Many plant nurseries are abuzz as Chinese New Year draws near. Potted lime trees are among the most popular items, as people like to use them to decorate their homes during the festive season.
A Kuala Lumpur-based plant nursery is almost out of lime trees. Its sales advisor Ahmad Nubli, 26, explains that many people are thronging to buy them because they symbolise good luck.
“Two weeks ago, we received 400 lime trees from Taiwan and China. And we have sold off almost 90% of the stock. We are waiting for a new shipment to cater to the growing demand due to the Lunar New Year. Kumquat and lime plants are the favourites," he said during an interview.
He added that the nursery has stocked up on 25 types of popular plants, which include chrysanthemum (representing longevity), bamboo plant (good luck) and pussy willow (wealth and prosperity). Many of the Chinese New Year plants at the nursery are from Cameron Highlands, Pahang and Muar, Johor.
"Our customers have different preferences. Time-honoured classics like pussy willow and chrysanthemum appeal to the older generation. The younger generation prefers bamboo plants, pitcher plants (monkey cups) and succulents.
“Most of our younger customers say it is easier to maintain bamboo plants and succulents. Pitcher plants are said to be auspicious. The hanging pitchers resemble money bags, and symbolise long-term wealth."
Ahmad said people are willing to fork out a fair bit of money to buy prosperity plants during the Lunar New Year.
"Since the first week of January, we have had about 300 customers on weekends. Most of them spend between RM80 and RM400 on plants, especially lime trees, chrysanthemums and twisted bamboo plants," said Ahmad.
Chinese New Year plants sold at the nursery are priced between RM20.90 and RM1,900.
Here are five most sought-after plants during the Lunar New Year.
This perennial plant is a popular item during Chinese New Year because it symbolises wealth. Lime trees are placed at the front door entrance to welcome luck. It is believed that lime fruits can absorb negative energy and prevent homes from bad luck.
This indoor plant is also known as "wan zi qian hong" in Chinese. It means thousands of red and ten thousands of purple, which describes the colourful scenery created by the flowers during spring. This plant represents longevity and happiness.
The word "pineapple" sounds like "prosperity arrives" (ong lai) in Hokkien.
It is one of the most sought-after plants during the festive period.
Red pineapples are usually given as gifts during the Lunar New Year.
This plant is also called Anacampseros rufescens, and is part of the cactus family.
Succulents are drought-resistant plants that store water in their leaves, stems or roots. They symbolise good fortune and luck.
This uniquely shaped fruit is also known as cow's udder.
It is a must-have for the Lunar New Year, representing happiness and togetherness.
The fruit has five 'fingers', and these protrusions are believed to represent generations.
It symbolises five generations living in harmony and prosperity under one roof.