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Chinese New Year Flower Market
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A guide to Chinese New Year flowers and fruits

Ring in the (lunar) new year in style

By Time Out Hong Kong
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Much like Christmas trees at Yuletide, flowers play a huge role in the celebration of Chinese New Year in Hong Kong. They’re not just a pretty sight, though. The flowers and fruits you see taking over households, shops, and offices all have symbolic meanings. If you don’t know whether you should get orchids, peach blossoms, or some other oddly named botanicals like pussy willows, here’s the lowdown on the fruits and flowers to help you usher in the best fortune for the Lunar New Year!

RECOMMENDED: Check out our ultimate guide to celebrating CNY in Hong Kong for the Year of the Ox!

Guide to Chinese New Year flowers and fruits

CNY orchids
CNY orchids
Photograph: Shutterstock

Orchids

Fertility, abundance, refinement, luxury and innocence are what these flowers bring – ideal for that special someone. There’s a formidable variety of orchids out there, but don’t get burned by believing that you need one of each for the magic to work. They’re all good – and one flower pot should do the trick. That being said, orchids tend to be at the higher end of the price scale, so you’ve been warned, choose wisely.

Peach Blossom
Peach Blossom
Photograph: Courtesy cc/wikicommons/Dennis Brown

Peach Blossoms

Customarily placed in an expensive vase to reflect their lofty status in Hong Kong, these flowers represent romance, prosperity and growth. So if you’re a single person in need of a bit of lovin' in your life, you’re going to have to fight off the suitors once you have some peach blossoms set up at home. Be warned though, a peach blossom tree can grow to a mighty size and take up a lot of space. But hey, anything for love, right? 

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CNY pussy willow
CNY pussy willow
Photograph: Shutterstock

Pussy Willows

Fear not, there’s nothing lewd about this plant. Much like the other flowers on this list, pussy willows symbolise growth and the coming of prosperity. Vendors usually offer them in bundles where they can be as tall as the height of a person. They're usually white or grey in colour, but vendors have also found a way to add some striking colours. Pussy willows can last for months and make for a great house plant even after Chinese New Year is over.

CNY Narcissus
CNY Narcissus
Photograph: Shutterstock

Narcissus

Also known as Chinese sacred lilies, narcissi are one of the most auspicious flowers around that symbolise good fortune and prosperity, and they smell like an absolute dream. Therefore, we suggest you fill your house full of them, then hit Happy Valley Racecourse. Surely a no-fail plan? These flowers can grow pretty rapidly, especially in warmer temperatures. We recommend buying them closer to CNY so they’ll be in full bloom when friends and family come over to bai leen.

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CNY Mandarins and tangerines
CNY Mandarins and tangerines
Photograph: Shutterstock

Mandarins and tangerines

The mac daddy of CNY fruits – these are everywhere at this time of year, and for good reason. The Chinese word for mandarins happens to be a pun on luck and fortune, so the more fruits you place around the house, the better. Tangerine plants can also be placed near doorways to ensure you bring in good fortune when you’re stepping into your home or workplace. Plus, it’s just a great colour to brighten up the space.

Pomelo
Pomelo
Photograph: Courtesy Dean Moriarty

Pomelos

Hooking yourself up with a pair of these doesn’t just give you a pair of biodegradable stress balls, they bring good luck and are a symbol of family unity. Bear in mind that they come into season just before CNY, so you’ll see them in both ripe and unripe varieties (yellow and green, respectively).

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CNY Lucky Bamboo
CNY Lucky Bamboo
Photograph: Shutterstock

Lucky Bamboo

A cuter, more portable bamboo plant than what pandas eat – or what makes up for scaffolding – Lucky Bamboo is particularly popular for Chinese New Year. As the name suggests, this baby attracts all the good luck you need. The bamboo stalks curl and twist into interesting shapes, almost like loopy straws, and are great for novice gardeners to take care of. You can even add red ribbons and lucky ornaments on it for even better feng shui. 

Gladiolus
Gladiolus
Photograph: Courtesy cc/wikicommons/pxhere

Gladiolus

Also known as sword lily, a bouquet of this symbolises a particular Chinese phrase (步步高陞) which indicates a rise in career and self-development, as the flowers bloom steadily from the base to the tip. You’ve got to go for the red variety during CNY, the most auspicious colour of them all. You can also keep things simple with a simple branch or go for the bunch, either way, it’s good feng shui and pretty all the same. 

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CNY Peonies
CNY Peonies
Photograph: Shutterstock

Peonies

Feminine beauty, innocence, affection and charm – peonies are particularly auspicious for Chinese New Year. The flower is also good for wooing, too. Since CNY falls in advance of Valentine’s Day, there’s no harm in decorating the house full of peonies to set the mood.

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