Lucky bamboo plant placed outside

Can I Put My Lucky Bamboo Outside?

Bamboo is an incredibly hardy and prolific outdoor plant, so lucky bamboo should be easy to grow outside too, right? Not necessarily! Since lucky bamboo (Dracaena sanderiana) is not a true bamboo, it requires different environmental conditions. That said, it is possible to grow lucky bamboo outdoors in the right conditions.

You can grow lucky bamboo outside in almost any USDA zone, as long as you can bring it inside when temperatures drop below 50°F. If you live in a tropical climate, such as Hawaii or Southern Florida, you can grow lucky bamboo outside year round! Regardless of your climate, with the proper precautions your lucky bamboo can benefit from growing outside, even if only for a few months out of the year.

Putting your lucky bamboo outside is a great way to take advantage of sunlight and brighten up your garden. However, there are also some risks that you might not be aware of, including cold and pests. To make sure your lucky bamboo thrives during its time spent outside, it’s important to understand these risk factors and its ideal growing conditions, which we explore in more detail below.

Where does lucky bamboo grow naturally?

Lucky bamboo plants growing outside with strong green stalks tied together in arrangement

Despite being a prominent symbol in Chinese culture and Feng Shui, lucky bamboo is not native to China but rather to West Central Tropical Africa and Northeast Angola. It’s likely that lucky bamboo became so important in Chinese culture because of its resemblance to true bamboo, and the fact that it’s easier to grow inside by virtue of being significantly smaller.

Lucky bamboo’s native tropical climate is defined by warm temperatures, high humidity, and plentiful rainfall. Growing no more than 4-5 ft tall, lucky bamboo grows along the understory of tropical forests, receiving dappled light that filters through the tree canopy.

Understanding lucky bamboo’s native growing conditions can help us grow bigger and healthier plants at home. As tropical plants, they will not survive cold, North American winters. By contrast, there are many species of true bamboo that are cold-hardy. Over time, lucky bamboo has adapted to typical household conditions and is considered a hardy houseplant, but they truly shine when grown in tropical conditions.

Ideal growing conditions for lucky bamboo

Not everyone lives in a tropical environment, where lucky bamboo can be grown outside year-round. But even in cold or dry environments, you can grow lucky bamboo outside for part of the year. Instead of leaving it outside year-round, you bring your lucky bamboo outside during the summer when temperatures are consistently warm.

Various lush lucky bamboo plants grown outside

When temperatures cool off below 50°F, simply bring your lucky bamboo indoors to keep it protected. Likewise, you can mimic the humidity of its natural environment by placing your lucky bamboo near other plants and misting them regularly. As long as this process is done correctly, your lucky bamboo will surely benefit from its time outside.

Warm temperature and indirect sunlight

Lucky bamboo grows best when the temperature is between 65°F and 90°F. Hot and dry climates may cause your lucky bamboo to burn, so be sure to protect it from extreme heat by placing it in a partially shaded spot.

While light is important, too much of a good thing can be bad. Recall that lucky bamboo grows natively under a rainforest canopy, which translates to bright indirect light, or roughly 200 Foot Candles of light. If you don’t have a light meter to check your light conditions, a partially shaded location should work well.

Humidity boost

Depending on your location, your outdoor environment may have better humidity than inside your home during the summer. That’s because many people run air conditioners, which dry out the air.

While lucky bamboo does not necessarily need high humidity to survive, it will certainly appreciate it. You can artificially increase the humidity around your lucky bamboo by placing it near other plants and misting them regularly with a hose.

Risks when growing lucky bamboo outdoors

If you live in a tropical climate, you can grow your lucky bamboo outdoors for all or at least part of the year with relatively few issues. But no matter your growing conditions, you’ll need to take care to avoid a few risk factors for your lucky bamboo:

Cold damage

Cold damage is the biggest concern when putting your lucky bamboo outdoors. Sometimes called “chilling injury,” cold damage occurs when your lucky bamboo plant spends a period of time at frigid temperatures, resulting in permanent damage to the plant.

Dry leaves on lucky bamboo, likely due to cold damage or sunburn when lucky bamboo was put outside

The tricky part about cold damage is that sometimes symptoms will not surface until two weeks after the exposure. This is because the cold damage starts internally and spreads through the plant before external symptoms appear. Signs of cold damage include “chlorotic bands” on the stems and bleached or pale green leaves.

Prevent cold damage by keeping an eye on temperatures (especially nighttime temperatures) and moving your lucky bamboo inside if the temperature is expected to drop to 50°F or below!


While lucky bamboo can tolerate 3-4 hours of direct sunlight daily, too much sunlight can burn the foliage. This type of damage is generally less life-threatening than cold damage, but it can cause leaf yellowing or browning, causing it to look very unhappy. In some cases, the leaf tips dry out and die back.

Lucky bamboo can usually recover from sunburn, but depending on the severity of the damage to leaves, its ability to photosynthesize may be impacted. Therefore, it’s important to try and prevent sunburn by providing your lucky bamboo with enough shade.

Exposure to other elements like wind and rain

Even if you’re only keeping your lucky bamboo outdoors during the summer months, you’ll want to ensure that it’s reasonably protected from the elements, including strong wind gusts and extreme rain events. While your lucky bamboo will benefit from sunshine and warm temperatures, summer weather can also mean heavy rain and wind. In some climates, fire is also a big concern.

You’ll want to have a plan for your lucky bamboo when adverse weather is in the forecast to ensure that the stems and leaves aren’t damaged. Severe damage to your plant can send it into shock, causing it to die back.

Water problems

Keeping plants outdoors can mean unpredictable watering, especially if you rely solely on mother nature to water your lucky bamboo. Lucky bamboo prefers consistently moist soil, so you may run into overwatering or underwatering trouble if there is a week with consistent rainfall or long periods of drought.

On the other hand, if your lucky bamboo is grown in water, you should be mindful of algae forming in your growing container. Algae need sunlight to grow, so while it may not be a big problem indoors, it can proliferate outside. You can prevent the buildup of algae by using an opaque container rather than a clear one and changing out the water regularly.

If you place your lucky bamboo outdoors and it is planted in water, you’ll also want to be mindful of water temperature. Extreme heat can cause the water to heat up and potentially damage the roots. You can avoid this by giving your lucky bamboo a more shady spot and regularly refreshing the water.


When put outdoors, your lucky bamboo is not only exposed to mother nature but also to a variety of pests. By contrast, houseplants are in a more controlled environment and rarely experience problems with pests.

Outside, your lucky bamboo may become home to spider mites or scale. It’s important to watch your outdoor lucky bamboo to catch any pests before they completely infest your plant and cause severe damage.


Many people may not know this, but Dracaena plants are toxic to dogs and cats. If you’re planning to keep your lucky bamboo outdoors, make sure your plant is out of reach of curious dogs or cats. If you suspect that a pet has consumed lucky bamboo, call your vet as soon as possible.

How to grow lucky bamboo outdoors

Even though it’s most often grown as a houseplant, lucky bamboo can be a great outdoor plant, too. In the right conditions, it can benefit from increased exposure to light (but not too much). Plus, it will be sure to add a bright splash of color to your garden or patio, along with good fortune.

So how do you ensure that your lucky bamboo thrives during its time outside?

Lucky bamboo plant outdoors in a white glass pot with a text below: Can I put my lucky bamboo outside?

Grow your lucky bamboo in containers

First, avoid planting lucky bamboo directly in the soil unless you live in a tropical climate. In most cases, it’s best to keep your lucky bamboo in containers, either in soil or water. Growing your lucky bamboo in containers will also give you more flexibility to bring it inside during inclement weather.

Location is key

Place your lucky bamboo outside in a location that gets at least partial shade with protection from wind and excessive rain. If possible, try to keep your lucky bamboo a few feet away from pest-prone plants to prevent an infestation.

Introduce sunlight gradually

There’s a massive difference between your indoor environment and the great outdoors, and such a drastic transition might result in some environmental shock or sunburn. To avoid this, expose your lucky bamboo to more sunlight gradually. Bring it outdoors for a couple of hours each day and gradually extend that time. This is a process known as hardening off.

Bring your lucky bamboo inside in the fall

Before the temperature drops in the fall, bring your lucky bamboo back inside. Slowly transition your lucky bamboo to your indoor environment as you did when bringing it outdoors at the start of the season. The timing of this may vary depending on where you live, but make sure to transition your lucky bamboo indoors before temperatures fall below 50°F to avoid any cold damage.

Pest treatment

Before bringing your lucky bamboo indoors, especially around other indoor houseplants, treat your lucky bamboo for pests. Even if you don’t see visible pests, treat them at least once before bringing them indoors to reduce or eliminate any larvae or eggs in the soil or under the leaves. It’s also good practice to isolate any plants from your other houseplants indoors for 4-6 weeks to ensure that any potential pests don’t spread to the rest of your houseplants.

FAQ about lucky bamboo

Where is the best place to put lucky bamboo?

The best outdoor spot for lucky bamboo is one that is partially shaded. If possible, choose a location that receives the morning sun rather than the afternoon sun, which tends to be harsher. The spot should also have some protection from wind and heavy rain unless you can stay on top of moving your lucky bamboo around when adverse weather is in the forecast.

When can I bring my lucky bamboo outdoors?

You can put your lucky bamboo outdoors when temperatures are consistently above 50°F, but ideally, they should be around 65°F. This includes during the evenings and nights. The exact timing can vary year-to-year, depending on the weather and where you are located.

Is it better to keep lucky bamboo in soil or water outdoors?

Both have pros and cons, so it depends on what type of plant care works best for you. With soil, you will have to check the soil to ensure that it is evenly moist and protect your lucky bamboo from prolonged rain events, which can result in overwatering and root rot, as well as drought.

On the other hand, if you keep your lucky bamboo in water, you will have to check to make sure that the water levels haven’t risen above the roots (which can result in stem rot) or dropped too low. Additionally, you’ll need to change the water regularly and make sure that the water temperature isn’t too warm or cold.

Have you had success growing your lucky bamboo outside? What challenges did you encounter? Let us know below!
Woman (Natalie) and man (James) in front of bamboo
About the Author: Natalie Schneider

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