8 festive plants to spruce up your home this Chinese New Year

Opt for non-seasonal plants so these can be displayed at home all-year round.
Opt for non-seasonal plants so these can be displayed at home all-year round.ST PHOTO: KELVIN CHNG

SINGAPORE - Every Chinese New Year, mandarin orange and four season lime trees count among the popular choices for home owners looking for auspicious plants.

But beyond these traditional picks, some are going for non-seasonal plants that will not look out of place beyond the festive season and can be displayed all-year round.

Mr P.H. Toh, owner of wholesaler Toh Floriculture Supplies, said that adeniums are one example.

"Adeniums represent good luck so more customers buy them for Chinese New Year, but they are also popular during other times because they flower throughout the year and are easy to maintain," said the 57-year-old.

He has sold about 3,000 pots of adeniums to market vendors and florists so far this year.

Orchids also remain a popular choice for the new year, said Mr Zhuo Hong Yi, 37, a project manager at orchid nursery Toh Garden.

"According to some of our older customers, Singapore printed orchids on banknotes during their generation, so orchids signify money to many of them," he added.

Meanwhile, Ban Nee Chen Nursery has brought in pink-hued dwarf jade bonsai for the first time.

"Customers are always on the lookout for something special and the pink is very eye-catching and people are intrigued by that," said the nursery's project manager, Ms Kelly Ng, 27, who adds that the miniature dwarf jade bonsai pots have sold out at several outlets.

The Straits Times checks out eight plants that will spruce up your space this Chinese New Year and beyond.

1. APRICOT BLOSSOMS


ST PHOTO: KELVIN CHNG

This tropical plant is highly sought after during Chinese New Year as it is believed to usher in luck. When the signature bright yellow flowers fall off, they resemble gold sprinkled on the ground . and this is why its Chinese name, man di huang jing, literally translates to gold all over the floor.

Price: From $28 to $380

Care: The plant can be kept indoors for up to three weeks during the blooming period and should be watered every day. Once all the flowers have dropped, place the plant in a sunny area. After new leaves have sprouted and matured, pluck them off to quicken the flowering process.

2. ADENIUMS


ST PHOTO: KELVIN CHNG

This plant comes in a variety of auspicious bright colours including red and pink.

Known as fu gui hua (wealth plant) in Chinese, it is a popular pick during the festive period because its swollen basal stem represents wealth and fortune. It is believed that the bigger the basal stem is, the more prosperity will be ushered in.

Price: From $28 to $68

Care: If it is placed in a sunny area, water the plant once a day. If it is in a shaded corridor, water once every two or three days. Avoid over-watering because the roots will rot if the soil is waterlogged.

3. KOREAN CYMBIDIUMS


PHOTO: TOH GARDEN

A popular corporate gift, these seasonal orchids are sold only during the Chinese New Year period because they bloom just once a year from around November to March.

The orchids require a temperate climate to grow and will not reflower in tropical Singapore.

Price: From $145 a pot

Care: When kept in a cool environment such as an air-conditioned office and watered once every three days, Korean cymbidiums can last for up to three months. Without air-conditioning, they can last for up to one month. As a general rule of thumb, water only when the media is dry.

4. DENDROBIUM MIX POTS


PHOTO: TOH GARDEN

For those looking for variety, these mix pots come with dendrobiums of assorted colours, including yellow and dark pink.

They are a perennial favourite at Toh Garden during the Chinese New Year season, with more than 100 pots sold this year so far.

Price: From $68 a pot

Care: The orchids can last for up to one month before the flowering process begins again. Keep the plant in a partially shaded area and water thoroughly. It should be fertilised twice a week. Make sure that the plant media is completely dried out before watering again.

5. LIMITED-EDITION GOLD SERIES TABLE GARDENS


PHOTO: FAR EAST FLORA

For those looking for a fuss-free plant that does not take up too much space, Far East Flora has brought back its series of potted prosperity and indoor plants - this time with a festive golden pig nestled among the greens. These coffee table favourites make for a festive tabletop display.

Price: From $82.90 a pot

Care: There is no need for second guessing when it comes to watering because each pot comes equipped with a water indicator that lets you know when it is time to hydrate the plants. Keep the plant in a shady area with indirect sunlight.

6. AZALEAS


PHOTO: FAR EAST FLORA

These vibrant flowers often bloom simultaneously and this is commonly taken to be a symbol of harmony. They are available in various bright colours, such as striking shades of pink.

Price: From $12

Care: Keep the plant in semi-shaded areas such as balconies. Water every alternate day and keep the soil moist.

7. BUDDHA'S HAND


ST PHOTO: NG SOR LUAN

For a more quirky choice, get this ornamental citrus plant that bears unusually shaped fruit. The fragrant fruits resemble the hands seen on representations of Buddha, which lends the plant its name.

This plant is believed to bring good luck and the orange-coloured fruits also add to the festive atmosphere.

Price: $68

Care: This is an outdoor plant so it requires a lot of sunlight. Water the soil thoroughly once a day and ensure that it is fully drained.

8. DWARF JADE BONSAI


ST PHOTO: NG SOR LUAN

The leaves of the bonsai resemble jade, which is believed to represent good luck.

Price: From $12.50 to $88

Care: Keep in a sunny and dry environment. Avoid waterlogging the soil. To ensure that the soil is well-drained, make sure that excess water flows out of the pot.

WHERE TO BUY

1. BAN NEE CHEN NURSERY, 11 Jurong West Street 93, tel: 9451-9217

2. FAR EAST FLORA. 565 Thomson Road, tel: 6251-2323, or go to www.fareastfloragarden.com

3. TOH FLORICULTURE SUPPLIES, 90 Jalan Lekar, tel: 6762-4046

4: TOH GARDEN, 11 Lorong Pasu, tel: 6763-9186, or go to www.tohgarden.com