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Care of Lucky Bamboo in Water With Stones

lucky bamboo close up image by Trevor Goodwin from

You'll typically find a "lucky bamboo" (Dracaena sanderiana) plant growing in a clear glass container of water, along with stones, pebbles or polished marbles that partially fill the container and keep the plant upright. A lucky bamboo plant can brighten a dreary spot in the home or make an attractive addition to a desk in the workplace.

While most houseplants won’t thrive in the low-light conditions typical of indoor settings, lucky bamboo is a welcome exception. Houseplants don’t come less demanding than this one. You’ll just need to provide some light and change the water every week or so.

Carefully examine a lucky bamboo plant growing in water with stones before buying it. The foliage should be bright green and lush. Healthy leaves will feel fresh and show no signs of yellowing or wilting. If the water exudes an odor, the plant hasn’t been cared for properly and is probably harboring deadly rot. Walk out of that establishment and buy from a more conscientious supplier.

Set your lucky bamboo plant in the brightest spot available out of direct sun. The more light you can provide, the better it will thrive. Don’t fret if you don’t have access to an abundance of bright light. This tough little plant will live in normal to low indoor exposures if necessary. A temperature range from 50 to 90 degrees Fahrenheit is acceptable.

Wash the stones and the container every three to seven days to stave off rot. Empty the water. Carefully pour the stones into a kitchen colander or strainer. Gently remove the lucky bamboo from the container and set it aside. Rinse the stones well under hot running water. Let them drain for about 15 minutes. Wash the container with hot soapy water. Rinse the container thoroughly, and dry it with a clean towel.

Stand the lucky bamboo back in the container and pour the stones in gently. Just barely cover them with distilled water, which you should always use for this plant. Distilled water contains none of the impurities of ordinary tap water, such as fluoride and chlorine. These chemicals are damaging to plants. (You can’t remove fluoride, but the chlorine will evaporate from standing water. If you don't choose to use distilled water, let a quart of tap water sit on a counter for 24 hours to eliminate the chlorine before adding the water to your lucky bamboo plant.)

Raise the water level in the lucky bamboo’s container as new roots begin appearing in higher spots on the stalks. Keep the roots constantly submerged. As the quantity of roots increases, the foliage will respond by growing more lush and vigorous.

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