Sumo Gardener

Lucky Bamboo Complete How to Grow and Care Guide

Plants make a great addition to one’s home, office, or wherever. But what is the best plant to showcase to family, friends, and or to the public? And how can you ensure that that plant can grow successfully?

The good news is, there is a special plant called the Lucky Bamboo!


Lucky Bamboo Complete How to Grow and Care Guide
Dracaena sanderiana, commonly known as Lucky Bamboo, is not a member of the bamboo family

Lucky Bamboo is enjoying a resurgence as a popular houseplant, and with good reason: its distinctive stalks can be manipulated into a variety of beautiful shapes, and it is believed to boost feng shui

Now, if you’re interested in adding this gorgeous houseplant to your collection, read on for a complete guide to growing and caring for Lucky Bamboo.

But first, let’s take a look at what the Dracaena sanderiana actually is by classification!

Lucky Bamboo Plant Details

Despite its name, Dracaena sanderiana, commonly known as Lucky Bamboo, is not a member of the bamboo family. (Imagine that!) While bearing close resemblance to bamboo, this eye-catching plant is actually a type of Dracaena.

Dracaena plants are often ideal as household plants that one might see in homes, public places, and so on. With that said, Lucky Bamboo is adaptable as a houseplant. 

While its name “Lucky” is still up for debate when it comes to origin, the plant itself still makes a decorative gesture to anyone who sees it.

Types Of Lucky Bamboo

Nowadays, it’s not that hard to find a Lucky Bamboo plant. In fact, there are many variations of the plant. In essence, here are many ways to describe Dracaena sanderiana:

  • Sculptural
  • Swirly
  • Braided
  • Unique in shape, etc.

Plus, Dracaena sanderiana is subtle with its small, floppy green leaves that decorate the stalks. As one can tell, this plant can grow long in length when taken care of.

Whether you let it grow freely, or have it grown straight, is up to you. No matter what type of Lucky Bamboo you choose to care for, you can have the plant in your home, your office, or anywhere you wish. 

Picking A Healthy Lucky Bamboo Plant

Hydroponics method is generally considered to be easier and cleaner way of growing lucky bamboo

Want to care for a Lucky Bamboo? First, you’ll need to think about health.

Now, in reality, this plant well-known for its strong structure, meaning that it’s nearly indestructible. However, you’ll need to consider the following for your plant:

  • Watering
  • Proper lighting
  • Potting
  • Temperature, AND
  • Fertilizer

Now, if you’re planning to buy a this plant from the market, keep in mind: Growing a healthy Lucky Bamboo starts with selecting a thriving plant.

Given that most of these plants are shipped from Taiwan or China, they’ve likely already been through quite an ordeal before reaching you. With that in mind, try to select a plant with bright green leaves, avoiding those with a yellow or brown-ish tinge.

How To Grow Lucky Bamboo

How To Grow Lucky Bamboo

There are broadly two ways to grow Lucky Bamboo: hydroponically and with soil. The method you choose is completely up to you, though the hydroponics method is generally considered to be easier and cleaner. 

If you opt for hydroponics, ensure your chosen container has enough stones or marbles to maintain stability. Keep water levels to at least 1 to 3 inches for a happy Lucky Bamboo.

If growing Lucky Bamboo in soil, choose a rich potting soil and make sure that it stays moist, but not wet, by scattering some stones at the bottom of the pot.

With regards to fertilizer, organic is the way to go, as the high levels of phosphorus and salts in synthetic fertilizer don’t get along well with Lucky Bamboo. 

Lucky Bamboo Care Guide

Lucky Bamboo Care Guide

If you’re a novice houseplant owner, here’s some good news: This plant is known for being difficult to kill, thanks to its strong stalk and its little-maintenance existence.

However, there are some conditions that help the plant to fully thrive and reach its full, glorious potential. The optimum conditions for growing a healthy Lucky Bamboo are discussed below. 

Choosing the Right Container

First, it’s important to plant in the right container. What’s the best container for your plant? Well, ideally, you’ll need either a ceramic container or a tall glass vase.

Or, you can opt for leaving the plant in the container that it comes in. But whatever you do: Don’t plant it in a shallow bowl. 

Though, a clear container is great if you’re growing the plant in sand, gravel, or liquid with added nutrients (non-soil) with decorative stones. However, if you prefer to use soil, then use a regular terra cotta pot. 

Light Requirements

Now, intense, direct sunlight is something that should be avoided if you’re trying to nurture an impressive Lucky Bamboo. Instead, place the plant somewhere that it can enjoy bright, but filtered, sunlight.

Dappled sunlight, similar to what you’d expect to shine through a forest canopy, is ideal. Make sure your plant isn’t overexposed to sunlight or its leaves could be scorched.

If erring on the side of caution, too little sunlight is better than too much. 

Lucky Bamboo Light Requirements

Watering Lucky Bamboo

This plant dislikes chlorine, fluoride and other chemicals that are commonly present in tap water. Bottled or filtered water is ideal, but if tap water is your only option, leave it out for around a day (at least 24 hours) before watering your plant. This will give the chlorine time to evaporate.

Also, don’t panic if the roots are red, or if you see the roots floating in a glass vase. If you’re growing the plant in a water vase, be sure to change the water once a week. This prevents odors and diseases from affecting your plant.

Humidity And Temperature

Generally, this plant is not particularly fussy when it comes to humidity, so don’t fret about the humidity levels in your home; average humidity is sufficient. 

The plant is a bit more finicky about temperature, though, preferring slightly warmer climes. Somewhere between 60 degrees Fahrenheit and 95 degrees Fahrenheit is perfect.

Drafts, whether hot or cold, are to be avoided, so take care to avoid placing your Lucky Bamboo by a window, air conditioning vent, or similar. 

Pruning Lucky Bamboo

To avoid a top-heavy plant, and to preserve any shape it may have been coaxed into, prune regularly. Using sterilized scissors or secateurs, carefully snip the offshoots to one or two inches, leaving the main stem of the plant untouched.

This will encourage the growth of new shoots, leading to a fuller plant. If you would like to try to manipulate your plant into an intricate shape, experiment with rotating your plant to encourage it to grow towards the light. 

Be warned that this can be a time-consuming and frustrating process, and it may take a few attempts to get it right.

(For easier pruning, don't miss our review on the best secateurs available online.)

Propagating Lucky Bamboo

Propagating Lucky Bamboo

If you’d like to create another plant, or if one of your friends has been regarding your plant with envious eyes, you can easily use your original plant to propagate new ones.

Take a stem cutting from the main stalk, making sure it has at least one leaf joint. Any leaves should be trimmed to expose the nodes.

Place the cutting in sufficient filtered water to cover the bottom of the cutting, and after around 30 days some red roots should appear. The cutting is then ready to be transferred to its own vase.

Dracaena Sanderiana Pests and Problems To Watch Out For

As mentioned earlier, Lucky Bamboo is generally considered to be almost indestructible. However, it can be plagued by the same pests as any other tropical houseplant. 

In particular, look out for mites, aphids and mealybugs. These pests can be dealt with as you would for any other plant. Here are some ways to deal with pests:

  • Pick off the bugs yourself. While mites, aphids, and mealybugs won’t bite you, they can still do harm to your plant by biting into the stalks and leaves.
  • Wash the entire Lucky Bamboo plant in a very mild liquid dish soap and water to remove these bugs, along with any mold. Just make sure that you rinse the plant thoroughly.

If your Lucky Bamboo is looking a bit sorry for itself, use the guide below to find the problem. Believe it or not, any problems experienced by Lucky Bamboo are caused by water. 

Although the plant needs to be watered, it doesn’t need too much water. So, make sure you use the right quality water and change it regularly. Also, look for these red flags:

Brown Or Yellow Leaves

The Lucky Bamboo is also known for its small and floppy green leaves. However, the leaves can be subject to dying. 

Yellow leaves suggest an overdose of sun or fertilizer, and brown leaves indicate dry air or polluted water. Move your plant, reduce the fertilizer, and use better quality water. Misting the plant can help increase humidity levels. 

(Here is more on why your bamboo plant is turning yellow as well as it's treatment and prevention.)

Black Roots

Ideally, healthy Lucky Bamboo roots should be either red or orange. However, these roots can turn black if you’re not careful. Root rot can happen in some of the following ways:

  • Overwatering
  • Lack of water
  • Fungi and bug interference
  • Insufficient soil, etc.

Although black roots can have many causes, the best solution is to snip any affected roots. Afterwards, transfer your plant to a new container. 

Browning Leaf Tips

This is indicative of high chlorine in water. Chlorinated water (or, at least, water with high levels of additives) can turn leaf tips brown, and then eventually annihilate your plant. 

So, make sure that you remove any affected leaves with a sterile, sharp scissor. Having sterile scissors prevents the infection bacteria from spreading to the rest of the plant. 

Also, change your water regularly, and remove dead leaves from the water. Rotting leaves left in the water can expose your plant to more harmful bacteria. 

Rotting Stalks

Ultimately, you’ll need to pay attention to the stalks – the nearly-indestructible part of the Lucky Bamboo. Sadly, rotten or mushy stalks often suggest that your plant has died. 

This could be due to bacteria, fungus or problems with water quality. Immediately remove any black or mushy stalks to prevent the problem spreading to any healthy neighbors. To be safe, move your plant to a new container with fresh stones and water.

To grow more Dracaena varieties, see our growing guide below: 

Author Bio

Christina Lee is a writer for Academic writing services, where she covers all things lifestyle. 

Wrapping Up Our Lucky Bamboo Growing Guide

As you can see, Lucky Bamboo is a beautiful houseplant that will inject some greenery into any home. A trendy plant, of course, it comes in different styles, and can be grown in any way you like.

This plant is perfect for novice growers, or owners that might not have plenty of time on their hands to care for a plant. However, it’s still important to care for your Lucky Bamboo as best as you can. 

Even as the plant is less likely to rot or fade right away, you’ll still need to make sure that your plant is cared for. Using the guide above, you should have no problem nurturing a strong, healthy Lucky Bamboo to improve your home’s feng shui. 

About the Author Mabel Vasquez

Mabel has enjoyed a long career as a horticulturist, working in nurseries and greenhouses for many years. Although she loves all plants, Mabel has developed a particular passion over the years for herb gardens and indoor plants. Mabel has since retired from her horticulture career and loves sharing her many years of experience with our audience here at Sumo Gardener.

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