Lucky Bamboo Growing Tips

Lucky bamboo is said by Feng Shui experts to bring luck and prosperity into a home. The way you group the plants determines what area in your life will be affected. For example, an arrangement of two stalks makes you lucky in love, while an arrangement of eight stalks brings wealth. Even though we call it lucky bamboo, it's actually not bamboo at all, but a member of the lily family. It's hearty and low maintenance, making it a great plant for brown thumbs. With a few tips, your lucky bamboo plant will thrive and bring luck for years to come.

Chosing a Plant

According to Feng Shui expert Stephanie Roberts Serrano, lucky bamboo is luckiest when it's received as a gift. However, choosing bamboo for yourself doesn't negate its ability to attract luck and prosperity into your life. When choosing your own lucky bamboo plant, be sure to check the stalks for bruises, yellow spots or any sign of insect damage. Next, look for hearty green leaves with no yellowing or damage at the ends. Look over the container to make sure the root structure looks healthy (if you can see it) and that the water it's grown in is clear and doesn't smell stagnant or mildewy. If your bamboo is grown in soil, make sure the soil is moist, but not sopping wet.


Grow your lucky bamboo in either glass or ceramic containers. If you'll be growing your bamboo in water, glass containers allow you to see your plant's developing root structure and monitor the quality of its growing water. The downside to glass containers is that they allow in sunlight, which causes algae growth. Ceramic containers prevent algae growth and may better match your decor, but require more vigilant monitoring, as the water and root structure aren't plainly visible.

Growing Medium

Most people grow lucky bamboo in water. To do so, place your lucky bamboo in a container and add enough water to cover no more than the bottom 2 to 3 inches of your plant's stalk. If you would like your bamboo to stand straight up, place the stalks in your container and add gravel or marbles to anchor before adding water. If you grow your bamboo in soil, chose a fast-draining potting mix and add at least 2 inches of gravel to the bottom of your container to allow excess moisture to run off. Excess moisture leads to rotting roots.


Use filtered water for your bamboo, because chlorine and fluorine in tap water can damage your plant. If you don't have a water filter, fill a container with tap water and let it sit out for at least 24 hours so many of the chemicals can dissipate. Change the water at least weekly by tipping your container slightly and gently pouring off the old water. Place your hands over the gravel to prevent it from falling out of the container. Add 2 to 3 inches of fresh water and rearrange any displaced gravel.


Lucky bamboo will burn in direct sunlight. Avoid placing it in a sunny location. It does best in indirect sunlight, such as on a desk or on an interior counter or table. It's a hearty grower and will thrive in lower light conditions. As long as the room gets some sunlight, your bamboo will be fine.


Lucky bamboo can go for months and even years without ever being fertilized. Still, it will need a nutritional boost at some point. To do this, add two drops of aquarium plant food to your water at water-changing time. If you use regular plant food, you must dilute it to 1/10 its intended strength. Never feed more often than every 2 to 3 months and never overfeed. It will lead to a yellowing, spindly plant.


If your bamboo gets too tall, simply cut off the tops. Locate a node, or the area above its rings where leaves may or may not be growing from, and make a quick cut across with a sharp knife or pruning scissors. Let the cut pieces dry out for a day, then place them in their own container. They'll develop roots and yield a new plant. Help this process by applying rooting hormone to the cut end before you place it in water. To remove leaves, pinch them off close to the stalk and space out your pruning so that you never remove more than one-third of the leaves at a time. Wait at least a week before pruning again so the plant can recover.

Keywords: lucky bamboo, house plants, Feng Shui

About this Author

Lillian Downey is a writing professional who has served as editor-in-chief of "Nexus" literary journal and as an assistant fiction editor at the "Antioch Review." Downey attended Wright State University, where she studied writing, women's studies and health care.