How to Care for Chinese Lucky Canes


Chinese lucky canes are often called "lucky bamboo," although the plant is not a bamboo at all. The plant is a Dracaena sanderana, which is smaller than many other dracaena plants, growing to only 3 feet tall. The canes (stems) of the plant are stripped of their leaves, except for those on top, giving them an appearance similar to bamboo. Native to West Africa and called "fu lu soh" in Chinese, the plant is traditionally thought to bring good luck to the one who owns it, according to information published by the University of Arkansas. Hardy and pretty, Chinese lucky canes will thrive with proper care.

Step 1

Place your plant in a location with bright but indirect sunlight, as suggested by Plant Care. A window facing the gentler rays of morning sun, or one filtered by a curtain, works well. Too much light will cause the leaves to yellow.

Step 2

Change the water in the pot once a week, but do not use tap water as it may be high in fluoride. Use distilled water or rainwater instead. Although many Chinese lucky canes are sold growing in water, these plants will eventually need to be planted in a high-quality potting soil that is well draining and rich in organic matter. Still, they can last up to a year growing in just water if fertilized with diluted houseplant fertilizer once every two months or so, according to the University of Arkansas.

Step 3

Monitor the plant for spider mites. Wash off the leaves as soon as you notice any mites.

Step 4

Keep the temperatures consistently warm (between 65 to 85 degrees F.) and do not place your Chinese lucky cane plant near any hot or cold drafts.

Step 5

Prune the canes back to their original purchased height when the plant becomes "leggy" or leaves become ragged. Strip the leaves from the bottom part of the stems, but let the top ones grow to achieve a bamboo look.

Things You'll Need

  • Rainwater or distilled water
  • Potting soil rich in organic materials
  • Liquid houseplant fertilizer
  • Pruning tools


  • University of Arkansas: Lucky Bamboo
  • Plant Care: Belgian Evergreen, Lucky Bamboo
Keywords: Chinese lucky canes, growing lucky bamboo, Dracaena sanderana care

About this Author

April Sanders has been a professional writer since 1998. Previously, she worked as an educator and currently writes academic research content for EBSCO publishing and elementary reading curriculum for Compass Publishing. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in social psychology from the University of Washington and a master's degree in information sciences and technology in education from Mansfield University.