietnam imported flowers and ornamental plants worth 18 million USD including orchids, rhododendron, dumb cane plants and cedrus bonsai trees for the 2018 Lunar New Year.
Besides expensive imported flowers, the high rent needed to secure a place to sell ornamental flowers and fruit trees have also pushed up Tet flower prices.