A tropical plant native to Southeast Asia and west tropical Africa, curly bamboo is actually not true bamboo. In fact, the plant belongs to the Dracaena family and goes by many different names including lucky bamboo, ribbon plant and water bamboo. As the plant ages, it develops long, bamboo-like stems with leaves at the top. Growers cut older stems and manipulate them to grow in different directions, which causes the twisted effect that makes these plants so interesting. Individuals may replicate this process at home, though it takes several years to yield results. Curly bamboo requires very little care to thrive, which also contributes to its popularity, and the plant will survive for many years with almost no attention.
Plant curly bamboo in a vase filled halfway with distilled, room-temperature water. Keep in bright, indirect sunlight and maintain a temperature of 65 to 75 degrees Fahrenheit at all times for optimal growth.
Change the water in the vase once every two to three weeks, or whenever it is visibly dirty or discolored. Pour out the old water and add fresh, distilled, room-temperature water to avoid shocking the plant. Never use hot or cold water.
Add small pebbles to the vase to provide support for the curly bamboo plant. Pour pebbles into the vase until the plant stands up on its own. Wash the pebbles thoroughly whenever the water is changed to prevent bacterial growth that could damage the plant.
Feed curly bamboo once every one to two months throughout the year with a single drop of liquid houseplant fertilizer to boost growth and foliage production. Apply fertilizer after changing the water for the best results.
Manipulate the growth habit of curly bamboo by blocking three sides of the plant from light and placing a bright light source on the fourth side. The curly bamboo will begin to grow towards the light source. Rotate the light source to a different side, and the plant will change direction to follow the light.