It’s not a bamboo, but what we call ‘Lucky Bamboo’ is a popular decorative indoor plant that is popular in Feng Shui and its real name is Draceana sanderiana and its a member of the lily family. Readily available for sale online and from most nurseries, this is an easy care plant.
It is said to bring good luck and is widely used in homes. offices and yes, Chinese restaurants. Dracaena sanderiana ‘Gold’ is a lovely form, same green foliage, golden lime green edges.
The ‘Lucky’ part of the name has meaning in the area of Feng Shui with the number of stalks having different meanings. The bamboo bit, well the stalks look a little like bamboo. But what does it mean?
This all depends on the number of stalks and patterns.The number of stalks in a Lucky Bamboo planting is significant with three stalks for happiness, five stalks for wealth and six stalks for health. (four stalks is bad luck, so never four stalks)
Common names vary greatly depending on country and culture, they include – Chinese Water Bamboo, Friendship Bamboo, Belgian Evergreen and Ribbon Draceana. The correct botanical name is Dracaena braunii.
From the name Chinese Water Bamboo, comes the fact that this plant can be grown hydroponically, although it is usually grown in potting soil or compost.
Care and Growing of Lucky Bamboo
Lucky bamboo prefers a bright, filtered light and does well as an indoor plant. If the foliage begins to fade, it needs more light.
Lucky Bamboo can actually be grown in water, however the water should be un-chlorinated. Water should be changed every 5 – 10 days. Lucky bamboo can also be grown in soil.
Lucky Bamboo prefers a warm position .
A well drained, moist potting mix is best.
Try a 1/5 strength liquid fertilizer every month, or use a fertilizer supplied with the bamboo.
Lucky Bamboo can be propagated from stem cuttings and this is the preferred method.
- Take a cutting above a stem node.
- Let the cutting sit and callus over night (this dries the wound out and helps prevents disease)
- The cutting can them be dipped in a hormone rooting powder (or honey)
- The cutting can then be placed into a good quality potting mix.
- Mist spray and keep moist but not wet.
- Place the cutting in a warm, part shaded position.
- New growth should commence in 4 – 6 weeks.
The parent plant should also be mist sprayed to allow it to recover.
Non preferred method
You can root Lucky Bamboo in water, simply take a cutting and stand it in water and it will send out roots. You do need to change the water every 3 – 4 days to stop it stagnating.
However, this is not the preferred method as the root systems grown in water are usually weak and do not transfer well int potting soils.
As for growing the plant itself in water, this is also not recommended, it leads to weak plants and they are prone to rotting. Actual hydroponics is a different thing altogether as the plants are grown in a medium with nutrient rich water flowing through it, not stagnant water.
Training Lucky Bamboo
You will also need to strip the foliage to get the bare stems which are seen as desirable, and then train the young shoots into the shapes that are also seen as desirable.
Lucky Bamboo does not naturally grow with a spiral stem, it grows straight up, so you need to train it.
This is a long process and involved rotating the plant that has a light source from one side only.
You wait until the plant starts to curve towards the light, rotate it a little, and then wait some more and continue the process.