Lucky bamboo is not real bamboo but a bamboo-like plant. Many people mistake it for bamboo, though.
What is Lucky Bamboo?
Perhaps the most popular “bamboo” out there. Lucky bamboo is enjoyed throughout the world as a houseplant or feng shui cure. In fact, most nurseries, florist shops, and garden departments carry it. It can be bought in various designs and fancy planters which can fit into any home.
Lucky Bamboo or Dracaena sanderiana is actually not bamboo at all! But hey, let’s not disrespect it. It’s a beautiful, exotic plant related to a species of trees and succulent shrubs. Most lucky bamboo comes from China or Taiwan. It’s shipped to the US (or Europe or Australia or wherever) and sold at many stores such as Home Depot and Lowes.
Where to buy Lucky Bamboo?
As mentioned above it is possible to buy lucky bamboo at many local stores from Lowes to Walmart.
Tip: When buying plants at department-type stores it is important to make sure that you get a healthy plant! Lucky bamboo should be a deep or light green with healthy looking leaves and a dark orange (and potentially white) roots.
Another place to buy lucky bamboo is at your local flower shop. These plants will often be healthy and the owners of such shops will be more knowledgeable as to the plant care guidelines than garden department workers at other stores.
If you can’t find plants locally you can always check out amazon. I have yet to order plants from them, but several have good reviews, and in the right hands they should be able to be saved!
Planting and Caring for Lucky Bamboo
Like “real” bamboo, lucky bamboo is relatively easy to take care of. To start with, when you bring it home from the store you’re going to need to make sure that it is rooted well. The best way to do this is in water, which most plants come in. But, if your plant came in soil, take it out gently and place it in bottled or filtered (chlorine and fluoride free) water.
Money Saving Tip: Using tap water is okay if you set it out for a minimum of 24 hours first!
If your plant came in water make sure that the water is clear! Cloudy or “foggy” water is a sign that there is bacteria in the water that can (and will eventually) attack your plant. You will also want to make sure that the plant roots are healthy. In many cases you can (and should) be able to check this before you buy the plant.
What does a healthy root look like? A healthy root should be a dark orange color. White can also be indicative of new roots (which is a good thing!). After the plant has time to establish some roots (at least a few weeks) then it is time to plant it in a pot where it can grow happily. Leaving it in water too long will actually inhibit its growth potential.
To plant your lucky bamboo you can use most common planting soils. I use this but if you chose to use something else remember that lucky bamboo typically prefers sandy soils. You will also need a pot. Sometimes the lucky bamboo will come with a pot that you can re-utilize. If this is the case, awesome. If not, simply pick up pot (glass or metal if you are interested in Feng Shui) WITHOUT water draining holes. The reason for this is that lucky bamboo naturally grows in the rainforest where the soil remains very moist most of the time. Now simply pour some soil into the bottom of the pot and place your plant gently into the pot. Fill with soil and water the plant until the water is up to the top of the roots. Basically, you should be able to stick your finger into the soil and it should feel moist-not soggy, but moist.
Tip: It’s important to make the plant believe that it’s in a humid place. So, spritzing it with water ever couple of days can keep the plant healthy!
Sunlight: Place your pot in a window where it will receive streaming light. Also make sure the plant is in a moderately warm space. Room temperature works great.
Sunlight tip: Think of how the plant would get light in a forest. Just minimal amounts filtered by trees. This is how much your plant should get in your house too!
Fertilizer: Lucky bamboo doesn’t need a lot of fertilizer. Yellow bamboo stalk can actually signify that the plant has been over-fertilized. There are a couple different fertilizers specifically for lucky bamboo and they come with their own instructions. But, a good rule of thumb is to fertilize once a month at most. If you see a yellowing of the stalk cut back to ever-other month.
Lucky Bamboo Feng Shui
Lucky bamboo is used world-wide to promote Feng Shui in the household. By itself it promotes three of the elements including water, wood and earth. The right pot and a red ribbon can add the two other elements, fire and metal. Lucky bamboo is said to attract chi energy due to its strength and vitality.
In Chinese, lucky bamboo is known as Fu Gwey Zhu.
Fu: Luck, fortune
Gwey: Power, honor
Number of stalks?
The type of luck or the blessing upon your household that your house can receive is dependent upon the number of stalks.
The most common is 3 stalks because it brings happiness into the household.