Festive plants sell well due to ideas

  • Nation
  • Sunday, 26 Jan 2003


KUALA LUMPUR: There is apparently no rich history behind the popularity of the “money plant” and “lucky bamboo” during the Chinese New Year – it is all due to the creativity of marketing gurus, said florist Peter Chew. 

Good marketing ideas brought these plants into the homes of many Malaysians, not just the Chinese but also other communities, to boost the festive mood, he said. 

“It is a tradition to display pussy willows and cherry blossoms to mark the coming of spring and the beginning of a new year. But in recent years, new products developed by the Taiwanese became a hit due to creative image packaging. 

“Take for example the money plant, which is native to Africa with the name Zamioculcas. It was given a new identity symbolising prosperity and fortune due to its glossy leaves. The Chinese named it kum chin shu (literally translated as gold money tree). 

FLORAL ATTRACTION: Elinor Kamalul Azmi (right) and Mastura Aireen selecting pussy willows to decorate their office for the Chinese New Year.

“The curly bamboo or juen wen zhu (turning your luck) is just a young bamboo trunk treated to have twisted and curly ends to represent things heading for the better,” he said when met at his booth in Mid Valley Megamall on Friday. 

Giving plants creative names and symbolism would make them sell well, said Chew, who had been in the business for over a decade.  

This year, he imported 96,000 pussy willows and a container load of curly bamboo trunks along with other “festive” plants and artificial flowers. 

Chew said the liking for Chinese New Year decorative plants had caught up with the other communities, thanks to Kongsi Raya in the late 1990s. 

“That period of shared festive seasons saw shopping centres and markets displaying goods unique to each community at the same time. People developed an appreciation for each other's culture which included traditional decorative items. 

“I have many Malay clients asking for pussy willows even before the arrival of the Chinese New Year,” he said.  

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