Related to lawn grasses, bamboo plants reach mature sizes between a few inches tall and about 100 feet tall. Lucky bamboo plants (Dracaena sanderana) make interesting and attractive houseplants, but do not really belong to the bamboo family. Lucky bamboo plants closely resemble true bamboo, but they are actually members of the lily family. Some people believe these plants increase the good fortune of their owners and often use them in feng shui designs and decorating techniques. Although these plants often grow in soil, they perform nicely in containers of water.
Place your new lucky bamboo plant in a shallow, clear container, such as a bowl or dish that doesn’t leak. Hold it vertically, allowing the bottom of the cane to rest against the bottom surface of the bowl. Gently fill in the space around the cane with clean gravel or colored marbles until they reach a level slightly below the rim of the container.
Pour non-chlorinated water into the container until it appears near the surface of your gravel or marbles. Use chlorinated tap water by filling a bowl with water and allowing it to sit uncovered for at least 24 hours. This allows sufficient time for the chlorine to dissipate into the air before applying the water to your lucky bamboo.
Set your lucky bamboo in a slightly shady area or a bright area without exposure to direct sunlight. Intense sunlight can damage it. Keep your plant out of drafts and away from air conditioning and heating ducts.
Apply more non-chlorinated water as the water evaporates from the container. Keep the water near the upper surface of your gravel or marbles. Replace the standing water with fresh water at least once each month to eliminate mold and fungus. Add a drop or two of aquarium water treatment to the fresh water.
Feed your lucky bamboo plant a diluted solution of houseplant food once or twice during the warm summer months. Select a liquid plant food formulated for use with houseplants and mix about half of the amount recommended for other types of plants. Add this to the water in your container to provide necessary nutrients. These plants require very little plant food to flourish. Too much plant food may cause yellowing of the leaves.