Comic: Welcome Lunar New Year with these 9 plants

An illustration of pink and red flowers, a citrus fruit and a round-leaf plant
What are your favorite plants for the Lunar New Year?
(Vivian Lam / For The Times)

Lunar New Year is one of the most important holidays in many countries that historically used lunisolar calendars. Chinese culture celebrates Spring Festival, to mark the beginning of spring and gather with family. Many Spring Festival traditions, including plants and flowers, welcome health, wealth and other good wishes for the new year. If you celebrate Lunar New Year, what are some plants and flowers in your home?

illustration of an orchid with the words "success," "wealth," "noble character"
(Vivian Lam / For The Times)

蘭花 Orchid

Orchids are associated with nobility and pure character, and are especially popular and expensive during the Spring Festival. Orchids are a respectful gift for relatives and friends, in particular the purple or yellow varieties, because these colors represent success and good fortune.


illustration of curved stalks of Bamboo with the words "2 for romance," 3 for happiness"
(Vivian Lam / For The Times)

竹 Bamboo

Bamboo brings good fortune to the inhabitants of its room, specifically luck in romance when there are two stalks of bamboo, or happiness and career growth with three stalks of bamboo.

Illustration of plum blossom with the words "perseverance, courage"
(Vivian Lam / Los Angeles Times)

梅花 Plum blossom

Plum blossoms are associated with perseverance and courage because they bloom in the cold between winter and spring. It is a sweet gift for a reliable friend, or anyone who needs a little boost of courage.

Illustration of a stalk of red Gladiolus flowers with the words "upward mobility, personal growth"
(Vivian Lam / For The Times)


剑兰 Gladiolus / Sword Lily

The unique appearance of sword lilies isassociated with the phrase 步步高陞, “rise with every step.” A bouquet of red sword lilies reaching for the sky is ideal for people interested in self-improvement and upward mobility.

Illustration of pink Peach blossom with the words "growth in love and business"
(Vivian Lam / For The Times)

桃花 Peach blossom

Peach is a homonym for “diagram” in Cantonese, so peach blossoms are a metaphor for seeing the big picture and growth in romantic love and wealth. These flowers are a match for small business owners and single people on dating apps.

Illustration of Daffodils with the words "good fortune for the new year"
(Vivian Lam / For The Times)

水仙花 Narcissus / Daffodil

Daffodils are one of the most auspicious flowers, because they bloom in the first month of the lunar year. Daffodils welcome good fortune for the new year, and are known for their sweet fragrant.


Illustration of a pink Tree Peony flower with the words "nobility prosperity"
(Vivian Lam / For The Times)

牡丹 Peony

Peonies are famous for their beauty and fragrance, and are associated with great prosperity and nobility. A former national flower in the history of China, peonies are perfect for those who aspire to be influential in society.

Illustration of Pilea peperomioides plant with the words "friendship," "(not traditional)"
(Vivian Lam / For The Times)

鏡面草 Pilea peperomioides

This is not a traditional Spring Festival plant, but its English nicknames — “Chinese money plant,” “lucky thaler” and “friendship plant” — have the same spirit as the holiday and make it a great Lunar New Year gift for friends.

Illustration of fruits with the words "pineapple, kumquat, pomelo," "family unity, fortune, gold"
(Vivian Lam / For The Times)



Pomelos symbolize family unity and brings good tidings to the household. Kumquats are a homonym for “gold luck” in Cantonese. Oranges are like sunshine, and represent joy and abundance. Pineapple in Hokkien sounds like “fortune arrives.”

Vivian Lam is an illustrator living in Los Angeles. Follow @latimesplants on Instagram.