Feng shui is a way of looking at the spaces around us and how we interact with those spaces. Ideally, we want to be living in homes and spending time in places that support, uplift, and nourish us. In many ways, the goal of feng shui is to help us connect to the cycles of the natural world. The words “feng shui” actually translate to “wind” and “water”, two elements of nature that all living beings need to survive: hydration and air, or breath.
There are many different ways that we can work with feng shui principles in order to connect more deeply with nature in our homes. One simple way to do this is to bring in symbols of nature, like plants and flowers. There are a few flowers that are especially significant in China, where feng shui was developed, and one of these is the plum blossom.
Plum Blossom Symbolism and Meaning in Feng Shui
Plum blossoms are soft, delicate flowers that generally have five petals. During late winter in many parts of Asia, you can see clusters of these pink or white blossoms adorning the branches of plum trees. Plum blossom is considered a noble flower in Asian culture. It’s also one of the four auspicious flowers in Asian culture that relate to the four seasons. Plum blossom is the emblem of winter, while spring is associated with peony, summer with lotus, and autumn with chrysanthemum.
Plum blossom is one of the first fruit trees to bloom towards the end of winter in Asia, and it’s considered a flower that offers hope after enduring a long, cold season. The element connected to winter is water, and water element is related to darkness, silence, and cold. When we start to see plum blossoms, they give us a glimmer of hope, and they are a reminder of spring and new beginnings.
This symbolic and elegant flower is often offered at Buddhist temples, along with lotus, peony, and chrysanthemum. It’s also connected to longevity because the blooms last for a long time on the tree. Plum blossoms typically have five petals that can represent the five clans of China. In feng shui, five is also an auspicious number because it can represent the five elements. The five elements are fire, earth, metal, water, wood, and together, these elements represent the different types of energies that make up the world around us. The five elements system is a foundational wisdom that informs feng shui, and looking at how each element shows up in someone’s life and home can give us insight and help us create more balance.
Plum blossom is also often found as an offering and decoration around Lunar New Year to symbolize the welcoming of spring. There is also a sense of fruition and opportunity for new beginnings, since these flowers later become fruit.
In Asian flower arranging, you’ll often see plum blossoms included with other seasonal flowers in the winter. In the Asian system, we traditionally put materials together a little differently than in the West. While the elements of Western floral arrangements are generally chosen purely for aesthetic reasons, Asian flower arranging practices look to nature to inform the different pieces that we bring together. A flower arrangement in this system can be looked at as a mini universe and an observation of nature. It can also give us the ability to contemplate what teachings we can receive from nature. Often in these flower arrangements, we also have a representation of past, present, and future. You may have some buds that are just starting to open, some blooms that are opening, and some that are falling away.
The plum blossom also represents endurance, hope, and offers a teaching on impermanence. Fruit blossoms are even more impermanent than other flowers, so they can bring up a lot of tender emotions. Plum blossom is also a popular motif related to beauty and happiness.
How to Use Plum Blossom in Your Home
Fresh Plum Blossom Flower Arrangements
When plum blossoms are in season in late winter and early spring, you can bring flower arrangements that include plum blossoms into your home. We would encourage you to follow your intuition when deciding where to place this arrangement in your space. If you’re not sure where you’d like to put it, fresh flowers are always a great addition in an entryway or on a dining table.
Artwork With Plum Blossom Imagery
You can also bring plum blossom imagery into your home in the form of artwork. You may want to choose the room where you will place this artwork based on your intention. For example, plum blossom artwork in your meditation area can assist you in contemplating impermanence and beauty. If you’d like to welcome more hope and new beginnings, try placing this artwork in the entry of your home. You can also put plum blossom art in your bathroom—the water in this room will feed the wood element of the plum blossom, and support purity, a long life, and good health.
Plum Blossom for a Qi Boost
If someone needs a boost in qi (life force energy) or is feeling down, you may want to bring in plum blossom imagery. Plum blossom has that connection to hope and new beginnings after experiencing a long, dark winter, and its upright branches can help to create an uplifting mood.
Draw Plum Blossom
Another way to engage with the symbolism of plum blossom is to draw it. This allows you to really study and admire its beauty, and get to know this flower in a deeper way. If there are plum blossoms blooming near you, try going outside with a sketchbook and drawing what you see. If you’d like, you can even hang the finished piece in your home after you are done.