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The Care of the Curly Bamboo Plant

Curly bamboo, also called lucky bamboo, is not actually a real bamboo plant. The curly bamboo plant is a species of Dracaena, which is part of the lily family, and is native to Southeast Asia and west tropical Africa. The cane segments are what make the plant resemble miniature bamboo. Most commonly grown indoors and in dish gardens, the curly bamboo plant can be grown in a simple dish of water. Curly bamboo plants are easy to grow and care for, as long the water is changed frequently and it has the right lighting conditions.

Select a small container that is made of glass, sealed ceramic or any other non-porous material. Use a decorative or clear glass dish or vase if you like.

Fill the bottom of the container with one to 3 inches of water. Make sure the water is fresh and free of fluoride or chemicals. Use bottled spring water if you’re unsure of the quality of your tap water.

Add stones, small river rocks, aquarium or pea gravel, or marbles to the container. Stand the curly bamboo plant in the water, using the stones or marbles to hold it upright.

Keep your curly bamboo plant in bright, indirect or low light. Normal indoor air temperatures (around 70 degrees F) are fine for the curly bamboo, but avoid placing the plant near heating or air conditioning vents.

Feed your curly bamboo plant a droplet of liquid all-purpose fertilizer once every month or two. This is not necessary, as the curly bamboo will grow in just plain water, but the fertilizer will encourage the plant to grow slightly faster and the leaves to grow longer.

Change the water in the container completely at least every two to three weeks. Maintain the same 1 to 3 inch water level.

Prune the curly bamboo plant using sharp scissors if the plant becomes too top heavy. Make a clean cut through the stem of the leaf. You can even take the stem that you pruned off and place it in another dish of water to grow another bamboo plant.

Prune back the roots if your curly bamboo plant starts to become root-bound in its container. Do any root pruning in the winter when the plant is dormant. Lift up the bamboo plant from the water dish and gently remove any gravel or stones caught in the roots. Cut the roots using sharp scissors, removing no more than one-third of the root system.


If you notice that your curly bamboo plant’s leaves are turning yellow and spindly, change the water immediately, add a drop of fertilizer and remove the plant from direct sunlight. Check your plant for any signs of pests or diseases.

To continue the curling of your bamboo plant as it grows, you can use the same method that growers use to manipulate the curly bamboo’s shape. Cover the plant on three sides, exposing the fourth side to bright light. The plant will grow toward the light. Rotate the plant as it grows so that it curls around toward the light. Making just one curl this way can take a year or longer, however.


Don’t use tap water in your curly bamboo’s container if you’re on municipal water. Most municipal water systems add fluoride to the city water, which will kill your bamboo plant. Use fluoride-free bottled water instead.

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