Mr. Bui The Manh, 47, is one of a few remaining artisans of the Tu Lien kumquat village in Hanoi who holds the secret of planting super-small bonsai kumquat trees in pots.
Manh’s bonsai kumquat trees are only from 20cm to 40cm tall and they are curved into unique shapes.
The bonsai kumquat trees in Manh’s garden are 3-7 years old on average and some are tens of years old.
The prices of these kumquat trees range from VND2 million to VND20 million ($100-$1,000). The price is set based the shape of the tree, the age, the leaves and buds, flowers and the number of fruit. The older the tree is and the more beautiful the shape and flowers, the higher the price is.
The waterfall-shaped kumquat is the most special tree in Manh’s garden, which is leased for VND20 million ($1,000) during the Tet holiday (lunar New Year). Manh does not want to sell the tree, only leases it.
Of the more than 300 trees in the garden, about 100 trees have been sold or hired for the upcoming Tet holiday.
Manh said to create a nice bonsai kumquat, it takes gardeners at least 3-5 years.
It is very difficult to plan kumquat in pots, Manh said. To hold the tree’s development or to have many fruits, the gardener must have deep knowledge and experience of the life cycle of the plant.
For that reason, the price for bonsai kumquat is much higher than normal trees.
Some trees are decorated with small statues symbolizing happiness and prosperity.
This tiny tree is priced for several million VND, similarly to the trees of 2-3m tall.
There are only ten households planting bonsai kumquat in Tu Lien village.