Lucky Bamboo is a famous houseplant. According to Feng Shui, this plant brings luck and fortune for its host. That explains the “lucky” prefix. As far as the “bamboo” part of the name is concerned, this plant is not a typical bamboo but it looks like one. It belongs to the Dracaena species. Caring for lucky bamboo can be a challenge for new gardeners. Don’t worry! We are here to help you.
Here Are Some Tips For Growing And Caring For Lucky Bamboo In Your Space:
Getting The Right Lucky Bamboo Plant
Whether you visit your local nursery, gardening store, or a friend’s backyard to get your perfect Lucky Bamboo, you may face confusion choosing the right type initially. A lucky bamboo is also labelled as ribbon plant in some stores, so look closely at the labels. In either case, pick a visually-appealing, strong and healthy plant.
Avoid plants with brown or yellow stems and leaves. Choose a lucky bamboo that has thoroughly distributed vibrant green appearance with little to no color patches. Once the lucky bamboo leaves and stems turn yellow/brown, they’ll never revive or regain their natural green luster.
Lastly, smell the plant before buying it. Yes, that’s right! Smell the lucky bamboo to check the health of the plant. Healthy lucky bamboos don’t have any odor, whereas, wilting and neglected plants will give off a musty or sour smell. In short, avoid buying any funny-smelling lucky bamboo plants!
Water Vs. Soil Planting Medium
Growing Lucky Bamboo in Water
If you are growing Lucky Bamboo in water container, take following precautions:
- Provide Anchorage: Add some pebbles or rocks to offer structural support to the plant stem.
- Use Deep Container: Try using a deep container and immerse Lucky Bamboo into water for at least 2 inches of depth.
- Tap Water is Good Enough: Do not use chemically treated water. Instead, use filtered tap water. It usually contains chlorine and other disinfectants to eliminate most of the plant damage risks. It is advised to use boiled water or water that has been kept out in the open for some time.
- Regularly replace water: Replacing the water in container once every week, or every ten days will ensure good Lucky Bamboo growth.
Growing Lucky Bamboo in Soil
- Choose Well-Drained Soil: Nutrient-rich and well-drained potting soil is used to grow Lucky Bamboo. Mix 2 parts of garden soil in one part of growing medium such as peat moss, vermiculite to get the perfect potting mix.
- Water the Soil: Use moist soil, but avoid over-watering the plant to reduce the possibility of water logging.
- Use Natural Fertilizers: Do not use strong synthetic fertilizers. In this case, manure and compost are your best bets to get optimal Lucky Bamboo growth.
- Don’t Overdo! May it be watering or fertilizing the plant, do not overdo any practice when caring for Lucky Bamboo. Lucky Bamboo can grow well on their own in in soil. Water growing medium will require more nutrients than soil medium.
Choose The Right Container
Dimensions of the Pot
Lucky Bamboo is fast growing plant. Consider the species of Lucky Bamboo you have before buying a container. Some Lucky Bamboo species are runners. In other words, they extend their shoots and grow in any direction. Whereas other species re climbers, which grow upwards steadily. Choose a container with twice the diameter of the Lucky Bamboo root ball.
If the soil is well drained, Lucky Bamboo shows impressive growth. Use a container with holes for proper drainage and to avoid waterlogging. Excessive water kills Lucky Bamboo, like all other indoor plants.
Repotting the Lucky Bamboo Plant
Another major step in caring for Lucky Bamboo plant is repotting. When Lucky Bamboo plants outgrow their container, cut the extra roots and replace the soil with a new potting mix in a new container. Get a bigger pot to house your beautiful, rapidly-growing Lucky Bamboo plant and continue the watering and fertilizing practices accordingly.
Apply Organic Fertilizer Periodically
Fertilizers suitable for grasses will work well for the Lucky Bamboo plants. However, the best fertilizer for Lucky Bamboo is organic manure or compost. Water the plant after applying the fertilizer. It will ensure that the fertilizer seeps down into the soil and nourishes the plant roots.
If you are using a synthetic fertilizer, a fertilizer with high nitrogen content will be suitable for quick and vigorous growth of Lucky Bamboo plant.
The best time to apply fertilizer to these plants is mid-to-late spring, the peak shooting season for the Lucky Bamboo. Chemical fertilizers are absorbed more readily than the organic ones, but they are not recommended.
Lucky Bamboos can survive neglect for brief time period. Generally, they are water-loving plants and thrive best under ample water conditions. However, potted Lucky Bamboo should not be overwatered as it can lead to water logging. The outdoor varieties of Lucky Bamboo also retain water and do not need to be watered daily. Contrarily, indoor varieties of Lucky Bamboo do not retain water as efficiently, and will require watering twice or thrice a week.
One way to improve water retention properties of the potting mix is to add natural and non-synthetic mulch, which helps in reducing evaporation.
Keep Lucky Bamboo Away From Direct Sunlight
There are numerous varieties of Lucky Bamboo which vary in their light requirements. The most common Lucky Bamboo plants (Dracena sanderiana) grow best when they are exposed to bright, indirect light.
Avoid placing Lucky Bamboo on a window that receives direct sunlight, as its leaves will be burned.
One easy way of caring for Lucky Bamboo plants placed in dark corner indoors is to use a plant lamp. A plant lamp can make up for the deficiency of natural light. Place the lamp about ½ ft. or 1 ft. away from the plant and it will provide sufficient light needed by the plant to grow well.
Shaping and Arranging Lucky Bamboo Stalks
You can shape the Lucky Bamboo plant as you like. Younger, softer shoots, which haven’t grown into hardened barks yet, are easy-to-manipulate. Try to twist the stalk around the central stem and you will get curling pattern. To maintain the structural integrity of the Lucky Bamboo shoots, wrap plant training wire around the stalks while twisting.
If you want straight stalks, all you need to is plant natural Lucky Bamboo stalks at some distance from each other and they will grow erect. Sometimes, when the stalks grow to a good length, they tend to bend. To prevent bending of straight stalks, erect the stalks by using a totem pole for support.
Remove Dead Leaves
There can be several reasons behind wilting and dying of Lucky Bamboo Plants. Dead leaves become yellowish around edges initially, and they turn brown gradually. Observe the signs that indicate your plant is unhealthy and take necessary action.
Your first priority should be to cut off the dead part of leaves, while keeping the remainder intact. For this process, use a sharp, sterilized pair of scissors. Then simply follow the natural pattern of leaf as you cut along the midribs/ribs.
If the whole leaf is dead, cut it from the base. Don’t worry, a new, healthy leaf will sprout from this point soon.
Use Cuttings for Replanting Lucky Bamboo
Often, you will need to use cutting to reproduce your Lucky Bamboo asexually. Trimming is needed to manage the fast growth of the Lucky Bamboo plant, while cuttings help in replanting. Lucky Bamboo has circular rims or nodes on the stalk. If you cut a Lucky Bamboo stalk, growth will continue from the nodes situated below the cutting point. Understandably, the excised stalk will cease to grow unless you replant it. The best season to cut and replant the Lucky Bamboo is winter, when the growth is slower.
Replant the Lucky Bamboo once it outgrows its container. Use a fork to soften up the soil and turn the pot upside down. Then, wiggle to pot to gently pull the roots out of the container. Once you have the Lucky Bamboo root in your hands, add soil to the new pot and immerse the root bulb in it. Add more soil till it covers the plant up to the base of the stem. The best time to replant Lucky Bamboo is during spring. It is the time of quick growth and the Lucky Bamboo will regain vigor quickly.
Tie Lucky Bamboo Stalks Using Ribbon Or Wire
In case you forgot, Lucky Bamboo plants grow fast- like really fast. The multiple stalks of the plant have a tendency to diverge, giving this plant a messy appearance. A great idea to hold the stalks together is to loosely wind a ribbon around a bunch of stalks. Do not tighten the plant ribbon too much.
Wires are a great option if you want to straighten the Lucky Bamboo stalks, or twist them in any direction. You can use soft wires as a replacement for ribbons. If you have a stronger wire, tie it vertically with the Lucky Bamboo stalk to get upward, straight-as-an-arrow growth.
How Are You Caring For Your Lucky Bamboo Plants?
We have tried to cover all the aspects of growing and caring for lucky bamboo plants. This plant is definitely one of the favorite indoor plants of every gardener. The popularity this plant enjoys can be attributed to the plethora of benefits it offers. It is a hardy, neglect-resistant plant which tends to grow super-fast. It aerates water, and can be kept in aquariums as well.
We hope you enjoy planting lucky bamboo. Don’t forget to share your experience on our social media channels.