Why orange is the only colour this Lunar New Year
There is good news for those who like to see in the Lunar New Year surrounded by signs of the new season: the prices of this year’s tangerine trees will put a spring in your step.
Li Wing-keung, owner of Keung Kee Garden in Tai Po, said bargain-hunters should be able to find a good family-sized tree for just HK$200 to HK$300. Last year, growers reported prices of tangerines as high as HK$500.
And prices of flowers in general will not be much different from last year’s, when there was an increase of more than 20 per cent as suppliers faced the impact of currency appreciation and increasing cultivation costs. Then, on top of that, heavy snowfall in big flower-producing areas such as Kunming province wiped out nearly a fifth of the festive flower crop, piling even more pressure on local prices.
This year, the warmer winter has boosted yields which has been a buffer against rising costs. “We are able to absorb most of the price increases this year so little of it will be passed on to the consumer,” said Li.
He said prices for imported lilies and orchids should remain flat at HK$60 to HK$80 per stem and HK$150 to HK$200 per stem, respectively.
However, with the Lunar New Year falling late this year, on February 19, growers will have to carefully manage their crop and ensure flowers do not blossom too early.
“It really depends of the grower’s experience and skill in managing the quality of flowers,” said Li, who has been in the business for 30 years.
This is especially true for the coveted peach blossom. Li said it was necessary to carefully prune the leaves – which compete for nutrients with flower bulbs – to control its growth.
Peach blossoms are up about HK$100 to HK$200 per tree, meaning a 5ft tall tree will cost about HK$1,300 this year, said Wyman So Wai-man, owner of the Wai Choi Ki nursery in Lam Tsuen, Tai Po.
So, who said fertilisers and pesticides imported from Vietnam were up by 20 to 30 per cent, expected prices of chrysanthemums, which will reach maturity in the run-up to the new year, to rise by about 10 per cent.
With the warmer weather in mind, Chu Fat, of Wing Fat flowers in Tai Po, said he was asking his customers to put in orders closer to the festival to secure the most attractive flowers with the best blooms.