Are you planning to care for a low-maintenance houseplant indoors? Then the lucky bamboo (Dracaena sanderiana) is an incredible choice. Get to know more about caring for this popular and hardy houseplant through this article.
In This Article
An Overview of the Lucky Bamboo Plant (Dracaena Sanderiana)
Lucky bamboo refers to a hardy houseplant that is popularly grown and cultivated in various regions worldwide. An important fact about this plant, though, is that it is not actually a bamboo species. Basically, it is a kind of lily called Dracaena sanderiana, which is a native plant in Africa and some parts of Southeast Asia’s tropical forests.
A lot of those who are fond of indoor plants love the lucky bamboo because it is easy to train and grow. This houseplant can also significantly add brightness to a room and thrive well even in indirect and low light.
Dracaena sanderiana (lucky bamboo) is also related to good luck, which is the reason why making it a part of your home is a good idea.
Lucky Bamboo and Feng Shui
The lucky bamboo is part of Chinese traditions as it is related to luck and fortune. Based on the traditions in China, the lucky bamboo’s importance is linked to the number of stalks.
Also, different lucky bamboo arrangements tend to produce different meanings and purposes. A few examples are:
Two stalks for love
Three stalks for happiness (Fu), wealth (Lu), and long life (Soh)
Five stalks, which is a symbol of certain life areas affecting wealth
Six stalks for wealth and good luck
Seven stalks for good health
Eight stalks for abundance
Ten stalks for perfection
Twenty-one stalks for powerful blessings
It is important to avoid lucky bamboo arrangements composed of four stalks. The reason is that the Chinese culture resonates four to death. This means that four bamboo stalk arrangement is rude for them as they perceive it as a symbol that you are wishing for the death of someone.
Good Feng Shui Tips Using the Lucky Bamboo
The lucky bamboo will always be a lovely addition to your home, especially if you think of how it could bring you good fortune. It symbolizes nobility, flexibility, and upright growth. However, it’s important to learn some good Feng Shui tips first so you can make the most out of this lucky bamboo.
Find upright and straight stems – Curling lucky bamboo stems should be avoided as they may not provide as much support for upright growth as possible. They may also symbolize spiraling or spinning energy.
Put the lucky bamboo in the Southeast or East direction – It is the recommended direction whether you intend to put it in your office or house. The southeast direction is ideal for attracting wealth. Meanwhile, the East direction aims to attract health and protection against negative energy.
Put it at the center of your dining table – This is a wise tip if you wish to boost energy flow through the lucky bamboo. This position helps in attracting abundance while making the atmosphere look more pleasant.
Place a lucky bamboo in your kitchen – This is a wise idea especially if the kitchen is in the Southeast or East part of your home. It helps in attracting happiness or harmony.
Do not put it in your bedroom – You can put the lucky bamboo in different parts and rooms of your home to attract good luck but it’s never a good idea to make it a part of your bedroom. The reason is that the lucky bamboo projects Yang energy that may overwhelm your room, causing you to be unable to rest properly.
It is also a good idea to give the lucky bamboo as a gift to a family or friend during certain occasions, like New year, weddings, and birthdays. It makes a nice gift as it means that you also wish for the good fortune of the person receiving it. Just put this potted plant in a box with a nice ribbon and give it to someone you care about.
The Basics of Growing Lucky Bamboo Indoors
If you are fond of the lucky bamboo, then note that it would be nice for you to grow one indoors. Note that the Dracaena Sanderiana thrives well as an indoor plant, provided you give it proper care and attention.
You can grow your lucky bamboo indoors either in plain water or soil. Properly caring for it will let it attain better health at the normal height of around two to three feet.
Growing the Lucky Bamboo in Water
Here are a couple of steps when planning to grow lucky bamboo in water:
Pick the right container for your lucky bamboo then use pebbles to fill the bottom part.
Pour just the right amount of water. It should be just enough that it rises around a couple of inches over the pebbles.
Submerge the lucky bamboo roots there.
Change water every couple of weeks. This is necessary for preventing root rot. The goal here is to ensure that it retains its freshness and clarity.
How Much Water is Needed?
To give you a clearer idea of the amount of water needed for the lucky bamboo plant, note that a minimum of one to three inches is necessary before it starts to grow roots. Once they grow, ensure that sufficient water covers the entire roots.
Increase the water added to the pot or container once the lucky bamboo grows. It should cover the stalk as high as possible so more roots will also grow. The good thing about having more of such growth is that it can also lead to the lushness of the top foliage.
Growing the Lucky Bamboo in Soil
You also have the option to grow the lucky bamboo indoors by transplanting it into soil. In this case, ensure that you pick a container or pot with good drainage. A well-aerated potting soil that has excellent drainage is also necessary.
Once transplanted, make sure to water the lucky bamboo regularly. However, it should be just enough to keep the soil moist without causing it to become waterlogged.
The Most Suitable Container for Your Lucky Bamboo
You can use a bowl or low dish for your lucky bamboo arrangement. In that case, make sure to provide a minimum of an inch space between the pot’s edge and the stalk. The space is helpful in letting the roots spread out while providing sufficient support for the plant.
In case the stalks grow in a huge vase made of glass, ensure that the pot is proportional to the height of the bamboo. It should also be able to support the stalk.
If that happens, transplanting the plant is the common solution. The good news is that this process is easy. Just begin with a clean and slightly bigger container than the present one.
If the lucky bamboo plant grows in a pot filled with water, then just take the stalks away from it. Get a larger container and put the stalk there. Refill it with the same amount and level.
In case the lucky bamboo grows in a pot filled with pebbles, dig up the plant gently. Use water to clean the pebbles before you put them in another container. Add the plant gently and carefully and make sure that every root is nestled inside the pebbles.
If necessary, add more pebbles. It may help cover every root while providing adequate support to the plant.
Lucky Bamboo Care
Once you have already planted the lucky bamboo, giving it proper care should come next. Here are the specific growing conditions that the lucky bamboo specifically requires to remain healthy:
In terms of light, your lucky bamboo favors filtered and bright sunlight, like what you can get from beneath a rainforest canopy. It is crucial to avoid direct sunlight, though. The reason is that significant exposure to this direct light may scorch the plant’s leaves.
Note that lucky bamboo plants can tolerate too little light than excessive light. Observe the condition of these plants, though. If they start stretching or their green colors fade, it may be necessary to provide them with more light.
It is crucial to grow the lucky bamboo in rich and well-drained potting soil. Keep this soil moist but not soaking.
Also, remember that this plant can be expected to survive well when you house it in pebbles or simply put it in a vase full of water. Just provide it with a minimum of one-inch standing water all the time.
When it comes to water requirements, remember that lucky bamboo plants are extremely sensitive to the chemicals found in tap water, like chlorine. With that in mind, it would be better to use distilled or bottled water whenever the plant needs to be watered.
You can still use tap water for that purpose. However, it should be left out for a day or 24 hours, so the chlorine will evaporate first.
One more important point to remember is that the healthy root of lucky bamboo is often red. That said, avoid being alarmed whenever you see red roots in a vase. If you are growing it in a vase with water, though, ensure that you change the water once every week to prevent diseases.
Lucky bamboo also tends to survive in environments with warmer temperatures. The temperature should range from 65 to 90 degrees Fahrenheit.
In terms of humidity, lucky bamboo plants do well at just an average level. This means you should not worry too much about how you can increase the humidity level at home.
Also, when picking the perfect spot for the plant in your home, you should avoid putting it in any place that has a cold or hot draft. These include the front of your air conditioning unit, a drafty window, or a heating vent.
Your lucky bamboo plant also requires nourishment every now and then. In that case, one drop of liquid fertilizer applied once every month is more than enough for the majority of lucky bamboo arrangements.
If you grow lucky bamboo plants in water, then feeding them every other month is enough. It is also advisable to use a weak liquid fertilizer for that purpose.
How to Shape the Lucky Bamboo?
Even with the intricate look of the lucky bamboo plants, you can’t expect them to be shaped similarly to the bonsai. You have to know how to shape it as it is part of proper lucky bamboo care.
You can do so by rotating the stalks in front of a source of light. Doing so will cause this plant to grow naturally to the light.
Traditionally, the stalks of the lucky bamboo are grown on the sides. The Chinese do this as a means of creating unique spiraling shapes. It is laborious when done at home, though, which is why you may accomplish it by putting the plant beneath a box with three sides.
You also have to monitor the rate and speed through which it grows, so you can rotate the plant regularly and slowly.
How to Trim the Lucky Bamboo?
It is also advisable to trim the lucky bamboo as this step contributes to making the plant remain healthy. Note that eventually, the majority of the lucky bamboo plants will start becoming top-heavy. The plant’s intricate shapes will also start losing their form.
Generally, it would not benefit you to cut the plant’s main stalk. What you should do, instead, is to use sterile snippers to cut the offshoots. Trim them again to around one to two inches from the primary stem.
Soon enough, you will notice new shoots emerging. The resulting plants will also get bushier. Prevent new and unwanted growth and retain the right shapes by dipping the specific end where you have made the cut in paraffin.
Common Issues, Pests, and Diseases Affecting the Lucky Bamboo
The entire life of the lucky bamboo, which is a symbol of prosperity and good luck, will never be without problems. You have to learn a few tips on monitoring its condition, so you can handle any issue, pest, or disease that may have interfered with its healthy and happy life.
Here are just some of the most common issues that the lucky bamboo may encounter and a couple of tips in handling them:
Exposure to chlorinated water or additives
Overexposure to such additives and chemicals may result in the browning of the tips of your lucky bamboo’s leaves. Eventually, this may kill the plants if you do not deal with them right away.
With that in mind, ensure that you are using tap water that is already free of the mentioned chemicals. The use of distilled water is also highly recommended.
Black roots and dead leaves
Are there black roots in the plant? Then cut them right away. You should do the same whenever you see dead leaves as both may only rot while in the water, causing bacteria to be introduced to the plant.
Presence of algae
Are there persistently growing algae in the water? The reason could be that you have potted the lucky bamboo in a clear vase. Doing so may cause light to penetrate, stimulating the development of algae.
You can deal with it by cleaning the vase and starting again. You may also want to switch to the use of an opaque container in case algae persists.
Did the leaves of the lucky bamboo turn yellow all of a sudden? Then it could mean that it is receiving excessive amounts of sunlight and fertilizer.
If you notice yellow leaves in your lucky bamboo, then it would be best to reduce the amount of fertilizer you put on the plant. Reduce the frequency of application, too. To ensure that it does not receive too much sunlight, transfer it to a shadier spot.
Brown leaves, on the other hand, mean that the plant is exposed to polluted water or dry air. In that case, it helps to raise the level of humidity in the specific spot where you placed the plant. Spray the plant regularly, too, and ensure that you use the correct water.
Rotting or mushy stalks
If you notice the stalks rotting or becoming mushy, then note there is already a low chance to save or recover the plant. In that case, it would be best for you to just remove the decaying or rotting stalks. The reason is that those may only put the other stalks near the decaying ones in danger of rotting, too.
This common problem appears like black spots found in the stalks and leaves of your lucky bamboo. It is often caused by tiny insects, like mealybugs and aphids, that tend to encourage the development of sooty mold fungus.
You can treat this problem by putting on insecticidal oil or soap to the affected part of the plant. It can treat the mold while ensuring that it does not spread even further.
The fact that lucky bamboo is easy to grow and maintain makes it wise to incorporate into your home or office. What is even better about this plant is that it may give you the luck and prosperity that you are hoping for, provided you position it correctly for fortune.