Get an orchid of your own

Orchid breeders here say more people are shelling out for a flower named after them.
Orchid breeders here say more people are shelling out for a flower named after them.ST PHOTO: KUA CHEE SIONG

Want an orchid named after you? Yes, you can have one - for a price.

Head to local nurseries which offer hybrids for naming. Orchid breeders here say more people are shelling out from a few thousand dollars to north of $30,000 for an orchid named after them.

However, Mr Teo Woon Cheng, 43, of Woon Leng Nursery, says it is still very much a "niche market", even after a decade of offering this service. The nursery has named about 10 orchids after clients so far this year, including one as an engagement gift.

Meanwhile, Toh Garden, a tropical orchid grower in Lorong Pasu, created the Papilionanda Chua Chu Kang for the constituency - a first in Singapore. The purple flower, which has curled petals, is related to Singapore's national flower, Vanda Miss Joaquim. It was commissioned for SG50.


Toh Garden created the Papilionanda Chua Chu Kang for the constituency. -- PHOTO: TOH GARDEN

Toh Garden's manager, Mr Zhuo Hongyi, 31, says the nursery sees more corporations, such as hotels, which want personalised orchids as part of their branding collateral. It has also had requests from overseas clients, such as a professor from London who wanted an orchid for his wife's 60th birthday.

He explains: "The orchid is symbolic of Singapore and people connect it with us. When they come to visit, they want an orchid that is made here. It's like a signature - having your own makes it iconic."

Getting your own hybrid named is fast. Mr Teo says that if an unnamed hybrid is available, it takes just one to two days to register it with the Britain-based Royal Horticultural Society.

The Orchid Society of South-east Asia, which is based here, can also help facilitate orchid-naming procedures. The society has access to local breeders and can help with the process of registering a new hybrid under the name you want. Go to www.ossea.org.sg to contact the society.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on October 24, 2015, with the headline 'Get an orchid of your own'. Print Edition | Subscribe