Unlike the name suggests, Lucky Bamboo is not technically a member of the Bamboo family. Instead, it is from the succulent family. Popular in feng shui design, this perennial shrub is native to Africa.
Lucky Bamboo Appearance
What this succulent does have in common with real Bamboo is its fast growth rate. The Lucky Bamboo plant is capable of growing an extra foot in only six months. The stalks can be trained and are often braided. In feng shui design, the number of stalks on a Lucky Bamboo plant has symbolic meaning. For example, two stalks represent love while nine stalks are the symbol for luck. The leaves of the plant are long and slender with pointed tips. Blooming does not occur indoors.
Lucky Bamboo Care: Light Requirements
The Lucky Bamboo plant prefers filtered sunlight which recreates the tree canopy the plant grows under in its natural habitat. Avoid direct sunlight as the foliage will scorch, but too little sunlight will result in a leggy plant. Rotate the plant regularly to ensure even exposure for all sides of the plant.
Watering Your Lucky Bamboo
Lucky Bamboo is sensitive to chlorine and minerals in tap water. Use distilled water if you have hard water, otherwise tap water allowed to sit for 24 hours before use is acceptable. Lucky Bamboo also grows well in only water, without soil. If you opt for this method, change the water as soon as you notice it becoming murky.
Soil and Fertilizer
Proper Lucky Bamboo care suggests growing the plant in well-drained, rich potting soil. Keep the soil moist, but not soggy. For the water-only growing method, place a layer of small pebbles at the bottom of the vase to give the plant’s roots something to anchor to.
Temperature and Humidity Levels
Lucky Bamboo prefers warm temperatures for optimal growth. Keep temperatures between 65 to 90 degrees Fahrenheit (18.8 to 32 Celsius) and avoid placing the plant near both hot or cold drafts. Average household humidity levels are fine and don’t need to be supplemented unless very low.
Pruning Lucky Bamboo
Lucky Bamboo has a tendency to become top heavy as it grows. Do not prune the main stalk of the plant, instead prune offshoots with a pair of sharp and sterile shears. Trim the stems to within one to two inches from the main stem(s). Coat the cut end of the nub in paraffin wax to discourage new growth from that cut, if desired.
Propagating Lucky Bamboo
Propagate Lucky Bamboo from cuttings taken from a mature plant. Choose a stem with at least one leaf joint at the bottom and one to two leaves on top. Place the cutting in a vase with distilled water. Change the water once per week to keep it clean and free of algae and bacteria. Roots will form from the new cutting within 30 days. From there, you can choose to continue to grow the plant in water only or transplant the stem to a pot filled with soil.
Common Pests and Diseases
Pests to watch for include mealy bugs, aphids, and spider mites. If only a few insects are present, wipe them away with a cotton swab soaked in rubbing alcohol. For larger infestations, wash the plant with a mild dish soap solution. Rinse the plant well.
Root rot and leaf mold are diseases that sometimes affect the Lucky Bamboo plant. Root rot is a result of overwatering the plant and the roots sitting in soggy soil. If rot sets in, reduce waterings immediately and trim away any dark, mushy roots. For leaf mold, prune away any affected leaves and give the plant a wash with the same mild soapy solution advised for pests.
Lucky Bamboo is a popular houseplant for its easy care and simplistic look. You can choose to grow the plant in either soil or water, depending on your preference. This fast-growing plant makes an excellent addition to any plant lover’s collection.
Lucky Bamboo FAQ
The Baby Tears Plant will grow outdoors in USDA zones 10 and 11.
Browning tips are often a sign of an adverse reaction to high chlorine used to water the plant. Use distilled water or allow tap water to sit for 24 hours before use to let the chlorine dissipate.
On average, water the plant every seven days or when the surface of the soil feels dry.
Aside from placing the plant in a bathroom or kitchen, placing a tray filled with small pebbles and water under the plant’s saucer works well.
Yes, the Lucky Bamboo plant is considered mildly toxic to pets and should be kept out of their reach as a precautionary measure.