Zen plants: Houseplants of the Month for May

Serene, mystical and fascinating: Bonsai, Ficus Ginseng and Dracaena lucky bamboo are the houseplants for a mindful May.

Everything in harmony
Thousands of years of Zen tradition can be summarised as the combination of balance, simplicity and natural beauty. With plants like Bonsai, Ficus Ginseng and Dracaena lucky bamboo you create an atmosphere of peace and calm in your home, particularly if you keep the interior somewhat minimalist. Zen plants are the houseplants for May, because the ‘breath of the Earth’ brings everything that grows and blooms to maturity during this month. That positive chi (energy) will keep you going for the rest of the year!


In Japanese ‘bonsai’ literally means ‘tree in pot’. Woody plants are transformed into miniature trees by pruning and cutting, whereby the appearance is determined by the plant’s essence. Think of it as the art of omission. The modern bonsai style arose in the 18th century, when bonsai masters decided that the spirit of the plant species concerned should shape the entire composition.


Ficus ginseng
Ficus ginseng’s whimsical shapes look different every time, whatever angle you look from. The attractive roots are cultivated in China (the plant is native to the Far East) before being pruned into bonsai in the greenhouse. That requires a master’s skill, and that’s what this robust green haiku looks like: as if you were bringing the wisdom of years into your home.


Dracaena lucky bamboo
This eye-catching feature is ideal as a focus for meditations (you can gaze at it for hours!) and is available with straight and spiral branches. You wouldn’t guess it by its appearance, but it’s a distant relative of the asparagus and native to Cameroon. Dracaena lucky bamboo is incredibly popular in China, where it’s given to bring luck at New Year, when starting a new business or moving into a new home.


Greenery so Zen that it

Silently reaches to the heavens 

Time is endless


Deceptive simplicity
Zen plants originate from the end of the 14th century, when Zen Buddhists created simple gardens of exceptional beauty in which to meditate. Respect for nature was crucial. The simplicity is deceptive: anyone who gets involved with Zen plants quickly realises that they bring depth and become ever more interesting the longer you look at them.



  • All Zen plants like a light spot without full sun.
  • Bonsai and Ficus Ginseng prefer slightly damp soil without wet feet. Dracaena lucky bamboo should always stand in a layer of water.
  • Some plant food once every 3 to 4 weeks is sufficient.
  • If the temperature will not drop below 15°C you can also place these plants on your patio.


Zen styling
Keep it calm: neutral colours, natural materials as the base, with a couple of attractive stones for example. And give Zen plants some space: they’re not foliage for creating a backdrop, but intriguing soloists that look best on their own. Water is an important element in this style. Dracaena lucky bamboo looks very beautiful in a transparent bowl as a water pool, #fengshui.

For more information see: www.thejoyofplants.co.uk

Published on: 26 dubna 2018