Rebirth and growth: Chinese New Year plants in Singapore

Mandarin oranges guide from JM Florist on Joan Road

The CNY flower scene has descended upon us.

Like having the Fir tree, poinsetta for Christmas.

Except that for Chinese, CNY plants have symbolic representations of blessings.

Oranges represent gold ingots.  I’m happy to chance upon a chart at JM Florist, as to differentiate a Kamquat from a Dragon Heart. A Kamquat looks like a Oval-shaped Van Houten Choc with almonds.

While a Dragonheart looks like a hershey’s kiss.


Then, there are the splashes of red.  Like the Cock’s comb (Celosia Crest) plant, with flowers looking like Cock’s crest. Grows well in full sun.  Or the Phoenix tail (Celosia Plume).

Blooming plants represent re-birth and growth, so always a good sign.  Pachira with its braided trunk is always welcome – as it looks like a sure trap for money flowing into the house, so make sure its placed near windows.  Zamioculcas is highly sought after for the same reason, the leaves look like green ingots. Its also known as a money tree.

Chinese ornaments hung around fourseasons lime plant

The Hokkiens especially love Radish and the Pineapples for what the names sound in the dialect. Radish = 菜头 but sounds like 彩头, meaning windfall in business, lotteries. 🙂  In Taiwan during election campaigns, its not uncommon for political candidates to be presented with gigantic white radishes.  Symbol of success and good fortunes.  Same for the pineapple.  Some people actually display pineapples.  Others display the Guzmania, as its Chinese name is pineapple flower.

Jade Plant or Crassoula

This year I could not resist buying a Jade Plant (Crassoula).  Its a succulent meaning it requires little water.  In fact its fleshy leaves will drop off if fed with too much water.  Keep in well drained soil. Here my Jade plant is happy with two fishes symbolising overflowing abundance, a play on the Chinese word for fish 年年有鱼( 余).

The genteel among us, will display pussy willows.  The tiny buds reveal silken flowers – a sign of birth.  Pussy willow is also a harbinger of spring and a few stalks can be very elegant, set against a calligraphy scroll. Or simply a plain backdrop.  The Christmas influence has tempted me to hang tiny Chinese decorative items on the pussy willow.

The romantic will display hydrangeas, chrysanthemums, even carnations decorated into flower balls.

In any case, you can’t go wrong with splashes of red, orange or green. Or anything spring. Places to shop – Neighbour markets and florists in Thomson Road area.

Happy Chinese New Year.

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