Lucky bamboo is not a true bamboo, but is a tropical plant known as Dracaena sanderiana. It looks like bamboo and is sold as a houseplant. The lucky bamboo cannot be planted outside because it does not tolerate cold weather. Lucky bamboo needs minimal care and thrives in various mediums.
Lucky bamboo doesn't need soil and can survive in plain water. Cover the bamboo stalk with about 1 inch of water. No fertilizer is needed. Use bottled water or non-fluoridated water because fluoride is toxic to Dracaena sanderiana, turning the leaves yellow. Place the bamboo in an area with indirect sunlight and change the water every week.
Lucky bamboo also does well using aquarium gravel or decorative stones and water. The stones help the bamboo stalks remain upright and it makes arranging the stalks easier. Place about 1 inch of decorative stones in the bottom of a bowl or vase and add up to 1 inch of water. Use purified water or tap water that has been left out overnight to dissipate the chlorine.
Soil is not necessary for lucky bamboo to thrive, but it is often used to make the bamboo stalk stand upright. Before placing the bamboo in the soil, add small stones to the bottom of the pot for drainage or plant in a pot that has drainage holes. The stalks of lucky bamboo will rot and become soggy if not drained well when planted in soil. Add purified water to 1 inch of soil just until it is moist, not muddy or too dry. Spray the soil with a fine mist of purified water every few days, not allowing the soil to become soggy.
An alga appears in the water when the lucky bamboo is placed in too much light. Clean the stones and the pot with soapy water, using regular dish soap when algae appears in the water and on the stalks. Gently wipe off the bamboo stalks to remove the algae and rinse with purified water. Place the cleaned bamboo back into the container and add clean, purified water. Select a spot out of direct light for the lucky bamboo.