“Mum, isn’t this so cute?” I beam at my mother, thrusting a tiny cactus in a miniature pot directly across her line of vision. We’re at a nursery—the kind for leaves and blooms, rather than tiny tots.
She gives Cactus Jr a glance and quickly goes back to choosing a lucky bamboo: “Cute, but not good for the home.” And so, my latest green crush is dismissed with no grounds for an appeal.
My mother subscribes to the feng shui belief that certain plants are better for the home. Such as those with large, round leaves—said to attract positive energy. Not so good: sharply pointed leaves and thorns, which practitioners believe will create destructive “killing” energy.
Feeling listless these days? Going by feng shui rules, a dying and neglected plant could be the cause of “draining” energy. To prevent this, even the plants considered most auspicious must be kept healthy. Any dying portions (touch wood, pun intended) should be removed promptly.
Whether you’re a firm believer or holding firm to your love of pointy cacti and succulents, these eight “lucky” houseplants rank high in aesthetics and low in maintenance:
Also known as: Cotyledon undulata
This succulent is favoured for its distinct silver sheen—bringing jewellery to mind—and large, round leaves symbolising abundance. If you do take a liking to this beauty, the downside is that it’s rather rare and difficult to find locally.
Also known as: Spathiphyllum
Named for the colour of its flowers, the peace lily does have a soothing vibe to it. It’s also a bit of a puteri lilin: if the plant had a Tinder bio, it’d read as “likes low humidity and low light”. So, do place it somewhere with more shade and fewer windows. To help it thrive, water at least once a week to keep the soil moist but not wet.
Also known as: Crassula ovata
In ancient China, jade was considered so precious, it was reserved only for royalty. It’s therefore associated with wealth and prosperity. The leaves of this plant resemble jade stones, giving it a high ranking in any list of auspicious greens.
Thankfully, it’s also practical and forgiving on first-time plant parents. Put it under direct sunlight for at least four hours every morning, and water only once a week.
Chinese Money Plant
Also known as: Pilea peperomioides; UFO plant: missionary plant
A plant’s “luck factor” isn’t very subtle—you can often tell by its name. If not, remember the rule that round leaves are always good. These look like coins, which equal to abundance. Like many of us, the Chinese money plant prefers bright light but not direct sunlight, which could scorch its leaves (a timely sunscreen PSA for the benefit of human plant parents).
Also known as: Pachira aquatica
Money come, money grow. The money tree is great for bringing that tropical resort vibe into your home. Which, come to think of it, could make you more prosperous just by keeping you at home—saving the cash you’d otherwise spend on cafe-hopping and quick getaways.
The plant grows well indoors and doesn’t need much light. Its braided stems also symbolise interconnectedness and longevity. Good for your first home as newlyweds, or as a wedding gift!
Also known as: Epipremnum aureum; golden pothos
Prone to forgetting to water your plants? No problem. The hardy pothos will likely survive till you remember to give it a drink. Its soft, heart-shaped leaves won’t admonish you for the neglect—encouraging self-love and kindness instead.
Also known as: Philodendron hederaceum
Heartleaf philodendrons have thinner and smoother leaves than pothos. They also look more heart-like, which feng shui experts believe represent the fire element: adding vibrance and energy to even the coolest or dimmest part of your home.
It’s also very easy to care for: tolerating low-light conditions and needing a drink of water only when 50 percent of the soil is completely dry.
Also known as: Dracaena sanderiana
Fast-growing bamboo suggests upward mobility, while also imbuing the home with peaceful and wise energy. It’s another good houseplant for first-time plant parents, thriving even with minimal care.
Just be sure to give your lucky bamboo moderate or indirect sunlight, and keep its soil slightly damp. Its beverage of choice is distilled or filtered water, as it’s sensitive to chlorine.
Which lucky plants are you getting for your home or home-office desk?
|SHARE THE STORY|