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Growing Lucky Bamboo for Beginners

Growing Lucky Bamboo for Beginners

Bamboo is a widely versatile plant that can be found all over the world. From being 99% of the Giant Panda’s diet, used to make baseball bats, used as a construction material and more, bamboo is a sturdy plant to add to your collection. Bamboo is a group of evergreen perennial flowering plants and can be found in warm or moist tropical climates, as well as warm temperate climates. However, bamboo is typically found in outdoor gardens as they can grow between 1-4 inches per day during the growing season.

Lucky Bamboo vs Giant Bamboo

If you would like bamboo in your indoor garden, you’ll more than likely come across the plant known as “Lucky bamboo”. Lucky bamboo is technically not the same species as the Giant bamboo, but it falls under the same clade. A clade is a section of categorization in which species share an evolutionary path. The species name for Lucky bamboo, Dracaena sanderiana, gives hint to its origins with it being a part of the Dracaena genus.

Lucky bamboo, a symbol of prosperity, resilience, and good fortune, has become a popular choice for indoor plant enthusiasts worldwide. This plant is easy to care for, making it an excellent choice for beginners and experienced gardeners alike. In this comprehensive guide, we'll explore the fascinating world of Lucky bamboo, from its origins and symbolism to detailed care instructions that will ensure your plant thrives and brings luck into your life.

The Origins and Symbolism of Lucky Bamboo

Lucky Bamboo's Origins:

Lucky bamboo is native to the tropical rainforests of West Africa, where it grows as an understory plant, meaning it thrives in the shade of larger trees. Its scientific name, Dracaena sanderiana, pays homage to the German plant collector Henry Frederick Conrad Sander, who introduced the plant to the Western world in the late 19th century.

Symbolism:

The popularity of Lucky bamboo is not just due to its aesthetic appeal but also its symbolism. In various Asian cultures, the number of stalks and arrangement of the plant carry significant meanings:

How Do I Care For A Bamboo Plant?

Light

Lucky bamboo prefers moderate to indirect sunlight. Putting your plant about 1 or 2 meters away from a north facing window will get you the indirect sunlight you’re looking for. You can also add a sheer curtain or a source of shade outside the home (a tree for example) to give your plant just the right amount of light in a day. Don’t leave your Lucky bamboo in direct sunlight as it will scorch the leaves. If you struggle to find a proper spot in your house to find suitable light, consider purchasing a grow light. We recommend the Vita™ Grow Bulb, the most versatile fixture in our catalog and perfect for smaller spaces such as desktops and windowsills, places where you may place a decorative element such as a lucky bamboo plant.

Water

Your watering cycle is going to depend on what you keep your Lucky bamboo in. If you keep it in soil, you will want to make sure the soil stays damp. If you let the soil dry out the leaves will yellow and if you over water the soil you will cause root rot. If you choose to keep your bamboo in a hydroponic system with gravel pebbles or other substrates, you just have to ensure that the roots are constantly covered in water. Make sure that the water doesn’t lay stagnant for too long, change it about every 10 days to keep it fresh for your Lucky bamboo.

Soil

As previously mentioned, Lucky bamboo can be grown in soil or hydroponically. Hydroponic plants are types of plants that can survive and grow without the need for soil. This is possible through the use of mineral nutrient water solutions. Usually, the plant and its roots are supported in some capacity by pebbles, gravel or other similar substrates. This is an advantageous growing style as you don’t have to use as much water, as well as not needing to buy or change your soil.

If you want to grow your plant in soil, make sure you buy well-draining, rich potting soil.

Environment

Being from moist tropical and warmer climates, it comes as no surprise that the Lucky bamboo prefers temperatures between 70-90 degrees Fahrenheit. Unlike some tropical plants, Lucky bamboo does not need to be in highly humid rooms, an average humidity found in everyday homes will suffice. Be cautious about leaving it near window or door drafts during the colder months. This will prevent the plant from thriving to its fullest extent.

You can of course invest in a humidifier to adjust your interior to suit the needs of your bamboo plant. We recommend the raydrop® Cool Mist Humidifier. The compact size, coupled with its ultra quiet technology, make it the perfect option for every room in your home.

Why Is My Bamboo Plant Turning Yellow?


yellow bamboo

Yellowing of a Lucky bamboo can mean your plant is unhealthy and it is important to learn why sooner rather than later. Source

Lucky bamboo plants can turn yellow due to several reasons. The most common cause is overwatering, leading to root rot, which reduces the plant's ability to absorb nutrients and causes yellowing. Inadequate light, such as insufficient indirect sunlight, can also lead to yellow leaves. On top of this, leaving your plant in direct sunlight for too long will result in some leaf burn. Burnt leaves will need to be trimmed or pruned, to avoid damaging the plant further. Bamboo does not mix well with the chemicals in tap water. If you mist your bamboo plant with tap water or fill its pot with it, the leaves will very likely turn yellow. Use distilled water or rain water to give your plant the best quality of water. Additionally, nutrient deficiencies or poor-quality soil can impact the plant's health, causing yellowing of leaves.

To prevent yellowing, maintain proper watering, provide adequate light, use filtered water, and occasionally fertilize your lucky bamboo to ensure its well-being.

Do I Need To Prune My Lucky Bamboo?

As can be the case with many plants, they will eventually need to be pruned or trimmed to maintain good overall health and shape. The same is true for the Lucky bamboo. This species tends to grow fast, so it can get a bit heavy and busy up top towards the leaves. Too many leaves can make the plant seem unruly, untidy and can lead to unnecessary stress being applied to the stem and roots.

You can prune your Lucky bamboo whenever you feel like it, but much like a haircut, you can always cut more off, you can never put any back on. Be cautious with your pruning tools to not cut off more than you want. We suggest cutting off any growths that are very thin, long or wryly. You can then trim growths with leaves attached to around 1-2 inches from the stem. There are many different ways to go about pruning Lucky bamboo, depending on your desired outcome.

Styling Bamboo

s curve bamboo

Symbolism:

The popularity of Lucky bamboo is not just due to its aesthetic appeal but also its symbolism. In various Asian cultures, the number of stalks and arrangement of the plant carry significant meanings:

Single stalk:

Symbolizes simplicity and a strong, focused life.

Two stalks:

Represents love and a harmonious relationship. It's often given as a wedding or anniversary gift.

Three stalks:

Symbolize happiness, wealth, and longevity.

Four stalks:

Though uncommon due to the superstition around the number four in some Asian cultures, it can represent balance and stability.

Five stalks:

Signify the five elements of Chinese philosophy - earth, water, fire, wood, and metal. It is thought to bring balance and harmony.

Six stalks:

Bring good luck and prosperity.

Seven stalks:

Associated with good health and wealth.

Eight stalks:

The number eight is considered extremely lucky in Chinese culture. It symbolizes wealth and abundance.

Nine stalks:

Represent good fortune and great luck.

Ten or more stalks:

Signify perfection and completeness.

Arrangement:

Lucky bamboo is often arranged in various styles, with each style representing different aspects of life. The most common arrangements include the "S" shape, the "spiral," and the "tower."

Braiding

braided bamboo


One of the special things about the Lucky bamboo plant is that you are able to braid and twist it. Much like the Money Tree, the number and style of braids the plant has signifies a level of luck, success, gratitude and more. In order to braid your Lucky bamboo, you will want to start with thinner stalked plants to ensure they are malleable.

Once they are pruned and planted in a triangular shape, take the left stalk and cross it over the middle one. Bring the middle stalk to the left and then bring the right stalk over the new middle. Repeat this crossing pattern until you run out of plants to braid. Tie the tops together with a rubber band to ensure they stay braided and wait for them to grow. Once they grow fully, the stalks will strengthen and harden allowing you to remove the ties and let your Lucky bamboo show off its braids. You’ll be able to purchase Lucky bamboo in local plant stores or online at places like Amazon.

Getting Started with Lucky Bamboo

Choosing the Right Container:

bowl bamboo

When starting with Lucky bamboo, you'll need to select an appropriate container. Clear glass vases are popular choices as they allow you to see the roots and create an elegant look. Ensure that the container is clean and free from any residue.

Planting Your Lucky Bamboo:

Positioning the Stalks:

Gently remove the plant from its original container and examine the stalks. Position them as desired, keeping in mind the symbolism mentioned earlier.

Adding Water:

Fill the chosen container with enough water to submerge the roots, but leave a small portion of the stalks exposed above the waterline.

Support:

Use decorative stones, glass marbles, or small pebbles to support the plant and hold it in place. These also add aesthetic appeal to your arrangement.

Placement:

Since Lucky bamboo prefers indirect sunlight, it is best practice to place your container in a location with bright, filtered light. Avoid direct sunlight, as it can scorch the leaves.

Conclusion

sprouting bamboo

Lucky bamboo is not only an easy to care for houseplant which will add beauty and life to your home, but it is a plant which will allow you to get creative with new techniques including braiding and pruning. Introduce this beautiful symbol of good fortune into your life and watch as it adds to your day to day experience in a multitude of ways!