Worldwide icon-chevron-right Asia icon-chevron-right Hong Kong icon-chevron-right A guide to Chinese New Year flowers and fruits

A guide to Chinese New Year flowers and fruits

How to ring in the (lunar) new year in style
Chinese New Year Flower Market
By Graham Turner and Olivia Lai |
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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 huge symbolic meanings. And if you want to get involved, the first port of call is one of the many outdoor shopping markets like the Mong Kok Flower Market or the annual Chinese New Year Flower Market, which usually pops up around a week before the big day. If you don’t know whether you should get orchids or peach blossoms while you’re browsing the markets, or you’re not sure what exactly pussy willows are, here’s the lowdown on the fruits and flowers to help you usher in the best fortune for the Year of the Pig.

RECOMMENDED: It’s not CNY without a massive pyrotechnic display over Victora Harbour. Here are the best spots to catch the fireworks without paying a cent. 

Guide to Chinese New Year flowers and fruits

Orchid

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. One pot should be able to do the trick. That being said, orchids tend to be at the higher end of the price scale, so you’ve been warned. 

Peach Blossom

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 love 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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Pussy willow

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. Subtle and clean, pussy willows can last for months and make for a great house plant even after Chinese New Year is over.

Narcissus

Narcissus

Good fortune and prosperity are the name of the game here. Also known as Chinese sacred lilies, narcissi are one of the most auspicious flowers around 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 for bai leen.

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Mandarin

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 Chinese New Year

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 varietals (yellow and green, respectively).

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Lucky Bamboo

Lucky Bamboo

A cuter, more portable bamboo plant than what pandas eat – or what makes up for scaffolding – Lucky Bamboos is particularly popular come 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. You can even add red ribbons and lucky ornaments on it for even better feng shui. 

Gladiolus

Also known as sword lily, a bouquet of this symbolises the phrase《步步高陞》, meaning 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 at the same time. 

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peony

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.

Get the lowdown on the CNY essentials

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