Just like you have Christmas trees for Christmas, we have the citrus lime trees. Eventhough the meaning may be different, both play an important role in our festive celebrations. We buy auspicious citrus lime trees to decorate our homes for good fortune and prosperity, also hoping that they will bring us lots of money luck. We usually buy them in pairs and place them near entrances for the multiplier effect. How nice if good luck and prosperity comes in multiple doses and superlative figures!
A few days ago, I visited Ah Chui Nursery to shop for citrus limes and other auspicious plants. Some readers have written to me asking about where to get the plants at reasonable prices, so I have provided the contact information and location map in My Garden Directory. You can click on the links provided to check them out. Please take note that this information is provided on a personal basis, i.e. honestly in my humble opinion, therefore you may not agree with me. I am not being paid anything for this.
Live tangerine trees can cost from RM 88, 198, 1688 up to RM 8,888 depending on the height of the tree, size and abundance of fruits.
These plants have been made to bloom perfectly and the fruits are neatly held in place by wires or strings. If we like, we can request them to add some red and gold ribbons and auspicious ornaments. Alternatively we can decorate it ourselves just like how you decorate the Christmas trees. Can you see those leaves jutting out on top? I think it is to symbolize 'growing and rising' prosperity.
Mandarin oranges are called 'kum' meaning gold (金) in Chinese. Citrus limes like calamondin, tangerines and kumquat are called 'kat' (吉) meaning 'auspicious'.
Tangerines (Citrus tangerina) and mandarin oranges (Citrus retuculata) look alike but with some differences.To find out the difference between tangerine and mandarin oranges, you can visit this link at eHow.
“Buying Citrus Lime Trees for Chinese New Year”, a copyrighted post, was written for My Nice Garden blog by Autumn Belle @ http://www.mynicegarden.com/ on January 17th, 2010.
|Dragon Lime = Blessings from Heavan|
This is a picture of a citrus lime tree decorated with auspicious red/gold ribbons.
|Kumquats - Golden Auspice|
The edible fruits are either oval or round and looks like miniature oranges. Cantonese people e.g. in Hong Kong and China preserved them in brine as a cure for sore throat.
|Calamansi (kat cai, limau kasturi, calamondin) = Four Seasons Lime for Everlasting Prosperity|
It is commonly called 'kat cai' (吉子) meaning small auspice but during Chinese New Year season, nurseries give them a special name called, 'Four Seasons Lime (四季吉).' Therefore, the 'small auspice' takes on a whole new meaning, and it becomes 'never-ending prosperity'!.
When buying the citrus lime plants choose those plants which have healthy green leaves and laden with lots of semi-ripe fruits. Since it is still 2.5 weeks to the new year, you can select one with green fruits just like the picture above. Do not buy those with fully riped fruits and almost barren of leaves as we do not want the fruits to drop off one by one even before the season is over, or worse still if the plant dies during the first 15 days of Chinese New Year. Usually the prices will depend on the quality, type and size of the tree. Some potted trees are more than 6 ft tall.
The picture above is a comparison between the Dragon Lime (left) and calamansi (right).
See the difference?
To experience Chinese New Year with me in Malaysia, you are welcome to visit my 'Virtual Open House' at My Nice Garden Facebook Page which is accessible from my sidebar where I shall be updating it regularly. Open House is a unique Malaysian tradition whereby during major festivals, we open our doors to welcome our friends, relatives and even strangers (friends of friends) to our homes to savour our homemade food and experience our culture and traditions. We do it for Christmas, Deepavali, Hari Raya and all major festivals, the host is usually the person who is celebrating the occasion.
My NST Article, Gold Nuggets in a Pot dated 8 Jan 2011 - click here.