If you’re looking for something to add good luck to your home or give as a gift, then the lucky bamboo plant is something worth considering.
In Chinese culture, this lovely green plant symbolizes good fortune. In fact, its stalks, which are often shaped in various directions holds different meanings.
For example, two stalks mean love or double the luck. Meanwhile, three stalks bring wealth, longevity, and happiness.
However, you’ll want to skip those with four stalks since it symbolizes dead and bad luck.
About the Lucky Bamboo
Lucky bamboo plants are not actually bamboo. Instead, they’re a kind of dracaena. This means that you’re better off caring for them like you would a dracaena plant than a bamboo.
With that out of the way, this is a very popular house and office plant because it’s quite easy to grow indoors.
In addition to being somewhat indestructible, it’s also known for bringing good luck. As a result, many businesses and homes like keeping this plant around.
Just by looking at it, you can quickly see how unique it is. And, in all likelihood, you’ll never see two identical plants. That’s because their shape will differ from one another.
This brings us to the downside. As lovely as their intricate designs look, lucky bamboos aren’t easy to shape. As such, they’re mostly shipped in from China and Taiwan where experts painstakingly twist them into their beautiful forms.
This is why the intricate ones can cost upwards of a few hundred dollars.
Fortunately, simpler designs with three vertical standing stalks are very affordable.
Lucky Bamboo Plant Care
Lucky bamboo plants enjoy bright, indirect, or filtered light. That’s because, in the rainforests where it’s native to, it is covered by tall trees whose branches and leaves block most or part of the sun.
As such, it has adapted to that way of life. So, keeping it under direct sunlight for hours each day can scorch its leaves.
In fact, they’re better off with less light than too much light.
This is why you’ll see them thrive in low light environments like offices and homes.
However, if you notice them starting to become leggy or stretch towards the light, it’s a sign that they aren’t getting enough exposure. Thus, it’s time to move them somewhere they receive more sunlight.
Similarly, they need light to maintain their vibrant green color. So, when its hue starts fading, you need to relocate them.
Needless to say, you shouldn’t leave them in dark places.
Temperature & Humidity
Lucky bamboos like warm, humid areas. They thrive when the temperature stays between 65 and 90 degrees Fahrenheit.
As such, they’re happy with most indoor conditions including those in your home and office.
However, do keep them away from areas where they can experience drafts, be it from heaters, air conditioning, or windows.
The one challenge of keeping them indoors is providing them with the humidity they need. Dry air can cause their leaves to turn brown. As such, when you see this happening, it’s time to provide them with some moisture.
You can do so by misting them. Or, if you want a more hands-off approach, set them over rocks in a water tray.
Lucky bamboos are unique houseplants in that they can be grown in water. All you need is about 1 to 3 inches of water when starting out.
If you have a larger plant, make sure that its roots are submerged in water. And, increase the amount of water in the container as they grow.
The amount of water you put will in large part determine how high up their stalks grow since the roots will develop from there.
It’s also worth noting that lucky bamboos have red roots. So, don’t be surprised or worried if you see that color.
The one thing you need to know about these lovely houseplants is that they’re sensitive to chemicals in water, especially chlorine. Enough of it can kill your lucky bamboo.
So, it’s a good idea to use bottled or distilled water. Similarly, you can use a filter for tap water. Alternatively, you can leave tap water out at room temperature overnight to allow the chlorine to evaporate.
Finally, if you keep your lucky bamboo in water, make sure to change the water every 7 to 14 days. You can extend that up to 4 weeks. But, that’s pushing it.
Besides water, you can likewise grow them like traditional houseplants.
With soil, you want to use one that drains well and is rich in organic matter.
It’s important to keep the soil moist but not wet or waterlogged.
Lucky bamboo doesn’t require much fertilizer. In fact, they’ll grow just fine even if you don’t feed them.
That said, giving them some nutrients can help as well.
After all, all they need is one drop of liquid fertilizer into the water they’re in. You can feed them monthly or once every other month.
In case its leaves turn yellow, you may want to cut back on the fertilizer. That’s a sign it’s getting too much. However, it can likewise be a sign that it’s receiving too much sunlight as well.
So, depending on which seems more likely, you can make the appropriate adjustments.
Pruning your lucky bamboo is part of its health regimen.
As they grow, these houseplants become top-heavy. Similarly, they’ll also lose their complex shapes.
Trim the offshoots within an inch or two from the main stem. And you’ll see new shoots grow to make your plant bushier.
If you don’t want it to regenerate new shoots, you can dip the cut ends in paraffin.
In many cases, you’ll want to shape your lucky bamboo to make it look unique. Unfortunately, this isn’t as easy as trimming parts of it to coax them into growing into certain directions.
Instead, the stalks grow toward the light. So, you’ll need to tediously rotate the plant to make it grow in different directions.
With patience, it can be done. But, for the most part, it’s just too much work to deal with.
Lucky bamboo plants can be easily propagated via cuttings. One of the best times to do so is when you’re repotting them (see below). This gives you a chance to trim your plant as well so that it doesn’t get too unbalanced.
- Make a cutting from the parent plant.
- Dip the end of the cutting in rooting hormone to increase your chances of success.
- Now you need to make a decision. Do you want to grow it in water or soil? Depending on which you go for, you’ll either prepare a container of water or one with potting soil
The process is similar to that in repotting below.
Lucky bamboos only need to be repotted when they’ve outgrown their containers. Because you can grow them in water as well as soil, the circumstances will differ for each.
Repotting Lucky Bamboo in Water
This is by far the easiest way to do it. That’s because you don’t need to prepare the soil and fill the container with it.
Here, all you need is to get a larger container and fill it with rainwater or distilled water. Then, put the plant in.
Repotting Lucky Bamboo in Soil
The process here is similar. But, instead of water you’ll need to potting soil. You’ll also want to get a container that’s not only wide enough but also balances out the height and weight of the plant. This way it doesn’t tip over or gets top-heavy.
You can likewise add a stake for support if needed.
The lucky bamboo is not toxic to humans. But, it is to dogs and cats. So, it’s important to keep it out of their reach, especially if your furry companions are mischievous or curious.
Ingestion can result in vomiting, diarrhea, or abdominal pain among other things.