The lucky bamboo is a type of flowering plant that is found primarily in Central regions of Africa. The lucky bamboo has become an incredibly popular indoor plant and is usually found in houses throughout different regions of India.
The plant is commonly imported from different parts of Taiwan and China. The lucky bamboo is a perennial herb that is able to reach a height of around 100 cm. The plant also has twisted leaves that are usually grey-green in color.
They have a length of around 23 cm. It has a fleshy stem, which is what separates it from the bamboo. Proper care for the lucky bamboo is very important, but you should know that it’s quite tenacious and resilient.
It is not easy to destroy the lucky bamboo by any means. This is a popular houseplant that can easily exist in a confined space and can reach up to nine inches in length.
While the lucky bamboo is one of the most popular houseplants (you really don’t have to look hard to find a lucky bamboo these days), you should know that it requires proper care.
The lucky bamboo can be seen in desks, in business environments, and in houses all over. It is also an integral part of feng shui because many people believe that these plants bring fortune and good luck if the plant is given as a gift.
China and Taiwan usually have a monopoly of sorts on the export of lucky bamboo. Many professional breeders produce varieties that are able to twist, braid, and curl the stalks to create different kinds of shapes.
The slightly more intricate lucky bamboos can cost a hefty amount, with prices going well into hundreds of dollars. These ones are obviously expensive because they can feature almost 20 individual stalks or more.
On average, a lucky bamboo can cost around $10 for a bundle that contains three stalks. Hailing from Southeast Asia, the lucky bamboo is relatively easy to care for.
Essentially, there are two different ways to care for the lucky bamboo; you can either place it in a pot with soil, or you can grow the lucky bamboo in the water. It is important that you learn a thing or two about how to care for the plant before you bring it home.
Here is a brief guide that will help you properly care for your lucky bamboo in the best of ways.
Find a Good-Looking Plant
If you are going out to buy the lucky bamboo, don’t just pick the first one that you come across. Instead, look for one that is healthy and is vibrant in the soil.
Lucky bamboo plants are readily sold at local garden centers or nurseries. Many grocery stores have now begun stocking the lucky bamboo as well, which is another cause for the excessive popularity enjoyed by the plant.
It’s not just called the lucky bamboo, either. Some might refer to it as the ribbon plant, or others may use the plant’s actual name, Dracaena sanderiana.
Always look for one that has a vibrant green color because caring for the lucky bamboo isn’t going to be a problem. But, if you are going to buy a plant that is weak and already suffering, it might be difficult to care for.
You will have to spend more time caring for the plant, and there is a risk that the plant might succumb to an early death. Remember, when buying the lucky bamboo, the size of the plant should not be your primary concern.
Most of the lucky bamboos that you find in the market are usually small, so size isn’t a major problem. The plant should be an evergreen color, and you should look for blemishes or bruises.
There should not be any yellowing either. The stalks should also be a consistent color from the base all the way to the top. You have to observe the plant very carefully before you decide to make a purchase.
On top of that, there shouldn’t be any kind of browning on the tips either. This further indicates an underlying problem with the plant.
Planting the Lucky Bamboo
In this guide, we will primarily focus on planting the lucky bamboo in water, though you can also grow the plant in soil. Obviously, there are a few underlying benefits to growing the plant in water.
For starters, excessive soil or fertilization could cause serious damage to your plant. However, when it comes to using water, you need to make sure that you use clean water.
More importantly, making sure that the plant remains upright in standing water is going to be an uphill struggle as well, so you have to make arrangements for that.
If you are going to plant the lucky bamboo in water, the first thing you need to do is get clean water. If you are using tap water that contains an excessive amount of fluoride or other harmful substances, the plant could suffer.
Instead, you have to make sure that you use mineral water. This is ideally the best choice, or you could go for distilled water. Both of these are going to ensure that the health of the plant does not suffer.
Another problem that you are going to face with the lucky bamboo is keeping the plant upright. Obviously, this is much easier said than done.
The best thing that you can do is to keep some pebbles in the water-filled container. The bamboo stem can be placed between the pebbles and they will keep the plant properly upright.
Also when adding the water, you have to make sure that there is at least enough water in the pot to cover the base of the roots, which need to be completely submerged in the water.
More importantly, you also have to change the water at least once a week to ensure that the plant does not begin to rot. It is always a good idea to rinse the pot as carefully as possible before you change the water.
This is perhaps a good practice that is going to ensure that your plant remains happy and healthy.
Selecting the Right Container
By now, you already know that proper care for the lucky bamboo starts by making sure that the water in the container is sufficient enough to cover the base of the roots.
However, what about the container? The pot needs to be ideally two inches greater than the diameter of the plant itself. Most of the lucky bamboo plants are already sold in pots.
But, if you want an artistic touch, you can always make your own pots and plant your own lucky bamboo. Clear containers are a wise choice and will help you show off the pebbles and the plant itself.
They also add a color contrast to the whole setup. However, one thing that you need to know about placing the lucky bamboo is to make sure that it is not kept in direct sunlight.
Ceramic pots are also a popular choice and will considerably improve the aesthetic appeal of the whole place. If you are going to use soil for the planting, make sure to check for a drain hole underneath the plant.
If you want to improve the rate of growth of the plant itself, adding a light fertilizer is a wise idea. Excessive use of fertilizer is a serious problem and the plant could die.
Instead, you need to make sure that you add very small amounts of fertilizer to the plant. Remember, too much fertilizer is always worse than using none at all.
This turns into a much bigger problem for potted plants, as the fertilizer isn’t going to get diluted by the rain.
Watering the Plant
One thing that most people already know about the lucky bamboo is just how hardy and resilient the plant really is. The lucky bamboo does not require a lot of water. In fact, excessive watering is almost always bad for the plant.
Since the plant is already kept in water, the most you need to do is mist the top part of the plant once a week. You also have to make sure that the roots of the plant remain covered by the water at all times.
Your lucky bamboo is going to survive really well in the water. There is no reason for you to add fertilizer or soil to it because this will only cause more harm to it.
The lucky bamboo is quite resilient, so it knows how to care for itself. Obsessing over it will only make things worse.
One of the most important things that you should know about lucky bamboo care is that the plant needs to be kept out of direct sunlight.
When the plant grows in the wild, it usually remains shaded from the direct sunlight by the other, taller plants around it. The plant is native to Southeast Asia, so it is often found around bigger plants.
But, you need to understand that the plant needs protection from direct sunlight. Keeping it out in the open, or near the window, is a terrible idea, and it will have a negative effect on the taller plants.
You have to make sure that the plant remains in a bright and spacious area, but it should not get exposed to direct sunlight throughout the day.
The best way to care for your lucky bamboo is to make sure that you keep it away from the windows, especially those that receive a great deal of sunlight.
Instead, you should place it in a particular section of the room where it will remain bright but won’t get heavily exposed. Furthermore, your lucky bamboo also needs a suitable temperature to grow.
The best temperature for the lucky bamboo is between 65 and 90 degrees F.
Arranging the Stalks
One of the best things about the lucky bamboo plant is that you can easily arrange the stalks in a variety of different ways. It all depends on your creativity and the amount of time that you are willing to put in.
Once you are done with the arrangement, you can always put the plant on display so that it will attract more attention throughout the room. The stalks of the lucky bamboo can also be manipulated so that they will grow around each other.
With a bit of effort and care, you can also get these plants to curl around each other. This is only possible with the younger stalks because they don’t grow quickly and might not have hardened in the beginning.
If you want a series of straight stalks, you can just plant them in a line or in rows. Furthermore, if you want to curl the lucky bamboo, the steps are actually quite simple.
First of all, you need to get a cardboard box and then cut the bottom off. Then, keep it to one side. The box needs to be kept on top of the plant, and the open end must face the light source.
With the passage of time, you will notice that the stalks will start to curl toward the light source. As soon as you see a bend, you just have to rotate the plant right away to promote further growth.
You can also wrap a bit of wire around the younger stalks to create a criss-cross pattern. As the plant will grow, you will have to continue adding more and more wiring to make sure that it intertwines properly.
From time to time, you will also have to remove the dead or the yellowing leaves from the plant. Over the passage of time, you will notice that the ends of some of the leaves will begin to turn yellow.
There are several factors that could cause this problem. Your plant might not be receiving an appropriate amount of water, or the amount of fertilizer or soil could be considerably low. On the other hand, excessive exposure to direct sunlight could also be a problem.
The best thing to do is trim off the yellowing parts of the leaves, or you can simply remove the entire leaf. To remove the yellowed tips of the leaves, the first thing you need to do is sterilize your pruning shears.
Remember, plants can get infected if you do not sterilize the pruning shears scissors. A bit of vinegar or rubbing alcohol can be used to properly clean them up.
Then, just cut the yellowing part of the leaves, or you can get rid of the leaf itself. Ideally, when cutting the yellowing parts of the leaf, the best thing to do is follow the outline of the natural shape of the leaf.
When cutting the entire leaf, it’s best to cut right from the base, where the leaf protrudes from the stalk.
When the stalks of your plant start to grow quite tall, you have to make sure that you cut them off and replant them. This is going to make it easy for you to care for the lucky bamboo plant and prevent it from getting too tall.
Regular propagation will ensure that the plant doesn’t get heavily crowded, and you will also get a bunch of other plants. To propagate your lucky bamboo, you first have to take the longest stalk and then remove the smaller leaves that are usually found at the top of the shoot.
Once you do that, take a sterile pair of scissors or a knife and cut the shoot at the top two nodes, which are usually the raised part found on the stalk.
Then, you just need to place the newly cut shoot in a bowl of distilled water. Make sure that the water you use is clean. For the first couple of months, you have to make sure that the plant remains in a shaded area.
With the passage of time, you will begin to notice new growth, as the plant will sprout roots. Once you see the roots on the plant, you can just replant it in the same pot as the one in which your main lucky bamboo is placed.
Regular propagation of your lucky bamboo is going to make it easy for you to create multiple variants of the same plant, allowing you to give it to your friends or just decorate your house with it.
Furthermore, if you have many stalks in the same pot for proper growth, it might be a wise idea to tie them up with ribbon wire. This is a suitable choice as it further improves the aesthetic appeal of the plant.
A gold or a red ribbon will contrast very well with the plant, and make it look all the more beautiful. These are just a few things that you should know about caring for the lucky bamboo in water.
Growing up with a mom who filled her home (inside and out) with all sorts of plants, Lisa got her start in gardening at a young age. Living now on her own with a home and yard full of plants (including an indoor greenhouse), she shares all the gardening tips she’s gained over the years.