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CNY flowers and plants - Traditional choices you must have!

CHRYSANTHEMUMS
With their bright gold or purple hues, chrysanthemums are an auspicious choice for the season. The plant is said to symbolise longevity, while those with gold blooms represent wealth and prosperity. It grows well when placed away from the sun or in shaded areas. Water twice a day till water flows out from the bottom of the pot. Avoid watering the flowers directly as they are fragile.

Chinese New Year, flowers, plants
 

KALANCHOES
Known as wan zi qian hong - meaning thousands and millions of red and purple in reference to its small flowers - the kalanchoe is an easy plant to grow and is said to bring wealth and prosperity. The succulent, whose flowers grow in a cluster, thrives well indoors and prefers indirect sunlight. It should be watered once a week and should not be left in wet soil as this will cause its roots to rot. Use pesticides, such as cypermethrin or malathion, regularly to keep pests away.

Chinese New Year, flowers, plants
 

JADE PLANT
This South African native, which is also known as crassula, is often in demand 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. It requires very little moisture - water sparingly every alternate day. Place it in a semi-shaded area.

Chinese New Year, flowers, plants
 

PUSSY WILLOW
Pussy willows signify the start of spring. Also known as catkins, this plant with furry buds needs a change of water twice a week if it is in a vase. If it is potted, water twice a week. Fresh water ensures the plant lasts longer and prevents mosquitoes from breeding. As Singapore's climate is hot, it may be difficult for the plant to grow new shoots after it blooms. It is best to place it in a shaded area.

Chinese New Year, flowers, plants
 

PHALAENOPSIS
Known as hu die lan in Mandarin, this plant is a popular festive plant as its petals resemble the wings of a butterfly, symbolising happiness, spring, vitality and longevity. Water moderately twice a day. Flowers discolour or turn translucent with overwatering. When this happens, stop watering for a few days or reduce the amount of water used.

To keep the plant healthy, use fertilisers with a high phosphorus and potassium content once a week. To maintain a glossy look, apply leafshine aerosols to the plant's leaves. To prolong the life of these pretty blooms, place them in a shaded, cooler area.

Chinese New Year, flowers, plants
 

LUCKY BAMBOO
Bent, twisted and twirled into various shapes such as the number eight, the lucky bamboo is the Chinese symbol for strength. The plant is decorated with red ribbons and lucky ornaments, and the number of bamboo stalks in one pot represents different things. For example, two is said to be an expression of love, while seven stands for good health.

The plant requires little care. Just stick the stems in fresh, clean water and anchor them with pebbles. Change the water every seven to 10 days.
Chinese New Year, flowers, plants

Sources: Gardenasia, World Farm, Far East Flora and Sing See Soon Floral & Landscape

A version of this article first appeared on www.straitstimes.com.

 

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