Lucky bamboo (Dracaena sanderiana), contrary to its name, is not a true bamboo plant but a member of the Dracaena genus. This fortuitous plant is a native of Southeast Asia and has been an essential component of the feng shui tradition spanning over five millennia. In these practices, it is believed that the lucky bamboo does indeed impart luck and happiness and is a popular gift between companies and personal acquaintances. The plant’s capacity to be formed into a variety of shapes also makes it especially popular.
The bamboo plant is especially hardy and will grow well in just about any home or office. It can be grown on water or soil, but it will have a longer and happier life if potted with soil. Because it comes from the genus Dracaena, the lucky bamboo is more aligned to the care needed for a dracaena than a bamboo. If it is placed in water, the water should be replaced each week. If it is planted in the soil, it should be damp. So not let it become too wet or too dry. It should only receive a small amount of sunlight and does better in the shade. Temperatures between 65°F – 95°F (18°C-35°C). It thrives best in semi-tropical climates and has been given a hardiness rating of 10-11
Lucky Bamboo Care Tips
The care needed to keep a happy and healthy lucky bamboo is not complicated. Therefore, we have compiled this concise guide: water, sunlight, toxicity, propagation, potting and common pests plaguing the lucky bamboo.
Here is our quick step-by-step guide to caring for lucky bamboo.
Remove packaging gently and add rocks to the container to add ballast.
Place the lucky bamboo plant in the soil or water until the roots are covered.
Place the plant in indirect sunlight or shade.
Use a liquid plant fertilizer every three to four weeks.
Remove yellow leaves with clean clippers.
Place the lucky bamboo in larger containers as they keep growing.
Sunlight — the lucky bamboo only requires moderate or even indirect sunlight. If it receives direct sunlight, the leaves could be scorched, and the tips of the edges will look as if someone took a match to them. If your lucky bamboo’s leaves are beginning to look a little scorched, move them into an area where there is less light.
Water — if you are growing lucky bamboo in the soil, be sure that the soil is always slightly damp. Please do not soak the soil, but don’t let it get too dry either. Bamboo does not need too much water to survive, but it can be grown in water as well. Keep the water changed every six to seven days and occasionally cleaned out the container to prevent algae growth.
Algae is a common problem for lucky bamboo kept in a glass container, so carefully remove the bamboo and clean out the container. Tap water is generally fine for use with the lucky bamboo, so long as the chlorine content is not too high. To be safe, you can leave the water out in a flat container overnight so that the chlorine gas evaporates and the water is cleaner the next day and contains no chlorine that can adversely affect the plant.
Important Tip: if your water supply contains a high amount of fluoride, it is better to use filtered water. Fluoride is a toxic element to lucky bamboo and will affect the health of lucky bamboo.
Temperatures — the lucky bamboo will thrive in climates between 65° – 95°F (18°-35°C), so it is perfect for the average temperatures of your office or house. In the colder months, you should place the plant away from spots where it will receive an incredibly cool draft and protect it from frost.
Repotting —You will know when the repotting is needed when the plant’s roots fill the container in which they live. Once you notice the sources have become too tight, place the bamboo in another larger container. If you are removing bamboo from the soil, dampen the soil slightly first. Then, carefully remove the plant and do not shake too much soil from the roots as you make the change. If your plant is kept in a glass container with rocks, carefully remove seeds from the stones. The roots can be trimmed back, or the entire plant can be replaced in a new pot with fresh water.
Propagation — it is easy to create new plants too. First, identify a healthy stalk to act as the parent stalk. For best results, pick one that has at least three segments and an offshoot. Clip the shoot from the parent stalk and place it in a container of water. Care for it as you would an adult plant, and soon it will be ready to begin its own life.
The lucky bamboo is a beautiful and hardy plant with a great tradition of good fortune and happiness — and who doesn’t need a terrific reminder of good luck in their life. This is the perfect gift for dads, and actually, any guy in your life is especially difficult to shop for. Anybody would appreciate a lucky bamboo. You can also use the lucky number symbolism charts found here to choose the correct number of stalks for you.