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Home gardening still going strong

By ZHENG YIRAN and LI YINGQING in Kunming | China Daily | Updated: 2022-08-10 10:23

A view of Dounan Flower Market, the largest fresh-cut flower trading market in Asia, in Kunming, Yunnan province, in July. [Photo/XINHUA]

Home gardening has blossomed as more people have remained at home during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Wang Hui, a home gardening enthusiast in her 40s who lives in Kunming, Yunnan province, started to grow plants in her yard starting in early 2020.

"I have five ginkgo and five plum trees, strawberries, grapes, two pomegranate trees, a passion fruit vine and one tree each for lemons, apples and cherries, as well as various seasonal flowers, including hydrangea, gardenia, straw daisy, rose, frangipani and blue lotus. I also grow hundreds of pots of succulents," Wang said.

"When August comes, the osmanthus tree in my yard blossoms. The sweet smell spreads far, to even around the neighborhood. Growing flowers and plants calms me. Regardless of distractions, sitting in the garden brings me a sense of tranquility and peace," she added.

Wang said she had to buy a watering can, clippers and other supplies in preparation for gardening, aside from plants. She spent over 100,000 yuan ($14,790) on her yard over the past two years.

Zhang Yiyi, an office clerk in her 30s in Kunming, spent over 1,000 yuan during a shopping trip for home gardening supplies like fertilizer, shovels and potting soil after buying a new house in the city. "I enjoy buying flowers and growing them to decorate my yard. It makes me happy," Zhang said.

In 2021, China's retail flower market reached 220.5 billion yuan, 17.5 percent higher than in 2020, according to the China Flower Association.

In May, sales in China's flower and horticulture industry grew by nearly 20 percent from the same month in 2021, CCTV reported. Of that, sales of fresh-cut flowers rose by 40 percent, and sales of plants by 30 percent year-on-year. People in their 30s are the biggest buyers of fresh-cut flowers and plants, while those in their teens have also started to catch up, with their purchases rising by 412 percent year-on-year.

At Kunming Dounan Flower Market, the largest fresh-cut flower trading market in Asia, sales of butterfly orchids and succulents have increased by roughly 30 percent on an annual basis this year, said Zhang Ran, a vendor at the market, who sells more than 120 types of flowers.

"Market demand for the butterfly orchid is periodical. Buyers, who usually vary their purchases in terms of color and shape to satisfy changes in taste, visit the store every once in a while. Butterfly orchid lovers tend to favor rich colors and novel varieties. These customers may spend as much as 5,000 yuan once," he said.

Lin Wenxiu, another vendor at the market, said that in summer, top sellers are hydrangea, rose, jasmine and gardenia. Her store can easily sell over 100 hydrangeas a day.

Fortune plants, anthuriums and monstera vines are also popular, especially with weekend shoppers, she said.

"With people's increased standards of living and their rising aspirations to live a better life, more than 80 percent of young people are more open to buying flowers. This also contributes to the growth of home gardening," said Wang Bo, deputy head of the comprehensive administration department of Yuntianhua Huajiangpu Technology, a Kunming-based flower company.

"People like to tend their own gardens. They want to create a pleasant atmosphere for their homes, especially because most people have spent more time at home due to the COVID-19 pandemic," Wang said. "Schools encourage students to grow plants at home, which also promotes the development of home gardening."

Zhao Yingjiang, founder of Kunming-based Beard Art Space, and an expert in home gardening for over 20 years, said that in the last two to three years, especially since the COVID-19 pandemic, the field has grown explosively.

"In order to make the most of the business opportunities, we plan to invest in building a high-quality flower industrial chain to become an industry leader. We will constantly adjust our products to satisfy consumers' changing needs," Wang of the flower company said.

"We will increase our online promotion by starting a series of online classes on caring for plants. In this way, we will help customers tend their plants and enhance the added value of our products," he added.

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