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How to Take Care of Fortune Plants

Fortune plants, also sold as "Lucky Bamboo" plants, are rain-forest plants that do best in a base of either water and pebbles, or very well-drained and moist soil. Most commonly the plants found under the name fortune or good fortune plants are the small bamboo, with the scientific name dracaena sanderiana.

Add stones to a container. Many people like to use glass containers to show off decorative pebbles, but any type of small pebbles or container will do. Put about 1 to 2 inches of small stones on the bottom of the container.

Cover the stones with water. The water should not go much above the level of the stones, since leaving water to sit against the stems will cause them to rot.

Place the plant in among the stones. The pebbles are to help the fortune plant stay upright, and you may need to move pebbles around to help support the stems.

Place the plant in a good location. Fortune plants prefer bright but indirect sun, as they naturally grow in the shade of larger plants. Artificial lighting is usually OK, but find a new location if the plant does not thrive.

Change the water weekly. Take care not to uproot the plant, but you need to drain out the water and wash the stones and stems gently by hand about once a week to keep any slime or rot from forming. Refresh the plant with new water after doing this.

Tip

For good drainage, you can also pot fortune plants in potting soil mixed with equal parts perlite or peat moss and sand. Keep any soil mix you use for a fortune plant moist, but not flooded.

The dracaena family can be sensitive to additives in water, including fluoride, which is found in most tap water. If your plant does not flourish, try using filtered or bottled water instead.

Warning

If you place a fortune plant in direct full sun, it is likely to be burned and dry. Conversely, don’t keep it in shade; it will sicken and yellow without enough light. Some experimenting may be needed to find the right place in your home or office for the plant.

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