The Best Plants to Ring In the New Year
Some holidays just get all the luck when it comes to plant symbols. Christmas has trees and poinsettias, Easter has lilies, Halloween has pumpkins and gourds, and St. Patrick’s Day is all about those four-leaf clovers. What about New Year’s? While there isn’t a universally accepted New Year’s plant, there are a few different routes you can take if you’re looking for a plant that lines up with the holiday.
Let’s start by looking at plants that are part of New Year traditions already. We celebrate the Gregorian New Year on the first of January but the Lunar New Year is observed on the second new moon after the Winter Solstice, which means it’s not on a set date every year but happens in late January or early February. This holiday has been around for thousands of years, so it’s had a lot of time to develop traditions relating to plants. Lunar New Year is celebrated by countries all around the world but especially in East Asia where the plants associated with it vary by region.
Chinese New Year is marked by oranges, money trees, paperwhites, and lucky bamboo. Japanese New Year highlights pine trees and bamboo, along with plum blossoms and ornamental kale, which are used to create traditional decorated containers called Kadomatsu. Korean New Year, which is called Seollal, highlights bright colors, namely in the form of peony and orchid blooms. Tết, the Vietnamese New Year, places heavy importance on apricot blossoms, as well as peach blossoms and kumquats.
You may notice a trend of fruit and fruiting trees among many of these traditions. This is also seen in Ancient Greek and Roman traditions where apples were the gift of choice to attract an auspicious new year. Gifting someone some fruit or a new fruit tree can be an excellent way to make this your own! Many plants celebrated by these cultures are also commonly sold at garden centers in the states. Money trees and lucky bamboo are often available year-round as houseplants, and pine trees of all sorts of sizes and varieties can be planted outdoors or kept inside with the right care, including keeping them as a bonsai.
Another recurring theme between many of these traditions is flowers. In most cases this lines up with whatever happens to be naturally flowering around the time of celebration, but red and white flowers are particularly prized. Red is considered a lucky color across many East Asian cultures, while the preference for white blooms is tied to color theory. White as a color is seen as a clean slate and something pure, fresh, and new. Perfect symbolism for a new year! Bright colors are used for New Year’s as a celebratory contrast to the dark, barren winter and because they’re reminiscent of fireworks, which have been around for thousands of years too. You may also see a fair amount of green, which is associated with a fresh newness and good luck as well.
As far as what we recommend you pick up to ring in the new year, certain types of citrus do well in our area as long as you bring them inside when the weather gets cold. Meyer Lemon, Bearss Seedless Lime, and Bush Key Lime are great choices that can be grown here with the proper care, and they tie into the fruit theme. Bromeliads, Peace Lilies, and Polka Dot Plants are all easy to care for indoor plants that are available year-round and come in a variety of vivid colors, including red and white. Of course, you can’t go wrong with the traditional orchids, money trees, or lucky bamboo either!
The best plant to give anyone to start the new year off right though is the plant that fits their lifestyle. Think about how much light their home or office likely gets, how often they’ll be able (or remember) to water, their plant care skill level, and if there’s a particular color, leaf shape, or growth habit they might enjoy, then stop by any of our stores and we’ll help you pick the best option out. If you’re looking for something to celebrate the New Year that you don’t have to care for all year, our Florist is also at the ready to create a stunning custom floral arrangement for the occasion. From all of us here at Moana Nursery, Happy New Year!
Arrangement from The Florist at Moana
If you have any questions, stop by any one of our three Moana Nursery garden centers or contact us online.