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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.
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.
Dracaena contains within it, about 120 species of trees and succulents. For the most part, these are simple plants to care for. They are resilient and don’t mind changing conditions. That being said you still will need to properly care for your Lucky Bamboo if you want it to properly thrive.
How Do I Care For A Bamboo Plant?
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 or two.
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.
As previously mentioned, Lucky Bamboo can be grown in soil or hydroponic. 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. Normally, local garden centers will sell that type of soil. Also, places like Lowes, will sell a good amount of soil for a good price.
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.
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.
Why Is My Bamboo Plant Turning Yellow?
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.
On top of this, leaving it 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. There are a variety of reasons as to why your plant leaves turn yellow, as can be seen in this blog from Soltech Solutions: 8 Simple Reasons Why Indoor Plant Leaves Turn Yellow, and How To Fix It.
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. Check out Pruning 101 for tips on how to prune plants, and what tools are best to use.