There was a feature on Lunar New Year plants that was published on Life! on Tuesday. Some of the plants are relatively new in the festive plant market whereas there are others that received a make-over.
The one plant that was made a Lunar New Year plant this year is the netera (Nertera granadensis). The plant is appreciated for its compact, small size and numerous attractive, orange, bead-like fruits it produces. I have seen it being offerred for sale throughout the year but it is not a commonly seen plant in most nurseries, only a selected few import this plant for sale. It is probably the orange fruits that enable it become a Lunar New Year plant because it is an auspicious colour for the Chinese.
Citrus are indispensable for the Lunar New Year. This year, ‘bonsai-ed’ specimens are available as they look better and impressive than potted shrub-like plants that are normally put on sale. Because of the time required to form the twists and look, these citrus bonsais are not usually not cheap to get. Like what is written in the article, with good care, the plants can continue to grow and bear some fruits, but not as heavily, if they are well taken care of. They need to be given direct sunshine outdoors for best results.
The Buddha’s hand citron (Citrus medica) is a nice but an easy plant to get locally in the Lunar New Year festive plant market. The curious-looking fruits with finger-like projections are largely pulpless but they are especially fragrant and symbolise good luck, abundant wealth and longevity.
Another plant commonly called the Japanese begonia here is not related to the begonia at all. It is a member of the rose family and related more to apples and haws. It is in fact an ornamental quince (Chaenomeles spp.). Its Chinese common name is really called the “hai tang” (海棠, begonia), but it is a name which referred to the plant’s foreign origins and has nothing to do with the begonia plant. A member on the Green Culture Singapore discussion forum said that her plant had survived the heat of Singapore and had put forth a couple of flowers over the whole of last year.
Pitcher plants are not new Lunar New Year plants as they made their big debut about two years back when it was the Year of the Pig in the Chinese zodiac. The Chinese name of the pitcher plant is called the “Pig Cage Plant” and everyone hope to catch the golden lucky boar back then. This year, plants that are offered for sale after getting a elaborate makeover. The usual ones we get here are those that have pitchers hanging over the side of a pot. Bear in the mind that the plant actually requires filtered sunshine for at least 6 hours daily to grow well and not full shade as mentioned in the article! Pitchers should have water in them so that they do not dry up! For prevention of mosquito breeding, one is advised to drop in a few BTi granules instead. Cut away dried up pitchers and discard them accordingly.