(File pix) (From top left) Lucky bamboo, jade plant and marigold; (from bottom left) guzmania lingulata, chrysanthemums and cockscomb.

PREPARING for Chinese New Year (CNY) celebrations can sometimes be a very intense affair. There is so much to do, such as spring-cleaning to discard stuff you no longer need and decorating the living and dining areas according to certain themes.

The garden shouldn’t be forgotten as this is the first place your guests will set their eyes on when they visit your home.

Make sure the plants and trees are properly trimmed. Throw away all empty containers and broken pots.

Chinese New Year plants come in a myriad of options and are a quick way to create the right mood. Not only should you get plants that stay fresh throughout the 15 days of celebration, you may also want to go for those that can last longer than three weeks.

If you want flowering plants, find out how long they will take to bloom. As it gets closer to Chinese New Year, pick plants which have partially opened flowers so they will bloom in time for the festivities.

If you get flowering plants that have bloomed a week or two before Chinese New Year, chances are they will wither by the time the actual day comes.

Flower blossoms are believed to bring fortune, according to the popular Chinese belief, so you wouldn’t want to ruin the mood if they wither during your Chinese New Year celebrations.

Here are some lucky plants that are auspicious for the new year:

1. TANGERINE TREE

A perennial favourite during Chinese New Year, tangerine trees are ideal for indoor decorations during the festive season. These shrubs are often dubbed “lucky tree-bearing fruit” and are great for ushering in wealth. The trees are usually placed at the main door entrance, mostly at the sides. You can also place them indoor, but make sure to water them regularly.

2. LUCKY BAMBOO

The lucky bamboo is the Chinese symbol for strength. Bent, twisted and twirled into various shapes, especially the number eight, the plant is usually decorated with red ribbons and luck ornaments. You will find it in most Chinese homes.

3. JADE PLANT

This South African native is popular because of its emerald-green leaves which resemble the shape of a jade stone. The plant is regarded as a symbol of prosperity, wealth and fortune. Jade plants require very little moisture and sunlight.

4. MARIGOLD

No annual plant is more cheerful or easier to grow than marigold. This brightly-hued plant signifies longevity. Marigold thrives in full sunshine and can often withstand very hot summers, so you can place the plants outside to add colour in the garden.

5. GUZMANIA LINGULATA

This flowering plant is also known as “pineapple flowers”. Pineapple is an auspicious fruit and it is called “ong lai” in Hokkien, which means “good fortune arriving”. It is easy to maintain the plant and it lasts a long time if given proper care. Because it’s a tropical plant, guzmania lingulata benefits from high humidity.

6. CHRYSANTHEMUMS

Chrysanthemums area beautiful addition to any garden and home. The plants are an auspicious choice for the season. They symbolise longevity, with those with gold blooms representing wealth and prosperity.

7. COCKSCOMB

The cockscomb flower is an annual addition to the flower bed, commonly named for the red variety similarly coloured to the cock’s comb on a rooster’s head. It is considered lucky because roosters are considered lucky animals in Chinese culture. The plant can last a long time. It enjoys full sun and you should provide it with fertiliser at least once a month.

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