In Inner Mongolia, orchids thrive despite frigid temperatures

Updated: 2013-01-04 22:04

By Wang Kaihao (

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Orchids no longer require exclusively warm climates to survive.

Although the temperature outside can fall below -20 C, the moth orchids in a greenhouse in the Inner Mongolia autonomous region’s Tumd Right Banner are flourishing.

The 60,000 square meter site is one of the country’s biggest orchid plantations in high-altitude areas.

Zhao Yifan, deputy managing director of the Luzhiyuan Landscape Construction Co Ltd, which runs the plantation, said the park produced more than 800,000 seedlings in 2012, with half of them sent to Beijing.

He expects to see 15,000 of them appear in the capital’s markets during Spring Festival, and believes his price of 35 yuan ($5.60) for each seedling is competitive.

Zhao says the company wants to expand, but the best sales radius for orchids is 700 km. However, this has not stopped it from exporting 300,000 orchids a year to South Korea.

The high cost of air cargo makes it difficult for Zhao to realize his ambition to enter the European flower market, a problem faced by the industry throughout China.

Zhao has considered transporting orchids by rail to Amsterdam, Europe’s flower trade hub, but rigid quarantine regulations in countries en route makes this difficult.

“When the flowers enter a new country, the whole package has to be opened and checked,” Zhao said. “This is harmful for fresh plants.”

However, he expects to see more government involvement and international cooperation finally establish a route free from complicated inspections.

More than 1.5 million orchid seedlings are grown in Inner Mongolia every year, while about 60 million are grown annually nationwide.