All About Growing Bamboo Indoors


Gardeners can choose two types of bamboo suitable for growing indoors: lucky bamboo or true bamboo. Lucky bamboo is suitable for desks, countertops and other small areas. Traditional bamboo will grow to at least 5 feet, if not 10 feet or more, so it needs a large room to fill. Either type provides natural decor that's low maintenance.


The lucky bamboo that's grown indoors is Dracaena, a member of the water lily family. Lucky bamboo is sold by the stalk or in clustered arrangements; you can find curled stalks that have been manipulated into rings or braided. Lewis Bamboo lists the following varieties of bamboo as suitable for container growing indoors: Pseudosasa Japonica 'Arrow Bamboo,' Pseudosasa Japonica Tsutsumiana, Sasa Palmata, Indocalamus Tessellatus and Sassella Masumeana 'Albostriata.'


To plant Dracaena, fill a container with 1 to 3 inches of gravel. Then immerse your stalk of bamboo in the gravel, gently pushing the plant's roots into the stones. Fill the container with water so the gravel is covered with water, but not the bamboo stalk. Dracaena can also be planted in well-drained soil. To plant bamboo indoors, fill a container that's at least 18 inches deep (and as wide as you choose) with drainage holes three-quarters of the way full with a balanced potting soil. Then plant your bamboo canes in the container and fill it the rest of the way full with potting soil. Water the container until the soil compresses around the plant and water flows out the drainage holes.


Dracaena requires low, indirect light. Too much light will yellow the plant's leaves. Bamboo needs moderate to high levels of indirect light if it's grown indoors. This plant benefits from being moved outdoors in the spring and summer to get natural sunlight and air.


Change out the water in your container of lucky bamboo once a week so it does not get stagnant. Monitor the water level daily and top it off as needed to maintain an even water level in the container. Mist indoor bamboo daily with water from a spray bottle, since this plant prefers humid environments. Water the container until the soil becomes saturated and water flows out the drainage holes. Then allow the container to dry out before watering again. When you next water, the soil should feel crumbly.


A frequent problem with Dracaena is yellowing of the leaves, typically caused by too much light or fluoride in the water. Place the plant in indirect light and rotate it in the window so one side doesn't get sunburned. Water with bottled water if your community uses fluoride in the water. Clip off yellowed leaves with scissors since they won't recover. Since bamboo prefers an outdoor growing environment, indoor bamboo will naturally drop some foliage. Clean up the dropped foliage. Fertilize container bamboo with a slow-release fertilizer to keep the plant growing and happy, and move it outdoors in the spring and summer so it can thrive in the sunlight.

Keywords: lucky bamboo, indoor bamboo, container bamboo

About this Author

Based in Northern California, Elton Dunn is a freelance writer and nonprofit consultant with 14 years' experience. Dunn specializes in travel, food, business, gardening, education and the legal fields. His work has appeared in various print and online publications. Dunn holds a Master of Fine Arts in creative writing and a Bachelor of Arts in English.