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Artists earn billions by lengthening ornamental porcelain ‘legs’

DONG THAP – Not sitting idly to enjoy the existing traditions of his family, Mr. Tran Duy Phong, 36 years old, seeks to create “long-legged” porcelain, earning two billion dongs a year.

As the son of a famous florist in Sa Dec City, Phong has always felt pressured under the “shadow” of his father. Therefore, the desire to make products and make a name for himself has been cherished since he was in his twenties. In 2014, when he went to Thailand to look for seedlings, he was attracted by long-stemmed ornamental plants. The tree can be more than ten meters tall thanks to the technique of stretching the roots.

Artists earn billions by lengthening ornamental porcelain ‘legs’
Mr. Duy Phong with the new product of split-cage porcelain. Photo: Ngoc Tai

At that time, each long-stemmed porcelain tree imported to Vietnam cost tens of millions of dong. The young man bought a mature tree while learning the technique of lengthening the trunk. Returning to the country, in addition to helping his family grow flowers, he practiced growing porcelain and grasping techniques. How much money he saved, he bought pyramid-like porcelain seeds that can pull “legs” for 18,000-20,000 VND to plant, while porcelain usually only 300 VND.

Due to the lack of technical knowledge, more than half of the seeds bought and sown are malnourished, not having enough vitality to undergo the “surgery” process. There are more than a thousand different varieties of pyramid porcelain, each with its own characteristics, suitable for different soils, must use the right variety to get results. New growers are not easy to grasp.

It took him nearly two years to plant before he fully understood the technique. A few products were introduced, creating attraction, but the young artist was not satisfied. On the one hand, Phong produces a large number of seedlings to sell to players for capital, on the other hand, continues to learn and improve his skills.

A long “legged” porcelain work prepares for the next “leg surgery”. Photo: Nguyen Khanh

On average, a porcelain tree planted in 8 months can pull “legs”. The artist will uproot the tree, keeping the strongest root. The rest of the roots are clamped by two bamboo sticks so that the stem and roots are straight. With special care, the roots grow evenly, equal to the stem in 6-8 months. Each time he stretched 30-40 cm, reached the desired height then stopped. The longest tree he pulled was 1.3 m within 2-3 years.

Initially, the work only stopped at the long body, so the selling price was more than 10 million VND per tree. Realizing there was room to grow, he uniquely shaped the roots, which took another year, to increase in value. In addition to the aesthetic eye, the experienced landscaper must predict the roots that will develop in the next 1-2 years to have a way to create a toxic position for the tree.

After many years of research, the boy from Sa Dec flower village was rewarded with an income many times higher than a traditional flower growing. In the period 2015-2017, he made a profit of 200-300 million dong per year mainly from selling seedlings, increasing gradually when selling finished plants with a price of several tens of millions of dong.

The process of stretching “legs” for ornamental porcelain can last several years, the selling price is 100 times higher than that of ordinary porcelain. Photo: Nguyen Khanh

In the years 2018-2019, he earned two billion VND per year, thanks to the supply of 400,000 seeds and 2,000 ornamental plants to the market. Currently, in addition to the “long-legged” porcelain line, he also splits the porcelain body to form special shapes such as flower pots, lanterns, braids… Covid-19 has caused a decrease in revenue in the last two years, but nearly 4,000 m2 was planted with porcelain. ornamental plants also give him an income of 700-800 million dong.

At the Bonsai Competition in the Greater Mekong Delta, held in Sa Dec City this year, Mr. Phong won a gold award, two silver prizes and many other awards. The artist also received a certificate of merit from the Provincial People’s Committee for his contribution to the development of the largest flower village in the West.

The bonsai porcelain lines in Mr. Duy Phong’s garden. Photo: Ngoc Tai

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