February 1, 2022 marks the beginning of the Year of the Water Tiger. In the Chinese zodiac, the tiger is associated with fierceness, a competitive nature, and growth. The animals of the Chinese zodiac also represent different days of the month and different times of the day, and the tiger in particular represents 3am to 5am, the hours when farmers wake up.
The beginning of a new year, whether solar or lunar, also presents the idea of a new beginning: the chance to start over and the chance to change one’s luck for the better. People like to fill their spaces with charms in the hopes that these will attract luck to them, and this includes plants that people think of as “lucky.”
What makes a plant “lucky?” According to Agriculture magazine’s in-house plant expert, “Plants that are easy to grow, with broad, shiny leaves, tend to be tagged as lucky plants. Why broad leaves? Because the greater the surface area, the more vigorous it is in producing oxygen.”
This year’s lucky plant is the baby rubber plant (Peperomia obtusifolia).
It’s the lucky plant for 2022 for many reasons, the most important of which is that it’s easy to care for. It can generally be left alone, and is easily propagated through leaves and cuttings.
Another quality that associates the baby rubber tree with luck is, “it produces lots of branches. It signifies bounty or many members of the family who feel blessed,” our plant expert says, adding that “Its leaves are shiny and round, just like money.”
Its leaves come in both regular green and variegated (a combination of green and white) forms. “People would gravitate towards something that’s unusual, which is the variegated, which is nice to look at, nevertheless, they are the same plant,” our in-house expert says. “The only difference other than the color is the overall growth of the variegated one is more compact than the regular one.”
Aside from signifying money, the broad leaves of the baby rubber plant mean that it has a lot of surface area, which means that. “it’s very good at releasing oxygen and relieving the air of… carbon dioxide.”
In Feng Shui, where you place a plant can also determine how much luck it can bring. Each placement will largely depend on the Chinese zodiac sign of the head of the household, but a popular belief is that a plant should be placed just outside the main entrance. “It’s like welcoming the guest or the chi to get inside your house,” our plant expert says. “So the plant should be on the welcoming side, not at the back of the door. Why? Because you’re encouraging good luck or the chi to exit your house.”
People collect charms to enhance their luck, but one must always remember that the real “luck” comes from the opportunities one takes, and not from the amount of trinkets (or lucky plants) they have. That said, owning a lucky plant or two will definitely make a room feel brighter, and it may be this feeling that is making their owner feel luckier!
Photo courtesy of Agriculture magazine’s in-house plant expert