Comprehensive Guide to Growing and Caring for Lucky Bamboo Indoors

  • By: admin
  • Date: July 11, 2023
  • Time to read: 6 min.
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Girl spraying water in her lucky bamboo plant.

Welcome to our comprehensive guide on growing and caring for lucky bamboo (Dracaena sanderiana) indoors. In this article, we will provide you with all the information you need to successfully cultivate and shape this unique and beneficial plant. Whether you’re a novice gardener or an experienced plant enthusiast, we’ve got you covered. Let’s dive in and discover how to make your lucky bamboo thrive in your home.

Chinese Traditions and Symbolism of Lucky Bamboo

Lucky bamboo holds significant cultural symbolism in Chinese traditions. The number of stalks in a lucky bamboo arrangement is believed to bring different kinds of luck and blessings. Here are some popular associations:

  • Two stalks symbolize love.
  • Three stalks represent Fu (happiness), Lu (wealth), and Soh (long life).
  • Five stalks symbolize balance, peace, harmony, and power in all areas of life.
  • Six stalks represent good luck and wealth.
  • Seven stalks symbolize good health.
  • Eight stalks represent growth.
  • Nine stalks represent great luck.
  • Ten stalks represent perfection.
  • Twenty-one stalks symbolize a powerful blessing.

It’s important to note that traditional lucky bamboo arrangements never include four stalks. In Chinese culture, the number four sounds similar to the word for “death,” so gifting four bamboo stalks would be considered extremely rude.

Lucky Bamboo: Not Actually Bamboo

Contrary to its name, lucky bamboo is not a true bamboo plant. It may resemble bamboo with its fast growth and intricate shapes, but it belongs to the Dracaena family and is actually a succulent plant. This makes it an excellent choice for those seeking an easy-to-care-for and resilient indoor plant. However, it’s important to note that lucky bamboo is toxic to cats and dogs, so precautions should be taken to keep pets away from it.

Growing Conditions and Care for Lucky Bamboo

Lucky Bamboo Lucky Bamboo Plant. Small bamboo in the pot.  Lucky Bamboo  stock pictures, royalty-free photos & images

Light Requirements

Lucky bamboo thrives in bright, filtered sunlight, mimicking the conditions found under a rainforest canopy. It’s best to avoid direct sunlight, as it can scorch the leaves. Lucky bamboo is more tolerant of low light conditions than excessive light. If you notice the plant stretching or the green color fading, it’s a sign that it needs more light. Rotate your plant regularly to ensure even light distribution.

Soil and Watering

Lucky bamboo can be grown in well-drained, nutrient-rich potting soil. Alternatively, it can be grown in water with the addition of pebbles or simply in a vase filled with at least an inch of standing water. When using water, it’s crucial to avoid chlorine and other chemicals commonly found in tap water. Using bottled or distilled water is recommended, or you can let tap water sit for 24 hours to allow the chlorine to evaporate.

For water-grown lucky bamboo, change the water weekly to prevent diseases and unpleasant odors. Ensure that the roots are always fully submerged in water, adding a small amount every two to seven days as needed. Completely change the water every two to three months or more frequently if you notice a foul odor.

Temperature and Humidity

Lucky bamboo prefers temperatures between 65°F and 90°F (18°C to 32°C). It’s important to keep the plant away from drafts, such as those from air conditioners, heating vents, or windows. Average room humidity levels are generally sufficient for lucky bamboo, so there’s no need to increase humidity artificially.


Lucky bamboo is a relatively low-maintenance plant when it comes to fertilization. Applying a single drop of liquid fertilizer once a month is usually sufficient for most lucky bamboo arrangements. Alternatively, you can opt for specialty lucky bamboo fertilizers available in the market. If your plant is grown in water, it will require feeding with a very weak liquid fertilizer every other month.

Pruning and Shaping

Lucky Bamboo Lucky Bamboo Plant. Small bamboo in the pot.  Lucky Bamboo  stock pictures, royalty-free photos & images

Pruning is essential for maintaining the health and aesthetic appeal of lucky bamboo. Unlike bonsai trees, lucky bamboo is not pruned using wires and intricate techniques. Instead, pruning focuses on removing offshoots and trimming to control the plant’s form and prevent it from becoming top-heavy. Avoid cutting the main stalk and instead use sterile snippers to remove offshoots, trimming them back to within an inch or two of the main stem. This encourages bushier growth and discourages new shoots.

Shaping lucky bamboo is achieved through a natural process known as phototropism. By rotating the plant stalks regularly in front of a light source, you can guide its growth in a desired direction. Professionals often grow stalks on their sides to create beautiful spiraling shapes, but this process requires patience, time, and careful observation.

Propagating Lucky Bamboo

Propagating lucky bamboo is a rewarding way to create new plants for yourself or to share as auspicious gifts. It’s important to note that propagated lucky bamboo won’t have the same shaped foliage as commercially purchased plants. Here’s a simple step-by-step guide to propagating lucky bamboo:

  1. Take a stem cutting from the main stalk using sterile, sharp cutting shears. Ensure that the cutting has at least one leaf joint and trim the leaves to expose the growth nodes.
  2. Place the bare cutting in a container filled with distilled water, ensuring that the bottom of the cutting is fully submerged.
  3. Keep the water clean and fresh, observing the emergence of red roots, which should occur within approximately 30 days.
  4. Once the roots have developed, transfer the cutting to a decorative vase with water and pebbles or a pot with well-draining soil.

Potting and Repotting Lucky Bamboo

Dracaena Dracaena sanderiana  Lucky Bamboo  Lucky Bamboo  stock pictures, royalty-free photos & images

If your lucky bamboo has outgrown its current container or requires repotting, follow these simple steps for a successful transition:

  1. Select a clean container that is slightly larger than the current one.
  2. If your lucky bamboo is grown in a pot of pebbles, carefully dig up the plant, clean the pebbles, and place them in the new container.
  3. Nestle the roots within the pebbles, ensuring that they are adequately covered and supported.
  4. If your bamboo is grown in water without pebbles, remove the stalks from the water, place them in a larger container, and refill the water to the same level.

Common Pests and Problems

Lucky bamboo, like many indoor plants, can be susceptible to certain insect pests. Keep an eye out for the following pests and take appropriate measures to address them:

  • White mealybugs
  • Green aphids
  • Spider mites

Manual removal of pests, using natural remedies, or employing insecticidal soaps can effectively control these infestations. Regularly inspect the plant for signs of pests, such as discolored leaves or webbing, and take prompt action to prevent further damage.

Lucky bamboo may also encounter some common problems. Here are a few issues to be aware of and how to address them:

  • Browning leaf tips: High levels of chlorine or additives in the water can cause leaf tips to turn brown. Remove affected leaves with sterile scissors and change the water regularly to prevent bacterial growth.
  • Black roots: Black roots indicate various issues, such as poor water quality or root rot. Immediately trim the black roots using clean snips and replace the water with fresh, clean water.
  • Algae growth: Algae growth is often observed in clear vases due to light penetration. Clean the vase thoroughly and consider switching to an opaque container to prevent algae growth.
  • Yellow leaves: Yellowing leaves indicate excessive sunlight or over-fertilization. Move the plant to a shadier location and reduce or eliminate fertilizer use.
  • Brown leaves: Dry air or polluted water can cause brown leaves. Increase humidity levels by regularly misting the plant and ensure you’re using high-quality water.
  • Mushy stalks: Rotting or mushy stalks indicate severe damage. Remove affected stalks immediately to prevent further spread of decay. Replace the water and stones if necessary.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: Is lucky bamboo a good indoor plant?
A: Yes, lucky bamboo is an excellent choice for indoor cultivation. It can also be grown outdoors, but indoors is generally more conducive to its growth, providing the plant with warm temperatures and protection from harsh sunlight.

Q: How long does lucky bamboo live?
A: Lucky bamboo has a typical lifespan of one to two years. However, with proper care and by transferring it to a pot with soil, it can live for several additional years.

Q: Where should I place lucky bamboo in my home?
A: According to feng shui principles, placing lucky bamboo in different areas of your home can attract specific types of luck. For example, placing it on your desk promotes career growth, in the entryway signifies new beginnings, in the bedroom fosters harmonious relationships, and in the wealth area of a room (far left corner from the doorway) invites financial abundance.

In conclusion, lucky bamboo is a fascinating and versatile plant that adds beauty and positive energy to any indoor space. By following the care guidelines provided in this comprehensive guide, you can ensure the well-being and longevity of your lucky bamboo. Remember to consider the cultural symbolism associated with lucky bamboo when selecting and arranging your stalks. Enjoy the benefits of this auspicious plant and may good fortune follow you wherever it grows.

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