Bad Luck Plants According to Feng Shui and Other Beliefs

  • Author: Constance Harrington
  • Published: July 10, 2020
  • Last Updated: August 29, 2022

There are a few reasons why you could consider a plant to be unlucky. Some plants are particularly susceptible to diseases, for example, or attract lots of harmful pests. There are also plants that frequently fail to grow as expected.

This kind of “bad luck” for plants can be somewhat mitigated if you provide the proper care and attention. It probably makes sense to avoid growing such plants at home, though, especially if you’re a beginner or don’t have much time to tend to your plants.

Some people view plants as unlucky for religious reasons, superstitions and folklore, or principles such as feng shui and Vastu Shastra. Does it make sense to avoid growing these plants, too?

Below is a list of a few such plants, followed by my thoughts on whether you need to avoid growing them. If you’re unfamiliar with feng shui or Vastu Shastra in gardening, you might want to check out these definitions first.

  • Brief Definition of Feng Shui for Gardeners ( Shorts)
  • Brief Definition of Vastu Shastra for Gardeners ( Shorts)

Cacti (and Other Spiky Plants)

Many followers of both Vastu and feng shui believe that cactus plants give bad energy because of their prickly and sharp thorns. Some also think they’re symbolic of living in hardship due to the challenging conditions they naturally grow in.

According to these beliefs, growing cacti and other spiky plants in the home will bring financial difficulty, anxiety issues, and mental stress. As such, you should probably avoid these plants if you follow feng shui or Vastu principles in your home and garden.

I should point out, however, that some cacti and spiky plants are great for growing indoors and outdoors.


Lilac flowers (Syringa vulgaris) are associated with several legends and traditions. Most notable is the old custom of placing lilacs in the caskets of the deceased. The strong-smelling lilacs would help mask the scent of death. Lilacs were also traditionally sent to someone to break off an engagement.

The lilac’s associations with death and broken engagements are likely the main reason many people view it as a bad luck plant that you should never bring indoors.

Cotton Plants

Cotton plants (Gossypium) are bad luck according to both feng shui and Vastu. The reasons are not clear, although it could be because cotton bolls on the plants are very sharp and can easily cut you. It may also be because of cotton’s connection to the slave trade.

The views on cotton do vary, however. Some cultures consider it symbolic of purity, wealth, and even immortality. Cotton plants are also popular gifts in certain parts of the world.

Important Note: It is illegal to grow cotton in some American states because of the need to control the threat of boll weevils.


The hydrangea is another plant where the symbolism varies between cultures. In Japan, for example, hydrangea flowers are associated with understanding and gratitude. In parts of Europe, hydrangeas represent arrogance and boastfulness.

Hydrangeas are bad luck according to feng shui, as they are said to represent loneliness. An old English legend states that growing hydrangeas indoors means your daughters will never marry.

Lawsonia Inermis

Lawsonia inermis has several common names, including henna tree, Mehendi plant, Egyptian privet, and mignonette tree. It’s the source of a natural dye that has been used for thousands of years and has medicinal benefits.

Despite the practical uses of Lawsonia inermis, Vastu followers claim that the plant attracts evil spirits into the home and causes disruption.

Snake Plants

The snake plant (Dracaena trifasciata) splits opinion in feng shui. Some experts believe that the plant brings good luck and positive energy while others think it’s unlucky. Those that believe it is an unlucky plant claim that the leaves represent poisoned arrows and create negative energy.

Vastu followers consider snake plants good luck, but only if placed in the correct locations.

Bonsai Trees

Bonsai trees also divide opinion among feng shui experts. Some compare them to cactus plants and claim they attract negative energy and bad luck. Another common claim is that their stunted growth symbolizes a lack of development.

Other feng shui followers believe bonsai trees are lucky for the home, have positive symbolism, and can create harmony. Some also say that bonsai trees given as gifts bring good fortune.


There are no conflicts about tamarind in either feng shui or Vastu. Followers of both believe that tamarind can attract evil spirits and negative vibes. Some even go so far as to say that having tamarind plants in sight of your house will bring bad luck.

Despite these negative opinions of tamarind, the plant does offer many proven health benefits.

Dead or Dried Plants

Dead and dried plants in the home bring bad luck according to both feng shui and Vastu. Followers also claim they can cause stress and anxiety.

I can’t think of any good reason you’d want to keep dead plants in your house, so it’s entirely logical to get rid of them if they’re beyond saving. It’s worth noting, however, that you can sometimes revive plants that appear to be dead.

  • How to Revive Dying Plants ( Blog)

I’d personally be a bit more reluctant to avoid all dried plants, as they can serve a purpose. Dried flowers make fabulous decorations, for example, and drying herbs is a practical way to make them last longer.

Fake Plants

Fake plants are generally bad for feng shui and Vastu. Not all followers share the same view, though. Some believe that artificial plants are effectively neutral and have no impact at all. Others believe that they are unlucky and bring bad vibes.

As a passionate gardener, I’m not too fond of artificial plants. They have their uses, though, especially for those who don’t have time to look after houseplants or a garden properly. Is it worth the risk of the bad luck they bring, though?

Should You Avoid Growing Unlucky Plants?

I don’t consider feng shui or Vastu at all in my gardening. Nor do I have any superstitions or strong beliefs that affect what plants I grow and where. I typically make such decisions based on aesthetics and practical reasons, such as what will grow best in a specific location.

With that said, I’m not dismissive of those who practice feng shui or Vastu. Nor do I dismiss people’s religious beliefs or superstitions. I fully understand that these things will come into play for many people when choosing which plants to grow.

The bottom line for me is that growing plants is supposed to be a positive experience. Having beautiful plants in my home and garden brings me a great deal of joy. If I were worried that any of those plants would cause me lousy luck or bring other negativity into my life, that would affect my enjoyment of them for sure.

My advice is therefore to do whatever feels right for you. If you follow feng shui or Vastu, you should stick to the appropriate “rules” about the best plants to grow. You should also avoid any plants that are bad luck according to any other beliefs or superstitions you have.

Having read about which bad luck plants you might want to avoid, you may now be interested in the plants that people believe to bring good luck.