Care of Lucky Bamboo Plants

Overview

Lucky bamboo may look like bamboo, but the two are not related. Lucky bamboo is a member of the lily family and is capable of producing flowers. The plant is used in the ancient art of Feng Shui to bring lucky energy to a space. According to lucky bamboo expert Stephanie Roberts, this hardy plant is "idiot proof" and can be grown by almost anyone. By following a few simple care guidelines, your plant can bring you years of good fortune.

Step 1

Choose the right container. If you're new to lucky bamboo, choose a glass container that allows you to see the water level, water condition and root structure. Note that glass containers let in sunlight, which could cause algae to grow on your plant's roots and surrounding rocks. If you'd rather not use a clear glass container, use ceramic. Bamboo prefers tight living conditions, so make sure your pot is only about 2 inches wider than your plant.

Step 2

Water correctly. Start by using filtered water. Chlorine and fluorine can cause plants to brown or grow thin and spindly. If you'll be using tap water, let it sit in an open container for 24 to 28 hours before adding it to your plant's container. This allows some of the chemicals to dissipate. Change the water weekly, and do not cover more than the bottom 2 to 3 inches of your plant's stalk to prevent rotting.

Step 3

Avoid direct sunlight. Lucky bamboo plants placed in direct sunlight can get the equivalent of sunburn. If your leaves are starting to yellow or look fried at the ends, or your stalks are getting pale, move them out of direct sunlight but not into the shade. For example, a lucky bamboo plant placed on your office desk probably will get enough sunlight, while a plant placed in a sunny window probably will get too much.

Step 4

Don't over-fertilize. You only need one-tenth the amount of fertilizer that you'd use to feed other houseplants. Dilute plant food in a solution of one part fertilizer to 10 parts water and add a few drops to the plant's water right after you've changed it. You also can add two to three drops of aquarium plant food instead. Never feed your plant more than once every two to three months. Most plants can last years without having been fed. In the case of lucky bamboo, is it better to under-feed than over-feed.

Step 5

Prune as needed. If your lucky bamboo plant gets too tall, use sharp pruning shears to cut off the top of your plant just above a node. A node is an area just above one of the rings in your stalk. Save your clippings and place them in their own containers. The clippings will develop their own roots and provide you with another lucky bamboo plant. Pinch off leaves at the stalk as necessary. Always remember to give a plant ample time to heal after each pruning before pruning again. Aggressive pruning can kill any plant.

Things You'll Need

  • Glass or ceramic container
  • Filtered water
  • Aquarium plant food or houseplant fertilizer

References

  • How to Choose and Care for Lucky Bamboo by Stephanie Roberts
Keywords: care, lucky, bamboo

About this Author

Lillian Downey has an extensive and diverse background, including studies in English, social work, women's studies, non-profit management, political science and nursing. In addition to writing, she has worked as a sex-ed teacher, clinic manager, pregnancy options counselor and mental health professional. She served as Editor-in-Chief of Nexus Journal of Literature and Art and an Assistant Fiction Editor at the Antioch Review.