The History of Lucky Bamboo


Lucky bamboo is the name of a very hearty plant that is known scientifically as Dracaena sanderiana. The plant is part of the Dracaena genus. Other common names for lucky bamboo include Belgian evergreen, ribbon dracaena and ribbon plant. The plants originate in the West African nation of Cameroon, and are commonly used as decorative plants. Although they are known as bamboo, they are not related to the perennial evergreen group of bamboo, and are not from Asia.


Although the plant has for centuries been called lucky bamboo, in all actuality it is not a type of bamboo at all. Lucky bamboo is actually part of the Lily family, and for years has appeared in tropical and dark rainforests of Africa as well as southeastern Asia.


Lucky bamboo has historically been linked to feng shui, which is a popular ancient Chinese nature philosophy. Feng shui translates directly as "wind water." The discipline involves the harmony and balance of the elements of earth, fire, water, metal and wood. Lucky bamboo is considered to be an example of the flourishing elements of water and wood. Red ribbons are often tied around the stalks of lucky bamboo, which is intended to symbolize fire and its positive energy "chi" flow in the surrounding area.


In recent years, lucky bamboo has become increasingly popular as a decorative and ornamental plant. The stalks of lucky bamboo are curled in order to create an attractive plant that often appears in homes and offices. The stalks can be curled to create many different, diverse shapes, such as pyramids, towers and pineapples.


Historically, lucky bamboo has commonly been grown indoors. The plants require regular watering, although it is important to not overwater lucky bamboo. Lucky bamboo can be propagated via cuttings of woody stems. The plants thrive in partial shade to full sun, and bloom towards the end of the autumn or in the beginning of the winter. Mildly acidic soil is preferable.


Curling is a relatively new development in the history of lucky bamboo. Curling of the plant is a process that can take quite some time. For a single curl, it can take about a year and a half to complete. This process can be conducted covering three different sides, with one side receiving exposure to light. Lucky bamboo will grow naturally in the direction of the light.

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About this Author

Isabel Prontes is a freelance writer and traveler residing in Manhattan, NY. She has traveled to five continents and counting. Her work has appeared on a number of websites, such as Travels, and "Happy Living Magazine." Prontes has a professional background in public relations; she received a bachelor's degree in communication studies from Pace University.