Pros­per­ity plants

With Chi­nese New Year around the cor­ner, Elaine Yim of­fers some sug­ges­tions for plants and blooms that at­tract good for­tune

New Straits Times - - PULSE - Myn­ice­gar­den­

THIS is a good time to shop for lucky plants and flow­ers to dec­o­rate the home. Ev­ery year, I’m in­trigued by the vast ar­ray of plants on sale dur­ing this sea­son. It’ll be good to try grow­ing some sea­sonal plants which are only avail­able dur­ing this time of the year. May this be a joy­ful learn­ing ex­pe­ri­ence too.

Nowa­days, nurs­ery own­ers are well versed in the sci­en­tific names, com­mon names as well as aus­pi­cious names of the plants.

We can seek their ad­vice on how to care for the plants. We can re­quest them to re­pot and dec­o­rate our se­lected plants with fes­tive or­na­ments and red rib­bons. There are many choices to suit any bud­get.

Re­cently, I vis­ited two nurs­eries in Ipoh to check on the fes­tive plants on of­fer. The list of lucky plants seems end­less but here are some of my favourites. Spring flow­er­ing bulbs such as hy­acinth and narcissus are com­monly known as shui xian, mean­ing wa­ter fairy.

They ex­ude a fes­tive fra­grance and sym­bol­ise wealth and pros­per­ity. It’s not easy to get them to flower at the right time. The best time to buy these are less than a week be­fore the Chi­nese New Year.

Ac­cord­ing to Low Ai Yee from Hock Loke Siew Nurs­ery, you can grow them in wa­ter or sand in shal­low con­tain­ers. Keep in a cool place away from direct sun­light. Where nec­es­sary, flow­er­ing can be de­layed by con­trol­ling the wa­ter­ing to al­ter­nate days only. There’s no need to add fer­tiliser. Fre­quent wa­ter­ing and sun ex­po­sure will has­ten the bloom­ing process. They will not re-bloom again.

The chrysan­the­mum is a sym­bol of longevity and spir­i­tu­al­ity. The Chi­nese dec­o­rate their homes with pot­ted chrysan­the­mums while cut flow­ers are mainly used in prayers. The most pop­u­lar colour is yel­low be­cause the Chi­nese word for yel­low is wong, which has a sim­i­lar-sound­ing word mean­ing pros­per­ity. Tra­di­tion­ally, yel­low was also the colour of the em­peror and the im­pe­rial palace.

Ac­cord­ing to Cheong GW from Tong Sun Nurs­ery, we can buy those with many un­opened buds. Keep the pots in an airy and cool lo­ca­tion away from rain but with bright in­di­rect sun such as the porch. This will ex­tend the bloom­ing pe­riod as the flow­ers will open and fade away quickly when ex­posed to full sun.

The plants should not be kept in­doors for more than a week. Bring them out­doors reg­u­larly for a day or two to enjoy some sun and air. Af­ter flow­er­ing, you can con­tinue grow­ing them for as long as two years but the flow­ers are fewer in quan­tity. Se­lect hy­acinths with many vis­i­ble flow­ers buds.

Dec­o­rated pot of lucky bam­boos with wealth god and dog to usher in the new year.

FROM LEFT: Narcissus are also known as daf­fodils; Chrysan­the­mums come in many shades, sizes and shapes.

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