You may already know that plants help you have cleaner air in your home: they absorb carbon dioxide and generate oxygen through photosynthesis. You probably already use them to decorate your home, as they can add greenery and color. But what you may not know is that plants can even bring you good luck, as some myths and legends claim.
Many people choose plants to decorate their homes purely for aesthetic reasons. Perhaps they like the color red better or don’t have enough space for a large pot. However, many legends claim that some plants can attract good luck, wealth, health, and love. Below we present these plants, the tales behind them, and care tips.
Basil (Ocimum basilicum)
In India, basil is considered a sacred plant, the incarnation of the wife of the god Vishnu, Lakshmi. In Mexico, people carry basil in their pockets because they believe it will bring them more money and make their loved ones faithful.
Folk tales say that basil protects you from bad luck and trouble. So, if you have basil plants placed near the entrance of your house and by the windows, evil forces will not enter your home. In some parts of Europe, basil is offered as a token of love. Still, the original story isn’t exactly romantic: basil is said to wilt in the presence of someone who was no longer a virgin, so it was used to test potential romantic partners.
Basil Care Tips
- Basil is a cold-sensitive plant, so it’s ideal to be grown indoors in pots;
- The plant grows quickly when it enjoys plenty of sun and well-drained soil without significant accumulations of water;
- If the plant is flowering, cut back each stem to the second set of leaves so that it does not grow flowers; this will keep the basil leafy all summer.
The Aztecs of central Mexico considered the flowering cactus an auspicious plant. So, to them, a flowering cactus symbolized good luck, and the owner could immediately expect good news.
Legend has it that the god of the sun and war promised Aztec priests that at some point, someone would see an eagle standing on a cactus while holding a snake. That would mean they had found their new place to live.
When they finally saw the eagle, the Aztecs ran to the edge of a lake and watched as the cactus grew into an island, which they moved to.
Cactus Care Tips
- Water the cactus at least once a week; don’t use sink water, as it can have high concentrations of dissolved minerals that will build up in the soil and affect the plant’s growth;
- Place the cactus near a window where it will get enough light to grow;
- Pots should be in a well-ventilated area but not exposed to strong winds.
The ancient Greeks considered the orchid a symbol of virility. They were convinced that there was a link between orchids and fertility: if the orchid had large roots, a boy would be born, and if the roots were small, the child would be a girl.
The Aztecs mixed orchids with chocolate to create an elixir they believed would make them stronger. Although Victorians didn’t use magic elixirs, they did collect orchids as a sign of wealth.
In Feng Shui, orchids bring good luck in love, help you have a better relationship with your partner, but can also help attract new romantic relationships. Compared to most plants that absorb carbon dioxide and remove oxygen during the day, orchids can also remove oxygen during the night.
Orchids Care Tips
- When growing, orchids tolerate any temperature, but when blooming, they need a 15 degree Celsius difference between day and night;
- They need plenty of water to grow; you can tell when they need watering like this: if you stick your finger about 2 inches into their soil and it’s dry, it’s time to water them;
- Orchids grown indoors need air humidity of 50-70%. Use a humidifier or sprinkle the plant often with water to increase the humidity.
Jade Tree (Crassula ovata)
People in ancient China associated the jade tree with the richness of emeralds. They believed that having a jade tree in the southeast corner of the home would make the owner richer with each leaf grown. The plant’s round leaves resemble coins, so many people call it the money plant.
The tree is decorated with envelopes containing money, coins, and red ribbons during the Chinese New Year for good luck and prosperity. In general, the jade tree is green, the color of growth, rebirth, and spring. Legends say that the plant brings good luck with money.
Jade Tree Care Tips
- Don’t water the plant unless the soil is dry; the roots can rot if too much water collects inside the pot;
- For successful photosynthesis, the jade tree needs darkness at night; if the tree is indoors, make sure it is not near a light source;
- The tree does not require as much attention like other plants and can last for 40-50 years.
Lucky bamboo ( Dracaena sanderiana)
In Feng Shui and Chinese culture, receiving a lucky bamboo as a gift means good luck, prosperity, wealth, and happiness. Chinese traditions claim that the meaning of the lucky bamboo is closely related to the number of stalks, thus:
- 2 stalks represent love;
- 3 stalks represent happiness, wealth, and long life;
- 5 stalks represent areas in life that affect wealth;
- 6 stems represent luck and wealth;
- 7 stems represent health;
- 8 stems represent growth;
- 9 stems represent good luck;
- 10 stems represent perfection;
- 21 stems represent a strong blessing.
There is no meaning for 4 stems because the word 4 sounds quite similar to death in Chinese culture. Thus, it would be inappropriate to give someone 4 stems as a gift; you would basically wish them death.
Lucky Bamboo Care Tips
- Water the plant only with distilled or bottled water; the fluoride that can be found in sink water can contribute to browning of the leaf tips;
- Don’t position the plant directly next to a window where it will get direct light, as it will dry out; it’s better to let it sit in indirect light;
- Use only special fertilizers for the lucky bamboo plant – they can be found at any plant – the wrong type of fertilizer can damage the plant.
If you want to attract good luck or just decorate your home with greenery, you can choose one or more of the above plants. Even if you don’t believe in superstitions, you’re sure to appreciate a plant that has a story behind it.
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