How to Grow and Care for Lucky Bamboo
Written by Natalie Anstey
Lucky Bamboo is a very popular houseplant and it is not difficult to see why! It looks so lush and healthy, and is very easy to look after.
Native to West Africa, traditionally they were given to others as gifts to bring luck, prosperity, and riches to the household and hails back to over 5000 years ago.
Lucky Bamboo was very popular in ancient China and was used for its medicinal purposes along with being a staple item in Feng Shui.
The Ancient Chinese believed that the amount of stems held significance. For example Lucky Bamboo with two stems were often given to newly married couples to bring good fortune to their marriage.
Rule of (Green) Thumb: Did you know that Lucky Bamboo isn’t actually a bamboo at all? It is a part of the Dracaena genus which is more akin to the humble asparagus!
LUCKY BAMBOO LIGHT REQUIREMENTS:
Due to their indestructible nature, Lucky Bamboo can grow in many areas of the house that are considered tricky!
Having said this, they are native to rainforests in West Africa so they prefer a sheltered spot with filtered or indirect sunlight like they would have “in the wild”.
If the stalks of the Lucky Bamboo start turning brown or look dry, then it is likely that there is too much sun so it is best to move to a more protected spot.
LUCKY BAMBOO WATER REQUIREMENTS:
Lucky Bamboo can be grown in water or in compost. So depending on which medium you choose, the watering methods will differ.
Growing Lucky Bamboo In Water:
Replace the water once a week to ensure that your Lucky Bamboo stays healthy - make sure to use filtered or rain water rather than tap water. If you only have tap water, let the water sit for about a day, so all the nasty chemicals can evaporate into the air rather than into your beloved Lucky Bamboo.
It is recommended to let the Lucky Bamboo sit in about 2 inches of water making sure the roots are completely submerged for the best results!
Growing Lucky Bamboo In Compost:
Use a light and free draining compost so that the roots do not become too boggy as this can cause rot. Water only when the top inch of soil has become dry.
Rule of (Green) Thumb: It's best to use filtered or rain water for your Lucky Bamboo, because they are sensitive to the chemicals in tap water!
LUCKY BAMBOO TEMPERATURE REQUIREMENTS:
Being a rainforest plant, Lucky Bamboo prefer a warmer spot. You should avoid positioning it where it could get cold or where there could be a draft.
The optimum temperature for Lucky Bamboo ranges from 65 - 90 degrees Fahrenheit. The warmer the better!
LUCKY BAMBOO HUMIDITY REQUIREMENTS:
Lucky Bamboo are very forgiving when it comes to humidity levels and can grow in positions of high humidity (up to 50%).
This isn’t a must though! Lucky Bamboo will grow happily in normal household humidity with possibly only a little misting at most.
LUCKY BAMBOO SOIL:
Lucky Bamboo don’t actually need soil to thrive! They are often grown in beautifully ornate pots filled with water and pebbles.
They do however, seem to grow much larger if in soil; When grow in soil, they can get to be up to 5 feet tall. - Definitely something work considering when planting your Lucky Bamboo!
It is best to grow Lucky Bamboo in airy and free draining soil - if it does not drain well then this can cause rot. They also prefer soil that is slightly on the acidic side with a pH of 6 - 6.5.
Rule of (Green) Thumb: New stalks that are produced are very often red! They soon change to lush green so don’t panic and remove this red growth!
LUCKY BAMBOO FERTILIZER:
As Lucky Bamboo are so robust, they require very little fertilizer. Fertilize every 2-3 months with a very weak solution of liquid feed or simply put one drop a month if growing in soil.
LUCKY BAMBOO PRUNING & REPOTTING:
Pruning Lucky Bamboo:
To create an attractive and bushy shape it is best to prune regularly. It is recommended to prune the side shoots down to about an inch and above a node. - New shoots will form, and the will plant grow outwards rather than upwards.
Remove any stems and leaves that are yellowing or dying as it is best that the plant puts energy into growing new healthy stems.
Repotting Lucky Bamboo:
When growing Lucky Bamboo water, it is very easy to see when the roots have outgrown their spot. Repot into a pot one size larger and replenish the water.
A good tip is to use water at room temperature..no one wants to be thrown into a cold bath and your Lucky Bamboo is no different!
LUCKY BAMBOO PROPAGATION:
If you have pruned your Lucky Bamboo and have some stalks remaining why not propagate them to give to friends and family?
Propagating Lucky Bamboo is very easy; just cut a stalk off that is about 4-6 inches long and has two nodes (these are the rings around the stem) and a healthy well formed offshoot at the top (the leaves at the top of the stem - this is the part you will propagate).
Carefully remove the offshoot, making sure to prune it as close to the main stem as possible. Gently peel off the lower leaves and then drop the cutting into a jar/glass with 4 inches of water. It is important that the leaves are not submerged, only the stalk.
Leave in a sunny position, remembering to change the water if it becomes stagnant and after a month roots should be formed.
Rule of (Green) Thumb: Only use water that is free from chlorine and chemicals. Filtered or rain water will be fine or if not possible use tap water that has been left overnight.
LUCKY BAMBOO DISEASES & PESTS:
01. Mealybugs and Mites - Mealy bugs and mites love the sweet sap of new growth and show up as white tufts or little green or black dots . They are greedy and can destroy quickly, so make sure to clean the plant and treat with an insecticide or neem oil.
02. Discolored Leaves - This is usually a watering or a light issue. Make sure that the water used has no chlorine in it. Another reason could be over or underwatering (this is for Lucky Bamboo growing in compost).
03. Burn Leaves - Burnt leaves can be a sign that the lighting is not quite right, so experiment with positioning and keep out of direct sunlight and/or drafts.
04. Soft and Rotting Stems - If your Lucky Bamboo has too much water, it may be beginning to rot. Only the roots and the very bottom of the plant should be covered in water. For Lucky Bamboo grown in compost, think about repotting with a free draining compost and watering less frequently.
LUCKY BAMBOO PLANT TOXICITY:
This may look like a yummy treat to our unsuspecting furry friends, but please be warned, Lucky Bamboo is toxic to animals.
Download the Flora App for more tips and tricks on how to take care of your Lucky Bamboo!