'Support' flowers blossom in Japan cold snap

A Japanese flower farmer north of Tokyo has started shipping his latest crop of long-blooming carnations, which are popular with students preparing to take entrance exams across the country.

Hoshino Terumasa in Gunma Prefecture began cultivating his carnations to coincide with Japan's exam season about 10 years ago. He calls them "ouenka", which means flowers for support.

Hoshino doesn't use artificial heating to encourage growth. Instead he takes more time to grow his crop naturally. The result is flowers that bloom for about a month. That's twice as long as ordinary carnations.

Hoshino said he hopes the students will do their best, just like the flowers do when they bloom in cold winter.

He says when the business is at its peak, he sends out about a thousand pots a day.