How to Take Care of Lucky Bamboo Plant?
The Lucky Bamboo plant is a very popular type of green plant that can be found in many homes and most gardening stores. In case you’re looking for a plant that is easy to maintain, has a low list of requirements, and is capable of beautifying your home or office, the Lucky Bamboo is the right choice. However, even if it’s not difficult to care for a Lucky Bamboo plant, it still requires an adequate level of attention from your side. Caring for it won’t just keep it green and healthy, but will also allow it to grow beautifully. Take good care of it and it will repay you with its beautiful color and positive energy. Here is a complete guide about how to care for your Lucky Bamboo plant.
- The Lucky Bamboo plant is not a bamboo
To take proper care of your Lucky Bamboo plant, you first need to know what type of plant it is. Without basic knowledge about the plant you have, it will be very difficult to give it the care it needs to thrive. So, that being said, the Lucky Bamboo plant is not a real bamboo plant. It actually belongs to the Dracaena family, being a close relative to the Dragon Tree, scientifically known as Dracaena Marginata. Looking for care tips regarding bamboo plants is not the best way to go. The real bamboo and Lucky Bamboo are quite different in terms of environment and growing conditions. In other words, each has a different set of requirements.
So, the name Lucky Bamboo is given by the fact that this plant looks a lot like a bamboo, without having anything in common with the real bamboo. Also, the term “Lucky” comes from the Chinese belief system. The Chinese people consider Lucky Bamboo as a plant capable of repairing a home’s positive energy. It is also capable of bringing luck, health, wealth, and well-being to those living inside the house. This is why Lucky Bamboos are offered as gifts, as a sign of appreciation and wishful thinking for the home’s owner.
- It is an ideal indoor plant
The Lucky Bamboo plant doesn’t require direct sunlight to be green, beautiful, and grow healthily. In fact, it best enjoys filtered light or shaded areas rather than being directly exposed to the sun. The sun’s rays can burn the leaves of the plant, turning them into a brownish-yellow that will ruin the aspect of the plant. So, if you have a corner or area inside your home or office that doesn’t get that much light, the Lucky Bamboo will do great there.
Of course, don’t assume that the Lucky Bamboo can grow in darkness. It enjoys shaded areas, but it will require a certain level of light to grow beautiful leaves. This means that it should enjoy some natural light that will help the plant to feed and develop. So, while you don’t have to worry about placing it on sunny window sills, make sure your Lucky Bamboo gets sufficient light.
- Choose how you want to grow it
As mentioned before, Lucky Bamboo is a very resistant and versatile plant. It is so easy to care for it that you don’t even need a pot of soil to do it. Lucky Bamboos grow great directly in a container or vase filled with water. They just need some pebbles as support for their roots. So, if you’re not too keen on having pots with soil in the house or simply enjoy a vase better, a Lucky Bamboo can live in the water if you respect a few rules. We will furthermore develop each growing environment, helping you make an informed case, regardless of what you choose.
When you buy a Lucky Bamboo plant or receive one as a gift, its container will be quite small. It may offer sufficient resources for the plant for a while, but it won’t last for too long. You will need to feed the plant and if you want to grow it, put it in something more spacious. This is when you have to choose whether to grow it in soil or water. Each method can work great if you know what to do in each case.
Taking care of Lucky Bamboo in a pot with soil
Growing Lucky Bamboo in the soil is one of the most commonly met methods. Just like any other green plant, Lucky Bamboos thrive in a pot of soil. You just need to be careful when choosing the type of soil for your plant. Also, concerning the best container, Lucky Bamboos like a pot that is wider than deeper. The plant loves spreading its roots close to the surface, not going too deep in the ground. A wider pot will also encourage the plant to sprout new stems, developing on its width as well, not on its height only.
Choose a soil type and container that can offer good drainage to the plant’s roots. The Lucky Bamboo enjoys a moist soil, but water should never soak the soil or puddle in the plant’s container. So, proper drainage is great. You can use all-purpose potting soil that contains perlite or add the perlite yourself. This will create a mixture that drains well and retains sufficient moisture so you won’t have to water the plant too often. Ideally, you should not allow for the soil in the pot to go completely dry. Like other species of Dracaena, the Lucky Bamboo loves moisture. So, you should water it quite frequently, but with small amounts of water.
Taking care of Lucky Bamboo in water
Growing Lucky Bamboo in water is quite easy. This is one of the reasons most people choose to do it this way. However, if you choose this method, you will have to change the water in the container every 2 to 4 weeks. This will keep your plant from developing mold and will remove any bacteria that might harm it. If you remember to do this, taking care of Lucky Bamboo in water should not pose any kind of problem.
Before you put your Lucky Bamboo in water, choose a container or vase that is large enough. This depends on the size of your plant at the moment. Later on, once it grows, you will have the chance to change the container. Place the plant in the chosen container and pour pebbles inside as well, securing the plant’s roots and bottom part of the stem. Then you will have to fill the container with plain water until all the roots are properly covered. Keep an eye on the water’s level inside the container and add more water if it evaporates. It the water level drops too much, the roots may be exposed to the air and dry up.
What to do if the Lucky Bamboo stem has no roots yet or the roots are very small and fragile? If we are talking about a stem with no roots, you will have to place the stem in 1 to 3 inches of water. Keep it this way until roots start growing. When needed, change the water in the container. The plant will need more water as it grows and develops more roots. Bear in mind that roots will grow on the stalk up to the level of the water. So, the deeper the stalk will be in the water, the more roots the plant will grow. And this is not a bad thing. If there are many roots in the water, the upper part will be lush and will have a high number of green leaves.
- Fertilizing the plant
Whether you’re growing Lucky Bamboo in soil or water, the plant needs nutrients to develop and stay healthy. Because it grows in a container, the available resources will get depleted after a while and the plant could end up suffering from nutrients deficiency. This is where you step in. Offering fertilizer to your plant periodically will keep it in great shape. Lucky Bamboo plants don’t require too much fertilizer or too often, but this gesture will help you enjoy a gorgeous plant that will display brilliant shades of green.
What kind of fertilizer is suitable in the case of Lucky Bamboo plants? Nitrogen, phosphorous, and potassium are all extremely important for the development and health of the plant. You can offer a nutritious mixture to your plant if you choose a fertilizer that has a ratio of 2-2-2 of all of these three nutrients. Fertilizers specially created for Lucky Bamboo plants might have this ration readily available for you. If not, you could buy all of them separately and create the mixture on your own.
You could use an all-purpose fertilizer as well and keep an eye on the development of the plant. Fertilizers created for leafy green plants, for example, have a high dose of nitrogen in their composition. So, try to dilute the fertilizer more than you usually do when preparing to fertilize your Lucky Bamboo. This will reduce the fertilizer’s strength and offer your plant its much-needed nutrients.
Thus, regardless of the used fertilizer, it should always be properly diluted before being offered to your plant. Too much fertilizer is bad for your Lucky Bamboo, as it can get toxic. The same rule applies whether your plant grows in soil or water.
- Shaping and trimming your Lucky Bamboo plant
If the Lucky Bamboo plant gets everything it needs, it will grow without a doubt. After a good while, it may start looking out of order. In many cases, plants grow as they want and will lose their aesthetic appearance. So, you will need to trim it. Trimming is great not just for adjusting the shape of your Lucky Bamboo plant, but also for its health. If the plant gets too heavy, with many stems and leaves, it may go out of balance and risk falling on the side, together with its container as well.
How to trim a Lucky Bamboo plant? The best way to do it is with the help of sterile snippers or scissors. You can sterilize the cutting tool with some rubbing alcohol. This will prevent the plant from developing problems due to bacteria. When trimming the plant, it is never recommended to trim the main stalk. So, you’d better sacrifice the offshoots, those that make the plant look disorganized. You can cut them as short as one or two inches away from the main stem. This will make the plant grow new shoots and develop a bushier aspect. If you don’t want the cut to develop new growth, cover the cut end with paraffin.
What to do if the main stalk needs trimming or you want to do it, for reducing the height of the plant? Well, you can do it, as it is not an impossible task. But there’s a certain degree of risk to this operation. If the plant is not strong or healthy enough, it may suffer a lot. If it is healthy, new stems will sprout in the proximity of the cut. What you need to know, when it comes to pieces cut from the Lucky Bamboo plant, is that you can use them to create new Lucky Bamboo plants. If you cut an offshoot or part of the main stem, you can put these fragments in water, encouraging them to develop roots. Once these fragments have roots, they can be treated just like any other Lucky Bamboo plant.
- Potential problems that may affect your plant
Even if Lucky Bamboo plants are sturdy, they can still face a set of risks and problems. Knowing what problems may emerge will prepare you to act according to if any of these problems occur. Thus, if you will see your plant suffering, you’ll know what’s wrong and, with a bit of luck, you’ll be able to save it.
Too much chlorine in the water
All tap water contains chlorine, as it is used to disinfect the water and make it suitable for drinking and cooking. If we can take small amounts of chlorine, a Lucky Bamboo plant will be much more sensitive to this particular substance. In time, water with chlorine can kill the plant, affecting its roots. The best part is that chlorine is highly volatile and evaporates with ease. So, in order to get rid of chlorine, pour water in a bottle and leave its cap off. In 24 hours, most of the chlorine will be evaporated. Thus, the tap water will become safe to use and will be conveniently brought to the room’s temperature.
Water with debris in it or dirty water can also affect the plant’s health. Bacteria can become a severe issue for your Lucky Bamboo, so make sure there’s none in the plant’s soil or water. This means that the black roots should be removed, as they are rooted and could turn into illness for the plant. Also, if leaves fall into the water or on the soil, remove them before they start to root. Rooted vegetal matter always translates into bacteria.
If you grow Lucky Bamboo plants in water, change the water in which the plants sit every two weeks, at most. In case you don’t want to use tap water or forgot to allow the chlorine to evaporate by storing the water in an open recipient, you can always used distilled water. If needed, wash the plant’s recipient as algae may be growing on its walls. Algae are usually an issue for transparent recipients or vases. If you notice algae growing on the recipient’s walls, just remove it.
A Lucky Bamboo plant with yellow leaves may represent a plant that is getting too much sun or fertilizer. The sun’s direct light can burn the plant, turning its green leaves into yellow leaves. The same happens in the case of fertilizer poisoning. You can solve these problems by moving the plant out of the sun’s light, in a more shaded area, or reducing the fertilizing for a period, using distilled water instead. Distilled water is sterile and it will dilute the nutrients found in the soil. Water this plant this way for a period and allow it to recover, before feeding it any more fertilizer. To avoid poisoning the plant with fertilizer, reduce its strength by diluting it with water more than you usually did.
However, leaves that are turning yellow at the tip could mean too many salts and fluoride in the water. Besides chloride, tap water contains other minerals and substances, such as salts and fluoride. In time, this type of water will create issues for the plant, making its leaves turn yellow at the tip. Unfortunately, the entire leaf will turn yellow gradually. Use distilled water instead and use adequate fertilizer to provide nutrients to the plant. In case the tips of the Lucky Bamboo plants are brown, this is due to the dry air that is found in most homes. Consider adding a humidifier or airing the room more often. This is a symptom that can be seen in many plants grown indoors and solving the problem won’t be great just for your plants, but also for your health.