Lucky bamboo is a tropical plant believed to originate from the rain forests of central Africa. Despite its appearance, it is not bamboo but a type of lily known botanically as Dracaena sanderiana. It is a popular house plant in North Carolina and elsewhere but can only survive outdoors in true tropical climates. Even as an indoor plant it should never be placed near a window or door where there is a draft. In Southeast Asia the plant is believed to bring luck and it is popular with feng shui practitioners as a plant that attracts positive energy.
Choose a healthy plant from a local supplier. Many garden centers in North Carolina sell soil grown starter plants. Although lucky bamboo is grown in water as a novelty, it will do much better in soil as it does in nature. Look for vibrant green stems and leaves without patches or spots when selecting your plant.
Fill half of the 6-inch container with sterile potting soil. Lay the starter plant on its side and squeeze the container to loosen it. Slide the lucky bamboo plant out and loosen the soil around the sides and base to free up the roots. Place it in the planting container and add more soil to fill in around the sides. Press the soil down gently to firm the plant into position.
Give your lucky bamboo a good soaking once a week. Use filtered or distilled water if possible. Dracaena sanderiana is very sensitive to chemicals including fluoride, which is found in most North Carolina water supplies. If tap water is all you have at hand, allow it to stand overnight so the chemicals will settle.
Keep the plant in a well-lit room but not in direct sun. With regular watering and a room temperature kept between 65 and 75 degrees F, lucky bamboo plants are quite happy.
Optional Water Method
Place some medium-sized river stones in a vase or bowl. Cover them with distilled or filtered water.
Slide the lucky bamboo plant out of its container and gently crumble the soil so that it falls away from the root. Rinse off the rest with filtered water and position the plant in the center of your bowl. Position the stones around the stem to hold it upright.
Place the bowl in a bright location and completely change the water every two weeks. Always use distilled or filtered water when growing lucky bamboo with this method.