Various plants and flowers have very deep meanings in Chinese culture.
While some basically steal most of the limelight due to their natural beauty and cultural significance, some don’t get as much attention but have profound meaning nevertheless.
One such plant is the magnolia flower (木蘭 or 玉蘭).
Yet at the same time, they are revered by anyone who knows their stuff by a mere mention of them.
Legend of magnolias
During ancient times, only member of the Imperial family were allowed to grow and cultivate magnolias. Even so, the emperor would be the only person entitled to own them.
When he intends to show appreciation to people who have served him well, he could choose to bestow a magnolia root to signify his gracious appreciation.
That is saying a lot about royalty in practice.
In traditional Chinese medicine, various parts of the magnolia plant is often harvested as medicine. These include the buds, bark and fruits, etc.
And in the Sichuan province, a particular variety of magnolia called Hou Po (厚朴) continues to be in high demand all over the world for it’s healing and restorative abilities today.
The renown pictures and paintings of magnolia blossoms is a symbol of beautiful women.
It’s Mandarin name Mu Lan (木蘭) was made famous by the animated movie of the same name backed by Walt Disney Pictures.
A more familiar pet name of magnolias is Ye He Hua (夜合花) which means “the flower of nocturnal togetherness”.
Another popular name is Huan Chun Hua (欢春花) which translates to “the flower welcoming spring” refers to a particular genre that blooms and flowers in early spring.
The magnolia plant is also associated with the fifth month of the lunar year. Note that this is not the typical Gregorian calendar we are used to today.
Plants often serve as a representation of seasons.
Spring is often represented by either the orchid or magnolia, summer by the lotus or peony, autumn by chrysanthemum, and winter by bamboo or plum.
This associated grouping is known as the four virtuous flowers (四君子).
Magnolia flower in feng shui
Together with the peony and crab apple, it is often offered as a gift wishing for honor and wealth.
When depicted with bees in paintings, it represents personal growth in the aspect of self-esteem.
The magnolia by itself is a powerful representation of femininity and sweet beauty.
On this respect, it is only second to the peony.
But while the peony can often be associated with too much romance luck which leads to undesirable situations, the magnolia does not go to that extreme.
For this reason, they are commonly used as decorative symbols during weddings. And often also have a place among the diverse variety of flowers in the wedding bouquet.
They make great aesthetic additions to a feng shui garden.
If you are going to hang paintings of them in the living room, why not consider having them together with the 3 other virtuous plants as mentioned earlier.
This way, you get best of all of them instead of just the symbolism of happiness in love which the magnolia is known for.
In bedrooms, they can help to keep the romance between couples alive without the negatives which peonies might bring.
If you want your daughters to get hitched soon, magnolias are worthy feng shui alternatives to peonies and rose quartz.
Just don’t have them in the washrooms.
This can sometimes happen when people buy over a house with existing tiles in the bathroom that are printed with magnolias. In an effort to save on remodeling costs, they choose not to renovate the toilet at all.
Magnolias in washrooms can cause undesirable suitors to appear in life. And can even lead to emotionally draining relationships.
So be wary of that.
When unsure, it is best to keep magnolias in the common living room area.