The common name “Lucky Bamboo Plant” really isn’t bamboo, even though it may resemble one.
It actually comes from the Dracaena family and is the species Dracaena sanderiana. It also carries the synonym Dracaena braunii.
This species is naturally found in Central Africa, including Congo, Angola, and Cameroon.
Whatever you want to call this “good luck plant,” it has opened up a whole new way for people afraid of or who carry the “brown thumb” badge with them, along with adding some green with unusual flair to their interior space.
Numerous questions come in concerning the novelty plant – Lucky Bamboo.
There isn’t much on the net dealing directly with the care of this plant. But it can still experience some pest problems, but there is more on the web than you may think.
Lucky Bamboo Quick Care Guide
- Botanical Name: Dracaena sanderiana
- Common Name(s): Lucky Bamboo, Ribbon Dracaena, Belgian Evergreen, Chinese Water Bamboo
- Synonyms: None
- Family & Origin: Asparagaceae family, native to Central Africa
- Growability: Easy to grow, low-maintenance, suitable for beginners
- Grow Zone: USDA zones 10-12 (indoor houseplant for most climates)
- Size: 1′ to 3′ feet in height, with a spread of about 1-2 feet
- Flowering: Rarely flowers indoors
- Light: Bright, indirect sunlight; avoid direct sunlight as it can scorch the leaves
- Humidity: Prefers high humidity; mist leaves or place on a pebble tray with water to increase humidity
- Temperature: Thrives in temperatures between 65° to 90° degrees F (18-32°C)
- Soil: Not required when grown in water; if planting in soil, use a well-draining soil mix with perlite or sand
- Water: Change water every 1-2 weeks when grown in water; if in soil, water when the top 1″ to 2″ inches are dry
- Fertilizer: Use a balanced, water-soluble fertilizer every 4-6 weeks during the growing season; reduce or eliminate fertilization during winter
- Pests & Diseases: Susceptible to spider mites, mealybugs, and scale insects; watch for root rot if over-watered
- Propagation: Cut 4″ to 6″ inches from the top of a healthy stem, remove lower leaves, and place in water or soil to root
- Uses: Decorative indoor plant, considered to bring good luck and positive energy in feng shui practices
The marketing of the “Lucky Bamboo plant” is best described as follows:
- “Grow” as a hydroponic plant (grown in water)
- Keep its roots in water
- Plant inside a decorative container or vase
- Use rock, pebbles, marbles, and polished stones to keep the “bamboo stalk” upright
- Keep water in the bottom
- Do Not use soil, even well-drained soil.
- Relatively pests free
In this article, we’ll delve into how to properly care for your Dracaena Sanderiana at home. Read on to learn more.
How To Care For Dracaena Sanderiana Lucky Bamboo
The best way to describe this one-of-a-kind green interior houseplant care requirement – is minimal.
What Is Required In Lucky Bamboo Care?
- Clean the leaves regularly (all houseplants need that)
- Change the water weekly
- Place in areas with lots of indirect sunlight but without direct sunlight.
- Every month remove the plant from its pot
- Wash the plant and roots off thoroughly
- Ensure the planter has an adequate drainage hole
- Place the “bamboo plant” back in the pot after washing the plant itself and change the water.
- Cut the offshoots to encourage new shoots growth.
Lucky bamboo Dracaena sanderiana is not a large plant like Dracaena Massangeana – the corn plant.
Like many Dracaenas, the harvested luck bamboo canes or stems are cut into much smaller lengths. The tops are waxed off to help stop the entry of fungus or rot.
The indoor plants or canes then combine, creating unique looks. The “Lucky Bamboo” sort of combines the production methods of Dracaena Massangeana and the flexibility of Dracaena marginata.
So what can you do specifically, or what should you be aware of in caring for your Dracaena sanderiana Lucky Bambo?
When grown indoors in dry air, don’t forget to mist the leaves every other day.
It also grows well in partial shade or bright, indirect light when grown outdoors in containers. Avoid direct sun because exposure to it can burn its foliage.
If you’re planting in quality houseplant potting soil, ensure to add some perlite.
Related: Lucky Bamboo is one of the Best Plants for the Bathroom.
Beware Of Fluoride Problems
Here are the tips for growing bamboo in water.
Right off the bat, we know that many Dracaenas experience fluoride problems, and where do most of the fluoride problems come from?
Our water? We use good clean, pure water and try to stay away from the tap water. I like to use distilled water, bottled water, or rainwater.
If you plan to use tap water to let it sit out overnight to allow the chlorine to evaporate, it won’t remove the fluoride, but the chlorine can also damage the plants.
Chlorine-free water is the best way to ensure your Dracaena plant thrives.
If you notice any brown leaf tips, then it’s likely due to the chemicals in the water.
Related: More on Dracaena Fluoride Toxicity
Most of the care recommends changing the water every 3-7 days, so you can see good water is important for these plants to do well.
Next, we know that high salts are yellow leaves, burned leaf tips, and brown edges of Dracaena sanderiana plants.
Most of our salt build-ups come from adding water-soluble houseplant fertilizers to the water. You’ll also find salts in your city water.
It’s probably best not to fertilize Lucky Bamboo or Dracaena plants at all.
Again you see the importance of a good clean water source.
From all my growing experience and observations, the “Lucky Bamboo” does best in good indirect light but not direct sun. Too much light will make the plant light green or yellow.
Remember, it’s a novelty plant, not a 6′ foot tall specimen, and it doesn’t have the same demands.
How about when the house plant grows too much, and you want to take a cutting or cut the stems?
Handle it just like how you’re growing your “Lucky Bamboo.” Make sure to use sharp, sterilized scissors, pruning shears, or any cutting tool, and cut in a leafy stem above a growth node.
Place the new cutting in a small pot with some rock and keep it moist until roots appear.
There are claims that the “Lucky Bamboo” can live for years, and I don’t doubt it. Just about any plant can be enjoyed for years with proper care.
Just in case you’re wondering if Happy Bamboo is that different from the more familiar and commercially grown Dracaenas.
Other than being a different variety and grown or presented unusually… NO. You’ll find Dracaena massangeana marketed similarly as… “Lucky Tree Logs.”
It’s really no different. Most Dracaenas could be produced in this same way. Size is the real issue.
Lucky Bamboo Arrangement – Stalks And Canes Has Meaning
The number of cane stalks and the size of the plants in an arrangement is not left to chance.
The number of stairs the lucky bamboo plants form brings unique meanings and good fortune according to Feng Shui:
- Three stairs bring happiness, health, and a long life
- Five stairs stimulate the 5th element of life
- Six stairs bring health
- Eight Stairs bring development and prosperity
- Ten stairs symbolize perfection and fulfillment
- Twenty-one stairs bring a powerful blessing
They make a wonderful gift for a home or office. Everyone loves the unusual look combined with easy care and long-lasting display.