When you think of growing bamboo in water, you immediately think of lucky bamboo plants that are planted in small containers and kept indoors as a decorative feature. However, lucky bamboo (Dracaena) isn't a bamboo. It's actually part of the lily family, native to tropical rain forests in Africa and Asia. Nonetheless, lucky bamboo has had its name for centuries and is widely used as a feng shui accessory. It represents success, strength, fortitude and luck. Lucky bamboo is hardy and can grow quite well in nothing but water.
Look for a lucky bamboo with healthy foliage that is bright green. Stay away from plants with bruising, yellow leaves or brown or yellow spots on the tips of the leaves.
Choose a planting container that is wide but shallow. Lucky bamboo plants need only a few inches of water to thrive.
Hold the lucky bamboo plants upright, with their roots touching the base of the container. Fill in around the plants with stones or decorative pebbles. The plants should stand upright on their own.
Fill the container with enough water to cover the pebbles or stones with 1 to 2 inches to spare. Use rain water or filtered water. The plants do not do well with chemicals, so avoid water with fluoride or chlorine. If you cannot filter your tap water, fill a container with some the day before planting the lucky bamboo. Let it sit for about 24 hours uncovered so the chemicals can disperse.
Place the lucky bamboo in a location that gets indirect light. It grows in nature in the thick shade of the rain forest, so a moderate amount of light is all it needs. A sun-filled windowsill is too bright. If you want to keep it in a room with no light, that's fine; just move it to a bright location every few weeks for three to four days.
Add water to the lucky bamboo when the water level drops to half full. This will be roughly once a week. Empty the water from the container and refill with fresh filtered water.
Fertilize the lucky bamboo and move it toward a light source if it starts to get pale or spindly. Use a couple of drops of diluted aquarium plant food. Plants that turn yellow when they are purchased indicate too much fertilizer, so empty out the water and refill with clean, filtered water.