by KT Leong
After 9 long months since the first succulent fair (read about it on Ipoh Echo here), Cactus Boy Nursery has returned to Ipoh and concluded its second spectacular succulent fair at Ipoh Parade, captivating plant enthusiasts and curious shoppers with an unparalleled celebration of nature’s wonders.
The 3-day event, drawing in an impressive 8,000 visitors, showcased an expanded assortment of plants that left attendees awestruck. Shoppers marvelled at the wider selections, eagerly exploring the diverse array of botanical treasures. Which is no small feat, considering that the previous succulent fair already showcased over 500 assorted breeds of plants, including the biggest and most expensive succulent on the market at that time.
Among the delighted attendees was 13-year-old Loong Yong Xuan, an SMJK Sam Tet form one student, who enthusiastically returned after attending the previous fair in March. Using his ang pao and savings from pocket money, he invested wholeheartedly in succulents, a fascination that sparked unexpectedly at age 5. His quest for rare and unique species led him to seek advice from his idol, Ah Boy (Koh Kuan Meng, the founder of Cactus Boy Nursery) and, armed with the understanding of these plants’ behaviours and intricate planting techniques, he curated an impressive collection at home.
Koh Kuan Meng’s own fascination with succulents didn’t start quite as early as the young Loong’s of course. Instead, he said that it started out of boredom and wanting something to do or take care of. From there, and through the MCO, he built the Cactus Boy Nursery.
Despite being a business, raising succulents isn’t a soulless and mechanical process. Instead, each individual plant is given great love and attention. This is the reason why succulents can cost as much as they do, especially older specimens, which may have taken years of care to perfectly raise. As opposed to being mass produced in a factory somewhere.
This is why a succulent enthusiast has to be aware of their plant’s behaviours, and why it’s such a fascinating and enthralling hobby.
Collaborating with Cactus Boy Nursery were Jungle Art Studio, May’s Nepenthes, and FFS Botanics, each specialising in distinct botanical offerings.
Aries Tan from Jungle Art Studio captivated shoppers with living art pieces, showcasing a stunning assortment of platycerium or staghorn ferns. Additionally, her collection included unique air plants, monsteras, aspleniums, and beautifully crafted decorating wood pieces. These plants serve to enhance gardens while doubling as exquisite wall adornments, adding a touch of artistic elegance to any space.
May, of May’s Nepenthes, brought her wealth of expertise in captivating plant varieties such as nepenthes, sarracenia, drosera, venus flytraps, and other carnivorous plants, infusing the fair with her boundless knowledge and enthusiasm. As a passionate nepenthes enthusiast in Malaysia, May eagerly introduced shoppers to the diverse range of nepenthes species through engaging sharings and informative posters. May also provided invaluable tips for nurturing these unique plants, highlighting essential care techniques to intrigued attendees.
Eric Tong from FFS Botanics specialises in plant growth fertilisers and showcased an extensive collection of caudex plants, drawing both seasoned enthusiasts and novices. Their line of growth technology-based fertilisers garnered significant interest during the fair. Eric also exhibited an impressive selection of rare and well-cultivated caudex plants, featuring specimens like the Stephania Nova “Kaweesakii” (single-leaf Stephania Erecta), and flowering Stephania Erecta, captivating attendees with their uniqueness and beauty.
Cactus Boy Nursery astounded shoppers with an expanded collection of cacti and succulents sourced locally and internationally. Standouts included the Blue Myrtle Cactus, known as the Blue Candle, with a meaningful Chinese name symbolising the wood of the divine dragon—a fitting addition for the upcoming 2024, the Year of the Dragon. Another crowd-favourite was the Fairy Castle Cactus, admired for its intricate growth pattern.
Beyond succulents, the fair also boasted a diverse selection of indoor and jungle plants, captivating visitors with its sheer variety and scale.
Lim Huey Tyng, Advertising & Promotions Ipoh Parade Manager, expressed her delight at the fervour of plant enthusiasts and their eagerness to explore unique additions for their homes:
“We can feel the passion of plant lovers and their keen interest in discovering something exceptional and interesting for their homes. The succulent fair was a testament to their enthusiasm for learning and exchanging planting tips with expert gardeners,” said Huey Tyng.