Have you ever noticed how some people give lucky bamboo plants as housewarming gifts or wish each other during personal celebrations and religious festivities? You can probably find one of these plants in most Asian households, placed in a corner or strategically around the house or workplace?
There’s a reason for that!
For the last 5000 years, lucky bamboo plants have been considered – as the name tells you already – to be auspicious to have around the house. As a result, you can find mentions of this plant in both Vaastu Shastra and Feng Shui, making lucky bamboo plants one of the most popular and well-loved plants kept indoors.
Plant lovers keep this houseplant both at home and at work, believing them to bring prosperity and wealth. Considering your space around the house, they can be huge or modified to fit your corners and tabletops.
History and Significance
Lucky bamboo plants were originally grown in Southeast Asia and are known to symbolize health, love, and luck to whoever possesses them. According to Feng Shui, lucky bamboo plants are said to bring positive energy into a place in any direction and corner of a home or workplace.
Usually, lucky bamboo plants can be seen with a red ribbon tied around their stems. This is not just done for decorative purposes but also represents the combined forces of fire and wood. While the plants represent wood in this scenario, the red ribbon represents fire, creating a sense of balance in a house.
A unique aspect of the lucky bamboo plant is that the number of stalks in a plant represents a different meaning. For example, while two stalks in a plant mean luck in love, three means wealth, long life, and happiness; in the same way, gifting a plant with five stalks means to wish someone luck and growth in business.
Propagation of Lucky Bamboo Plants
Lucky bamboo plants, or Dracaena sanderiana, are extremely easy to propagate by cutting off a stalk from an existing plant. These plants can live in water and soil under the right conditions.
Take the wires apart from an existing lucky bamboo plant holding the stalks together. Next, you must comb through the roots gently, so they are all separated. Lucky bamboo plants come in groups of multiple stalks wired together, and their roots are often intertwined, so you must be very careful in this step.
Separate all the stalks and choose the one among them that has at least two nodes, i.e., the lines that separate the stalk into multiple segments. They usually come with a good offshoot at least 4 to 6 inches long and dark green.
Use a sharp pair of pruning shears to cut off the offshoot from the stalk as close to the body as possible. Next, remove the bottom leaves and keep only the younger set of leaves on the top, and then place the cutting in a jar filled with distilled water. The cutting shouldn’t be completely submerged in water; only the bottom part should be underwater.
The offshoots will grow roots in about a month under direct sunlight. When that happens, you can transfer the offshoot – or a few of them together – in a glass container or a larger vase filled with 1 inch of pebbles, gravel, or marbles and around 4 inches of water.
Lucky bamboo plants can live in water well, but alternatively, they can be transferred to soil.
Cultivars to Select for Growing Lucky Bamboo Plant
While growing these plants from existing ones in your home is not hard, the process becomes easier when the right cultivators are selected.
Here are some points to notice when you want to cultivate your lucky bamboo plants:
- You should look for stalks with bright green leaves instead of yellow, brown, or dark green ones. The bright green color is an indication that the stalk is healthy and young and would make a better cultivator.
- Some lucky bamboo plants are better for cultivating than others, such as Dracaena Sanderiana ‘Victory’, which can be recognized by their stripy stem and bright green leaves with contrasting creamy-yellowish stripes. There’s also Dracaena Sanderiana ‘Gold’, which has leaves and stems that are lime green in color.
- Stalks that are unblemished and come with robust stems are the healthiest ones. They are better cultivators than stalks that seem to be wilting, dry, or discolored.
Growing and Care Guide
Lucky Bamboo plants are usually given as gifts, but they can be kept at home to grow into larger plants or used to grow more plants from a single one.
Fortunately, these plants are known to be almost indestructible. Under the right conditions, they are effortless to maintain at home, even with very little care. Proper light, potting soil, temperature, water, and fertilizer – that’s all these plants need to thrive, and there’s little that you can do to damage them.
Pruning and Maintenance
These plants need to be pruned regularly, whether you want to keep them in shape or cultivate more plants from them. A pair of sharp pruning shears is what you are going to need for the maintenance process that can cut through any of the offshoots – old or new.
Now and then, you need to use the pruning shears to cut back any of the offshoots that seem overly long, brownish, or growing crookedly. When an offshoot with leaves on them has been pruned 1 or 2 inches away from the stalk, healthier and greener offshoots will grow from the exact location and create denser foliage above your plant.
On the other hand, if you want to keep your plant clearer, the offshoots need to be pruned close to the stalk. This will discourage more shoots from growing in the exact location, and you can reshape the stalk or keep it bare.
To maintain a low height for your lucky bamboo plants, the main stalks can be cut as you desire. When the stalks are cut, they will not grow any further, but only the offshoots will keep growing and increasing.
Finally, pruning or cutting off the stalks should be done right above the node of the stalks to minimize the chance of infection.
Lucky bamboo plants require bright sunlight, but not directly. Therefore, they should be ideally placed on a windowsill that gets filtered sunlight through glass panes and only for a portion of the day.
Direct sunlight will end up scorching the leaves and browning them. When it comes to sunlight, lucky bamboo plants prefer little light compared to too much. If the leaves start to fade and lose color, the plants should ideally be moved to a location that gets more sunlight for a few days before returning to the original location.
Lucky Bamboo Plants Soil Requirements
These plants can live in both water and soil, but in the latter, they are easier to maintain. For example, if you are cultivating a new lucky bamboo plant from an existing one, the roots need a month to grow in distilled water before the new plants can be transferred to the soil.
The soil requirements for these plants are simple enough: well-drained and rich potting soil. The soil should ideally be moist but not soaking wet all the time.
If kept in water, lucky bamboo plants simply need a spacious vase or container with 1 inch of gravel or pebbles at the bottom and at least 1 inch of standing water.
Lucky Bamboo Plants Water Requirements
Although lucky bamboo plants are pretty easy to maintain, they are quite water sensitive.
These plants wither quickly when in contact with chlorine or other chemicals usually present in tap water. Therefore, only distilled water is safe for lucky bamboo plants both to water the soil and for the plants to stand in. If distilled water isn’t available, tap water that has been standing in a clean container for 24 hours can be used after the chlorine has evaporated.
Water needs to be changed once weekly if the plants are kept submerged. When transferred to soil, the container should have a good drainage system so that the soil doesn’t stay soaking wet.
Humidity and Temperature Requirements
Lucky bamboo plants are tropical plants native to Africa and prefer warm temperatures. The ideal temperature for these plants ranges between 65 to 90 degrees Fahrenheit under filtered sunlight. However, placed anywhere with a direct hot or cold draft, i.e., in front of an air conditioner, heating vent, or an open window, will make the leaves dry up quickly, damaging the plant.
These tropical plants can withstand average to moderately high humidity and won’t get damaged if the humidity level of your home or workplace changes slightly.
Fertilizer and Feeding
When it comes to fertilizers and feeding, there’s no plant easier to maintain than the lucky bamboo plants. A drop of liquid fertilizer mixed with water once a month is all these plants need; when standing in water, they will only need a feeding every other month. Therefore, only mild and very weak fertilizers should be used for these plants or fertilizers diluted in distilled water.
Special fertilizer for lucky bamboo plants is available that contains all the necessary nutrition for these plants.
Common Pests and Diseases
Sometimes, lucky bamboo plants can face the same insect problems as other tropical plants if kept indoors. Mealybugs, mites, and aphids are the main culprits to fight when you have these plants at home, but they can be manually picked off the plants when you see any.
In case of too many bugs, the entire plant can be washed with water and very mild liquid dish soap. This will remove any bugs that are hard to pick and get rid of any moldy spots on the stalks.
Wet soils for prolonged periods will result in common diseases, such as Anthracnose or Colletotrichum dracaenophilum; Botrytis Blight, aka Gray Mold; Botrytis; Leaf Spot or Phyllosticta maculicola and Root and Stem Rot, also known as Fusarium solani.
These are all different types of fungal infections that can be treated with a copper-rich fungicide.
Common Problems with Lucky Bamboo Plants
Being an easy-going plant, lucky bamboos are quite uncomplicated. However, it is still possible that these plants may have some common problems that can be easily remedied.
Black roots can be seen for several reasons, but they can be cut away with a pair of sharp scissors and returned to a container of new distilled water. The roots should ideally be red or orange in a healthy plant; when they seem black, it indicates a problem that needs to be dealt with immediately.
Browning of the Leaf Tips
If the tips of the leaves start to brown, it could mean that the water contains chlorine. Changing the water to distilled and removing the affected leaves with scissors can take care of the problem easily. If the brown leaves have fallen into the water, they should be taken out immediately before the water is contaminated.
Yellowing of the Leaves
The leaves of the lucky bamboo plant can start to become yellow when the plant is getting either too much sunlight or too much fertilizer, or both. Move the plant to someplace shadier and reduce the amount of fertilizer for this problem to disappear gradually.
If the stalks begin to rot, it may mean that the plant’s roots are dying or already dead. Unfortunately, not much can be done to save the plant at this point but to remove the decaying stalks from the rest of the plant and replace the water.
Best Uses of Lucky Bamboo Plants
These plants are extremely popular as housewarming or welcoming gifts as they are supposed to bring good luck and prosperity, but they are also perfect for any occasion. They are wonderfully eye-catching and decorative for any home or workplace in glass containers, vases, or pots with colorful stones or pebbles.
Frequently Asked Questions
How do you take care of a lucky bamboo plant?
With the right kind of sunlight, water, mild fertilizer, and soil, lucky bamboo plants are easy to take care of and keep inside the house, in corners, windowsills, and even tabletops. They can be planted in soil or kept standing in water for a long time with little maintenance.
What is lucky bamboo good for?
These plants are great for decoration with very little maintenance needed and are perfect housewarming or welcoming gifts for anyone to wish them luck and prosperity.
Where is the best place to put my lucky bamboo?
The best place to put lucky bamboo plants is on windowsills that get an adequate amount of indirect sunlight but not any kind of hot or cold draft. They can also be kept on tabletops in bright rooms with enough light available.
Is lucky bamboo a good indoor plant?
They do not grow very tall, can be pruned to stay in shape, don’t need a lot of maintenance, and look great as a decorative item.
Lucky bamboo plants might just be the perfect houseplants to keep indoors, in your house or workplace to brighten the place up. They look amazing, neat, and inviting in soil or water, a glass container, or a vase. In addition, these plants have been considered lucky for thousands of years, as they bring prosperity and happiness to your home and can make the perfect addition to any room, anywhere.