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Gardener's Notebook: All about Chinese New Year's

Wishing you health and prosperity this Chinese New year.
Estevan Orchid 2
The superstar among Chinese New Year’s flowers is the elegant orchid. (File Photo)

YORKTON - Happy New Year! Chinese New Year is just a few days away, beginning Saturday, Feb 10. It lasts about two weeks and is also sometimes called the Spring Festival. Don’t we gardeners like to hear the word ‘spring’ at this time of year!

For those who celebrate Chinese New year ( about 1.5 billion people!), this is the year of the Wood Dragon, and from what I have read, this sign is not considered lucky like the rooster, monkey or pig. We picture a dragon as strong and powerful, and it is said that people born in Dragon years have courage, confidence, and intelligence. But in 2024, it is said that the dragon will bring change and challenge, as well as opportunity.

Maybe that will apply to our gardening as well! In your gardening imagination, what has been your gardening challenge? Maybe this is the year to start raised bed gardening…or add that water feature…or try a very exotic new plant!

In many cultures, plant play a significant part of celebrating or commemorating certain occasions. Let’s take a look at plants that are connected to Chinese New Year! Plants are often given as gifts to send positive messages to special people, and various plants carry various messages. Here are some favourites.

Luscious and fragrant peonies are called “the flower of riches and honour”. By sending these beauties to someone, we extend the wish of peace and prosperity. They also represent feminine beauty and charm, making them a pretty choice for someone precious on Valentine’s Day!

I read that the superstar among Chinese New Year’s flowers is the elegant orchid. Orchids are quite easy to grow and can last for years and keep giving us those beautiful blooms. The phalaenopsis is one of the top favourites, and it gives the message of abundance, luxury and good fortune.

If we have someone of mature years on our gift-giving list, yellow or purple mums are a respectful choice that gives the message of long years, luck and wealth. Not only that, but these plants, whether as cut flower or potted, will last a long time and give much enjoyment.

Looking for a plant that gives the gift of positive energy? Who can’t use more of that! Look to the anthurium, which is also sometimes called the flamingo flower. The waxy red blooms bring prosperity. This plant is also one that belongs to the collection of wonderful plants that help cleanse the air, like the peace lily. They like a location with bright but indirect light.

How can we talk about lucky plants without mentioning the bamboo? Guess what I read: that the lucky bamboo is actually a member of the dracaena family! What’s ‘lucky’ for us is how easy it is to grow, and it does well in areas with moderate sunlight. Though it can grow in water, if planted in soil it does not need a lot of water. Very accommodating!

And if someone is looking for love to ‘blossom’, the flower of choice would be the peach blossom which is held in very high esteem in China and is believed to be the flower of romance. Probably not so easy to find here, but there might be some suitable “look-alikes” to still express such a heartfelt message.

Wishing you health and prosperity this Chinese New year: gong Hei fat choy! Gardeners, visit the hort society at and see what’s new! Thank you to our friends at YTW for all their work! Have a great week!