Chinese New Year beckons and many of us are busy sprucing up our homes with fresh, seasonal plants. Houseplants are all the rage right now, and rightly so: the amount of research showing that they do support our well-being is staggering.
According to a study in the Journal of Physiological Anthropology, active interaction with indoor plants can reduce physiological and psychological stress. It has been established that plants do have positive effects on our brain’s electrical activity, muscle tension and heart activity. Even placing a small plant at a corner of your desk can help reduce stress and anxiety, according to this Japanese study.
Some of these houseplant babies even double up as air-purifying powerhouses. According to the American Lung Association, it’s possible for our indoor air to be more polluted than outdoor air. Common air pollutants include mold, formaldehyde, asbestos, benzene and carbon monoxide. Houseplants like Anthuriums and Peace Lilies can filter out most of these toxic fumes — according to NASA.
Some research also showed that plant-filled rooms contain up to 60% less airborne molds and bacteria! Like we said, staggering, staggering plant positive evidence.
As we ring in the Chinese New Year, consider getting some lucky, festive houseplants for good fortune and good well-being — in one fell swoop!
We speak with Gracelyn from Sing See Soon to give us some much-needed plant care tips on our lucky houseplants — won’t want them lucking out on us before CNY ends, do we?
1. Kumquat tree
A perennial favorite for the Chinese New Year season, Kumquat trees and Four Seasons Lime trees represent fruit-bearing luck and wealth, due to its festive round golden oranges. During the CNY season, you’d be able to spot these everywhere — in homes, malls and offices alike. These gold-speckled trees are believed to bring prosperity to businesses.
If you take good care of your Kumquat plant, giving it plenty of sunlight and watering, you’d be able to harvest it for a tidy crop of fruit next year like a proud plant parent.
Plant care tips: First, ensure your tree pot has drainage holes so that the soil drains away all excess water. These citrus plants are susceptible to root rot so make sure soil is well-drained at all times. Kumquats and lime trees need regular watering — about 3 to 4 times a week, or whenever the soil is dry. Place the plant at a window where there is bright, direct sunlight shining in for at least 4 to 5 hours to keep these sun-loving plants happy.
Known as fu gui hua (flowers of wealth in Mandarin), adeniums are also a popular plant for Chinese New Year. It is believed that the swollen trunk stem symbolizes great abundance and good fortune.
Plant care tip: Place the plant in a spot with bright sunlight, and water when the topmost soil is dry. As a general tip, all flowering plants need plenty of sunlight so if you’re growing them indoors as houseplants, they must be placed near a window with ample sunlight streaming through!
3. Lucky Bamboo
The Lucky Bamboo, or fu gui zhu in Mandarin, is actually of a dracaena sanderiana descent and not really a bamboo plant. The green stalks do take on a bamboo-like appearance, hence its name.
Did you know the lucky bamboo means different things according to the number of stalks you have arranged? Two stalks stand for love; three for Fu, Lu, Shou (happiness, wealth, long life) and seven’s for good health. Another CNY cult favorite for Singaporeans, the Lucky Bamboo is pretty fuss-free — but then again, not entirely unkillable.
Plant care tip: These lucky bamboos are usually sold in water. Make sure the water only touches the roots, and don’t cover too much stalk. Change out the water every 2 weeks to keep it fresh and prevent mozzies from nesting.
4. Pachira Money Tree
The money tree, pachira aquatica, is a pretty houseplant in any home with its lobed leaves and braided trunk. As the plant is associated with wealth, prosperity and longevity, it’s also a very popular Chinese New Year houseplant to usher in luck and fortune. So, if money is what you’re seeking to manifest and bring in this year — get a Money Tree as a beautiful reminder of your goal.
Plant care tip: Place your Pachira Money Tree in bright, indirect sunlight. Avoid drafts and keep the humidity high by placing the pot near a water source. Let the soil dry out before watering it again.
5. Orchids, or phalaenopsis
A popular Chinese New Year house plant here in Singapore, orchids in full bloom are stunning. These elegant blooms also make for great gifts and can give a luxurious, refined touch to a space.
Orchids symbolize fertility, elegance and abundance in the coming year, especially in relationships. Of all colors, violet orchids are considered most auspicious.
Plant care tip: Use a pot with multiple draining holes if possible. Water the bark medium in the pot thoroughly until the water drains out fully. Be sure to clear the water from the plant saucer; do not keep your orchids in standing water as their roots will rot. Keep them in bright, indirect sunlight near a window.
6. Catkins, or Pussy Willows
These furry buds are classics for CNY and well-loved for its hardiness — these plants can last for months on end or even years! They symbolize growth and the coming of prosperity.
Plant care tip: Keep your pussy willows happy with a change of water twice a week and keep them in the shade when the sun stays out too long and strong.
7. Bonsai tree
The bonsai looks like a beautiful piece of art in any home — but make no mistake, it takes a pair of masterful green thumbs to prune the sapling into a fully mature miniature bonsai tree. The art of bonsai pruning originated from China and then became extremely popular in Japan. It is believed that the bonsai tree is the ultimate symbol of harmony between the man, spirit and nature.
Plant care tip: Water it weekly, or whenever the top of the soil is dry. Place your bonsai in a spot with bright, indirect sunlight. Mist it daily if you can, as bonsais love humidity.
8. Anthurium, or Flamingo Lilies
These deep red anthuriums symbolize good fortune, luck and prosperity during the Chinese New Year and beyond. It is also the named powerhouse by NASA as the top air purifying plant, filtering out ammonia, formaldehyde and xylene!
Plant care tip: Anthuriums love bright but indirect sunlight. Allow the top two inches of the soil to dry out before watering your anthuriums.
9. Peace Lily
The Peace Lily is another elegant plant to have, with its quietly graceful white blooms. Also a air-purifying powerhouse, it’s able to remove up to six different types of particles in the air, including ammonia and formaldehyde. It is believed that this plant is able to cleanse the home of negative energy and replace it with positive vibrations.
Plant care tip: The Peace Lily loves bright spaces but not direct harsh sunlight as it can hurt the leaves and flowers. Keep the soil moist but do not leave the plant standing in water. Mist its leaves for some TLC to add humidity.
So, which Chinese New Year house plants do you have your eye on? Hit up your nearest plant nursery — it’s time to get your green on. With some luck and good fortune, you may just end up with a happy boost in both your bank account and well-being by the end of 2021.
The ach editorial team is based in Singapore and we’re here to give you real tips and resources on how to lead a life that is #BusybutWell. Holistic well-being for the mind, body and spirit is the name of the game. Join our exclusive ach club for a dose of well-being straight to your inbox weekly.