The Chinese New Year is approaching.
Plants and flowers play an important role in the celebration of the Chunjie, the Chinese New Year, which is also called the Spring Festival, as it celebrates the arrival of spring. Starting the Chinese Lunar New Year surrounded by plants instills a good tone note. Creating spaces full of plants and flowers offers the possibility of injecting color and festive spirit into domestic and work environments. In Asia, flowers are believed to bring wealth.
According to the principles of Feng Shui, plants bring excellent energy to living spaces as they are full of vibrant Qi. Plants may be able to attract luck and energy to any space. Success can also advance through the air. Relaxing smells can change the mood and make an individual more receptive to new opportunities. In Asian philosophy, lush, branched and flowering plants indicate material and spiritual growth.
Plants and flowers improve physical health by purifying the air and mental health because of their appearance, beautifying environments, they also increase positive thoughts thanks to their harmonies and colors. For some apprehensive people, some plants and flowers can also protect the spaces from evil spirits as well as bring blessings.
Since the plants bring well-being, it is possible to choose any favorite plants and flowers to enrich spaces for welcoming the Lunar New Year. But if you want to get closer to the Chinese traditional celebrations, here you can find a list of plants and flowers popular in Chinese culture for their symbolic meanings, related to the names or colors that sound like auspicious words.
They can be placed at home, at work or give as gifts to friends to wish luck and prosperity. Taking good care of these plants even after the festivities will also last them for the next celebration and their growth will increase the auspicious wish.
Adeniums 沙漠 玫瑰
This plant is also known as the desert rose but also as a flower of prosperity. There are different varieties of bright auspicious colors. During the festive period, the base of its basal stem is swollen representing wealth and luck. The larger the stem, the greater the prosperity. It is considered a popular symbolic gift.
Antirrhinum 金鱼 草 属
Antirrhinum is a genus of plants commonly known as dragon flowers or snapdragons because of the imaginative resemblance of the flowers to a dragon’s face that opens and closes its mouth when squeezed sideways. The flower symbolizes rebirth and new growth, it is a symbol of wealth and ambition. During the New Year wishes for a year of prosperity. In Fengshui he wishes health to the whole family, bringing positive energy into the vital environment. This flower is associated with those born under the sign of the rabbit.
Araceae 天南星 科
Aglaonema 粗 肋 草 屬
This plant is commonly called the Chinese evergreen and the version with the red leaf means “Red wealth God”.
Alocasia cucullata 尖 尾 芋
Alocasia cucullata is a species of plant in the arum family known by the common names of Chinese taro, Chinese ape, Buddha’s hand and hooded dwarf elephant ear. It’s an ornamental plant well known in Fengshui, as it’s believed to bring good luck in the environment in which it’s placed. This plant is preserved in Buddhist temples and is a good omen during the celebrations.
Anthurium 花烛 属
The name of the genus comes from the union of antho-, which in scientific Latin has the value of “flower”, and of the Greek οὐρά (ourá), “tail”, alluding to the long-limbed spadix that characterizes the inflorescence. Also called Flamingo Lily for the pink or red flower colors that make you think of flamingos and therefore symbolize prosperity. Flowers in the shape of hearts recur for the celebration of lovers. This is the plant of those born under the Chinese tiger sign.
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Scindapsus 藤 芋 属
Scindapsus aureum is a genus of flowering plants in the Araceae family. It is considered the best plant with air purification ability. In the Fengshui tradition, it is well known as the money plant. The plant is sold for festive decorations during the lunar new year.
Spathiphyllum 白鹤 芋 属
These flowers known as Peace Lily originate from humid tropical countries. They can help purify the air in your home. They help remove ammonia, benzene, xylene, formaldehyde, and trichloroethylene. Ivory white flowers are also used for Chinese weddings as a symbol of a happy union for 100 years. They are the auspicious flowers of those born in the Chinese zodiac signs of the rat, rabbit, and horse.
Zamioculcas 美 鐵 芋
Also known as the plant of eternity or emerald green palm is a genus of flowering plant in the Araceae family, containing the single species Zamioculcas zamiifolia. The zamioculcas is also known as the plant of the gold coin because of the yellowish inflorescences that are produced at various times of the year if the plant is in optimal condition.
Zantedeschia aethiopica 马蹄莲
Zantedeschia aethiopica known as calla, from the Greek kalos, beautiful, is an evergreen perennial plant. In Feng Shui, they are flowers for those who seek calm and peace. Surrounding yourself with this flower means wishing for wealth. For the New Year, they are considered a symbol of prosperity for those who own them. The plant is associated with those born under the sign of the horse.
Dracaena sanderiana 富貴竹
Dracaena sanderiana is a species of plant in the Asparagaceae family, native to Central Africa. Lucky Bamboo, folded or twisted in various shapes, is the Chinese auspicious symbol par excellence. A gift for the new year to bring prosperity and joy to family and friends. This popular plant, in Feng Shui, is an important symbol of strength and luck wherever it is placed. The number of stems will represent different wishes: for example, two are to propitiate love; three wish happiness and job promotions; seven to wish good health; eight for wealth.
Hyacinthus 风信子 属
Hyacinth is a small genus of bulbous, fragrant-scented flowering plants of the Asparagaceae family, subfamily Scilloideae. These flowers are often associated with spring and rebirth and are used in the celebration of the new year and the spring equinox. These are the flowers for those born in the Chinese zodiac year of the dragon.
Asteraceae 菊 科
Gerbera is a genus of herbaceous plants of the Asteraceae family, for their shape and structure the flowers are similar to a daisy and for this reason, they are also known as Barberton daisies. They can also remove toxins from the air and in the bright red variant, they symbolize the wish for a prosperous year.
Chrysanthemum 菊 属
Chrysanthemums are plants native to many parts of the world, from Europe to China. The name derives from the Greek κρυσάνϑεμον, composed of χρυσός, chrysòs, «gold» and ἄνϑεμον, ànthemon, «flower». The plant of the Asteraceae family symbolizes longevity. Its varieties with golden blooms represent wealth and prosperity. Few of their flowers fall during the winter and are therefore associated with resilience and strong life force, also for this reason they are considered a propitious gift.
Begonia 秋海棠 属
Begonia is a genus of perennial flowering plants in the Begoniaceae family. Its flower is mainly light red or bright pink and this feature makes it a perfect plant to bring joy and harmony during the holidays. Due to its ability to thrive in different conditions, it is considered a resilient plant and a favorite of those who want to easily create a cheerful environment. As a gift, it communicates the desire to give protection, but it is also a sign of care and respect for the donor. In Asian culture, it is one of the best feng shui flowers.
Celosia 青 葙 属
Celosia is a genus of small edible and ornamental plants from the Amaranthaceae family. This plant is popular in Chinese culture call plumosa because of its phoenix-like appearance: “feng wei” 凤尾. The bright red flower is important in traditional Chinese medicine. Also called cockscomb 雞冠花, this plant is considered lucky because it resembles rooster feathers and because roosters are considered lucky animals in Chinese culture. It is the lucky plant for those born under the Chinese sign of the rooster.
Citrus: Buddha’s hand Tree 佛手柑, Kumquat Tree 金柑, Lemon Tree 柠檬, Lime Tree 青檸, Mandarin Tree – Orange Tree 橘子, Pomelo Tree 柚子, Tangerine Tree 柑橘
Citrus plants are often used to bring wealth and prosperity. The name of the mandarins recalls the “golden fortune”. Oranges are considered lucky because they symbolize abundance and happiness. Kumquats are a traditional gift during the lunar new year. Most of these fruits resemble the sun, making them symbols of good luck, bringing “yang” energy into the lives of those around them. Exception for Citrus medica var. sarcodactylus also known by the common name of the Hand of Buddha. this particular variety of cedar is very fragrant. The plant is a symbol of happiness, longevity, and good luck. Its fruits add a festive atmosphere. The fruit is also given as a religious offering or as a gift on New Year’s Eve.
Crassula ovata 翡翠 木
Commonly known as Jade plant, lucky plant, money plant, or money tree this native plant of South Africa is often appreciated in the version with the emerald green leaves, which resemble the shape of a jade stone, which is very precious in culture Chinese. The plant is considered a symbol of prosperity, wealth, and luck. Its appearance is thick, has a harmonious development for this is found in many compositions of Feng Shui.
Dianthus caryophyllus 康乃馨
Dianthus caryophyllus is commonly known as carnation or clove pink. This flower in Feng Shui, in the red version, is associated with romance and pleasure, while in the white version with dignity and serenity. Since these flowers are considered to represent good luck and pure love, they are commonly used in wedding celebrations in China. It is believed that the greater their number, the greater the contribution of good energy, for this reason, they are sold in large bunches. This flower is associated with those born in the Chinese year of the goat.
Dischidia 眼 树 莲 属
This is a genus of plants traditionally attributed to the Asclepiadaceae family. They are epiphytes native to the tropical areas of China, India, and most areas of Indochina. The plant is known as wealth wallets or money pockets.
Epipremnum aureum 绿 萝
This popular indoor plant is well known as a gold money plant because its leaves are reminiscent of old Chinese gold bars and therefore it is said to bring good luck. This plant has thick, fleshy, and naturally shiny leaves. The other name of this plant is the devil’s ivy because it is a plant with remarkable adaptability and resistance. It also can remove xylene, trichloroethene, toluene, benzene, and formaldehyde from the air. In Fengshui it is used for its versatility, to purify the air and remove toxins. Its flowering means future luck.
Ficus microcarpa 細葉榕
Ficus microcarpa also known as Chinese banyan is a tree in the fig family Moraceae. In China, large fig trees can be associated with beneficial spirits and vital energy “Qi”. In Singapore, some trees are associated with places of worship among Buddhists and Taoists. The bonsai version is a popular indoor plant that has a positive impact on its surroundings and people’s health. These evergreen trees are symbols of longevity.
Gladiolus 唐菖蒲 属
Gladiolus is a genus of huge perennial flowering plants of the iris family (Iridaceae). Also known as sword lily, a bouquet of these flowers symbolizes the phrase a progression in career and personal development, as the flowers constantly bloom from base to tip. For the New Year celebrations, the red ones are recommended as they are more propitious for everything. This flower is linked to those born under the sign of the rooster.
Guzmania Lingulata 星 花 凤梨
Also known as pineapple flowers, this is a species of flowering plant in the Bromeliaceae family. Guzmania is native to the tropical forests of central and southern America, it blooms in spring-summer only once in its life. This plant from the pineapple family produces an auspicious fruit, in the Hokkien dialect, “ong lai” means the arrival of luck.
Hydrangea, commonly known as hortensia is a plant whose name derives from the Greek and means “water vessel”, which is about the shape of its seed capsules. The name Hortensia, on the other hand, is a Latinized version of the French name Hortense. Hydrangeas are emblems of gratitude and spiritual enlightenment and are an excellent thank you gift. Thanks to its versatility and beauty they are a symbol of creativity and illumination: whoever observes them easily, because of their magnificence, can lose themselves in the abundance of their wonderful petals, just as they can lose themselves in their thoughts. They propitiate love and the attainment of higher thought. This flower is associated with those born in the Chinese year of the pig.
Jasmine is a genus of shrubs and vines from the Oleaceae olive family. The small white flower gives off a sweet fragrance which in the Feng shui tradition helps keep a love story alive. This plant with its delicious aroma can attract money, bring love, luck, and prosperity since it produces positive energy in the environment. Its flower is associated with those born under the sign of the horse.
Juniperus Chinensis 桧柏
Chinese Juniper bonsai tree is a genus of plants of the Cupressaceae. Juniper bonsai is a small tree often associated with luck, which is why it is also called “money tree” and “lucky tree”. According to Feng Shui, they bring luck and abundance to the people who have them in their homes. The bonsai tree is associated with nobility because in the past only the rich owned them. Later they were associated with money and luck. Bonsai gifts are considered luckier than those purchased personally.
Kalanchoes 伽蓝 菜 属
Kalanchoes is a genus of about 125 species of tropical and succulent flowering plants of the Crassulaceae family, whose name derives from the Chinese name of the species. The small flowers of this succulent grow numerous in a cluster, which therefore draws wealth and prosperity for the new year.
Narcissus 水仙 属
Daffodil is a genus of mostly spring perennials of the amaryllis family, the Amaryllidaceae. Because it blooms early, this flower has become a symbolic flower of the Chinese lunar new year. When the narcissus blooms during the Chinese New Year, it is said that the flower will bring wealth and luck throughout the year. It is believed that this fragrant flower confers the flowering of hidden talents. The narcissus is also linked to the working sphere, it is thought to stimulate its production by allowing more productive work. This is why it is an excellent gift and an auspicious symbol in the life of those looking for career advancement and luck.
Nelumbo nucifera 莲
The lotus is one of the most significant flowers in Chinese culture. The lotus is known as the gentleman’s flower because it grows out of the mud without staining itself. Associated with the figure of Buddha, it symbolizes the perfection and purity of both heart and mind. It also represents long life, humility, tranquility, respect, and honor.
Nepenthes also know as tropical pitcher plants or monkey cups are a genus of tropical carnivorous plants. Their name derives from the ancient Greek νη- ne “not”, and πένθος pénthos “pain” and refers to an episode of the Odyssey, in which an Egyptian queen gives Elena a “nepenthes pharmakon”, a drug that soothes pain by erasing memories. The name Nepenthes was attributed by Linnaeus, who imagined as a botanist, who after a long and troubled journey in Southeast Asia had found this amazing plant in its natural habitat, he would have felt rewarded for every effort and all his worries would have been forgotten, as happened to Elena. They are often called “Monkey Cups” because monkeys have been observed to drink the liquid collected in their jugs. In Chinese culture, they are considered a wealth-accumulating plant because of its long pitchers which look like bags of money (called “qian dai”). It is believed that the more pitchers a plant has, the greater the fortune to accumulate wealth from every direction for the owner of the plant.
Orchid Cymbidiums 蕙蘭 屬
Orchids are often very colorful and fragrant flowers. Also known as boat orchids, these flowers are prized for their elegant blooms. The red and yellow/gold variants symbolize prosperity. They are the flower for those born in the year of the dog.
Orchid Oncidium – 文 心 蘭 屬
This particular species is also called “Dancing Ladies” “The dancers”, these orchids with their small yellow petals seem to sprout gold coins. Orchids are considered a symbol of fertility and abundance. Confucius has compared the orchid to a man of honor, for this reason, they are also associated with culture, luxury, refinement, represent nobility, integrity, and friendship, they are ideal for special moments and special people. “The orchids let out their fragrance even if there is no one around to appreciate it. Likewise, men of noble character will not let poverty deter their will guided by high principles and morals.”(“芝蘭生於森林, 不為無人而不芳, 君子修道立德, 不為窮困而改節.”)
Orchid Phalaenopsis 蝴蝶 蘭 屬
This orchid is commonly known as moth orchid, as its petals resemble the wings of a butterfly. This species is one of the festive queens par excellence since it symbolizes happiness, vitality, and longevity. Orchids symbolize fertility, abundance, love, and marriage. The orchid is the flower of those born under the Chinese sign of the snake.
Pachira Aquatica 馬拉巴 栗
This plant is known as the money tree. It is symbolically associated with financial luck, prosperity in business and is often decorated with red ribbons or other objects, which are considered lucky charms. In 1986, a Taiwanese truck driver first cultivated five small trees in a single pot with their braided trunks, this method of growing plants has since become common.
Peonies 芍药 属
Peonies in Chinese are called 牡丹 and are commonly known as “Flowers of Prosperity”. Also called the flower of wealth and honor, they are a symbol of feminine beauty, love, and affection. They are available in a range of shades including white, pink and red. During the Chinese New Year, peonies symbolize the desires for luck and prosperity. Peonies are very popular in China.
Rosaceae Blossoms: Apple 苹果, apricot 杏, cherry 樱桃, almond 扁桃, peach 桃子, pear 梨, plum 李 属
They belong to the Rosaceae family and the genus prunus: apple, apricot, cherry, almond, peach, pear and plum. They all originate from the part of northeastern China bordering Russia. Flowers considered precious symbolize love, romance, prosperity, longevity, and growth. These flowers are associated with the zodiac sign of Taurus.
Rhododendron 杜鵑 花 屬
Also known as Azaleas, these flowering shrubs have vibrant flowers that often bloom simultaneously and this is commonly considered a symbol of harmony. In Chinese culture, the azalea is known as “thinking of the home bush” (sixiang shu) and is immortalized in Du Fu’s poetry.
Salix caprea 黄花柳, Salix cinerea willow 灰毛柳, Salix discolor 柳树
These plants of the Salicaceae family 褪色 柳 are also known as Pussy Willow 银柳 or catkins. This name is given to the smaller species of the genus Salix since in early spring the young branches have small hairy buds like kittens. They indicate the beginning of spring and prosperity. The silky shoots that emerge are seen as a symbol of growth. This decorative plant during Chinese New Year indicates wealth and abundant prosperity because the word “Yin” seems similar to the words “silver” and “money”. Fluffy sprouts are considered to be silver willows, as precious as silver coins.
Schefflera arboricola 鵝掌藤
Schefflera arboricola, also known as Dwarf Umbrella Tree is a flowering plant of the Araliaceae family, originally from Taiwan and Hainan. In China, the umbrella tree is one of the most commonly used plants in Feng Shui. Its leaves capture positive energy and the plant is said to attract wealth. The “umbrella” leaves of the plant also provide a protective effect. This plant is popular as an indoor bonsai.
Solanum mammosum 乳茄
Solanum mammosum is commonly known as the fruit of the nipple or apple of Sodom, it is an inedible pan-American tropical fruit. It is mainly used as decorative foliage for religious floral arrangements and festivals in Asia. The fruit is used as an auspicious sign during the Chinese New Year because of the gold-colored fruit and the belief that the five “fingers” on the fruit represent longevity for the family. In Chinese culture, the plant is known as a five-finger eggplant (五指 茄) in the traditional belief it is considered a great blessing for a family reunion and for living harmoniously together.
Also known as Marigold, it is a plant native to southern Mexico, but the species have naturalized worldwide. These brightly colored plants are called “wan shou ju” 万寿菊 which means 10,000 years of durability and longevity. This calendula was considered the flower of the dead in prehispanic Mexico, parallel to the lily in Europe, and is still widely used in the celebrations of the Day of the Dead. It is sold on world markets for ceremonies and rites, such as the creation of garlands and decorations for weddings, parties and other events.
Image source: wikimedia
Topics: name of the plants in Chinese, fengshui plants, symbolism of plants in Chinese culture, plants and fengshui, list of plants in traditional Chinese culture
CHINA-UNDERGROUND. Ciao! My name is Dominique. I’m Italian and I’m proud to be a mix. My father was an Italian chemical engineer and high school teacher, with Greek and Polish heritage. My mother is Haitian, she was high school language teacher, with Dominican, Spanish, French, Portuguese, African and Native American heritage. Being a mix makes me appreciate to want to understand different cultures and lifestyles. I grew up in Italy, lived few years in Haiti, travel around main European capitals, lived seven years in China, six in Spain and UK. Traveling makes me feel that we can learn something from every situation in every part of the world.