Lucky Bamboo Information


As its name states, the "lucky bamboo" symbolizes good fortune in the broadest sense. As a tool of Chinese geomancy, it has strategic uses based on size, number of stalks, form and placement. Curiously, this herbaceous evergreen flowers in the Philippines, although flowering is not a common feature of the lucky bamboo.


Lucky bamboo is a fanciful name for the botanical term Dracaena sanderana/sanderiana. Other common names include Sanders' dracaena, ribbon plant, water bamboo and corn plant. The Dracaena sanderana is native to Asia and tropical West Africa. It is a member of the Ruscaceae family.

Number Of Stalks

Lucky number eight plays a significant part in Chinese culture. In the Cantonese dialect, the Chinese character for the number eight sounds like "prosperity." Therefore, bamboo stalks that total eight, 18 and 38 are especially auspicious. Such a plant would be ideal for a new business or a new home office and as a housewarming gift. In more general terms, two bamboo stalks indicate love, three or six stalks represent happiness and harmony, five or seven stalks stand for good health and nine stalks bring good fortune.


Different forms of lucky bamboo have various symbolic associations. For example, a lucky bamboo trellis suggests a ladder of success and augurs well for the recipient. According to the precepts of Chinese geomancy, strategically placed tiers of lucky bamboo in the home or office can attract and retain positive energy, enhancing the area. Braided lucky bamboo canes popularly suggest good prospects ahead.

Geomancy Elements

The lucky bamboo plant embodies all five elements of Chinese geomancy, namely wood, earth, water, metal and fire. The plant itself is the wood element. The pot is earth. The water represents itself. The traditional, decorative coin secured to the plant by a bright red ribbon for luck are the metal and fire elements.


Decide on the size, number of stalks and form of the lucky bamboo plant you want before making a purchase. There are so many choices in Chinese supermarkets and other stores, that it is worth your while to shop around a bit before choosing just the right one. The lucky bamboo is one of the easiest plants to grow. It is as happy sitting in water as it is luxuriating in a pot of moist but not saturated soil. It is very easygoing and will let you know how happy it is by the vibrant green of its leaves. Should the leaves start to yellow, find the problem and fix it. It could be too many chemicals in the water, too windy a location or too much bright light. Use filtered water or even rain water for the best results, and do not place lucky bamboo plants in the direct path of air vents or right in front of a window.

Keywords: lucky bamboo information, Dracaena sanderana, ribbon plant

About this Author

Based in Northern California, Maureen Katemopoulos has been a freelance writer for over 25 years. Her articles on travel, the arts, cuisine and history have appeared in Stanislaus Magazine, Orientations, The Asia Magazine, and The Peninsula Group Magazine, among others. She holds a Baccalaureate degree in journalism from Stanford University.