Bamboo in vase with rocks


In the Garden

If you attend a New Year’s Eve party this year, surprise the tweedle out of your host by bringing him or her a lucky bamboo plant. These attractive, practically indestructible tropical houseplants aren’t really bamboo but actually Dracaena sanderiana.

They make great holiday gift plants because they thrive in low light and can survive for years in a pot filled with only pebbles and water. Best of all, according to Chinese folklore, anyone who receives a lucky bamboo as a New Year’s gift will experience good fortune and prosperity for at least the following year.

Lucky bamboos are available in all sorts of shapes and sizes. The ones with intricately braided or twisted stalks can be quite expensive, but most nurseries offer lucky bamboos potted up in small attractive containers for less than $20.

Gardening Events

Snohomish County Master Gardener speaker:

9:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. Friday, Jan. 6. The first lecture in the group’s annual Sustainable Garden Winter Speaker series. Steve Smith of Sunnyside Nursery will present “Banish Boring Yards Once and For All.” Cost: $85 for a pass to all eight winter lectures. Address: Mukilteo Presbyterian Church Social Hall, 4514 84th St. S.W., Mukilteo.

Puyallup Home & Garden Show:

PlantAmnesty Master Pruner Series ‘Fruit Trees’:

10 a.m. to noon Sunday, Jan. 8. Ingela Wanerstrand will teach the basics of fruit-tree pruning, covering apple, cherry, plum and pear trees. Cost: $25 general public, $20 PlantAmnesty members, $5 horticulture college students and native Spanish speakers. No preregistration necessary. Address: Sand Point Magnuson Park, 6344 N.E. 74th St., Seattle.

If you prefer to add a personal touch, you can buy the rooted stems separately and pot them in the container of your choosing. Simply stand the stalks in a narrow vase, and fill in with enough small pebbles to support the stems, while making sure all the roots are covered. Then pour in water to just below the surface of the pebbles. As an additional touch, tie a ribbon around the pot with care instructions.

Lucky bamboo requires minimal care: Simply refill with water to maintain a constant level and replace the water completely about once per month. Distilled water is best. Tap water won’t kill lucky bamboo, but over time the fluoride, chlorine and other chemicals it contains cause the edges of the leaves to turn brown.

By the way, when you give the host lucky bamboo, don’t mention that if it dies within the first year, it brings 29 years of bad luck!

Make new plants the easy way

When I worked as a gardener at Seattle University, an old priest taught me how to use hardwood cuttings to make new plants. I’ve always been grateful to him because I’ve found it to be one of the easiest methods to propagate deciduous trees and woody plants such as roses, dogwoods, figs, grapes and many others.

The best time to take hardwood cuttings is in January. Use sharp, clean pruners to take 1-foot long, pencil-width cuttings from the ends of branches. Make the cut ¼ inch below a leaf node. Then prune off the top 2 inches from the cutting, making a slanted cut just above a leaf node. Use your pruners or a knife to scrape a narrow, ½-inch long sliver of bark from each side of the base of the cutting. The object is to expose the light-green cambium underneath.

Next, dip the bottom end of the cutting in rooting hormone (available at nurseries and garden centers). Plant the treated cuttings in gallon-sized nursery containers filled with a 50-50 mix of peat moss and perlite, leaving the top two buds exposed. Bury the pots outdoors in the ground or in large containers (with drainage holes) covering all but the top buds with soil, compost or wood chips to protect from freezing. Locate the cuttings where they will be protected from direct sun and wind.

In spring, you should notice new growth. During the following spring and summer, make sure the rooting medium stays moist. Your new plants should be ready to plant in the garden by fall.

Caring For Lucky Bamboo – Dracaena Sanderiana

Dracaena sanderiana has many common names associated with it: Lucky Bamboo, Ribbon Dracaena, Ribbon Plant, Belgian Evergreen, Chinese Water Bamboo, Friendship Bamboo, Water Bamboo. Although many of these names contain the word bamboo, Dracaena sanderiana is in no way a member of the true bamboo family.

Lucky bamboo (Dracaena sanderiana) is native to Cameroon in West Africa. It has become widely popular due to its ability to intertwine eastern mysticism with western new age culture. Lucky bamboo is a popular Feng Shui plant.

Dracaena sanderiana (Lucky bamboo) can be grown hydroponically or in soil.

Light Requirement for Lucky Bamboo: bright indirect light. In it’s native environment Dracaena sanderiana receive an ample amount of light. However, the surrounding plants shade the lucky bamboo from direct exposure to the sun. Too much direct sunlight can cause the leaves to burn. It is important that the lucky bamboo receive adequate light; lack of light will cause weak growth, stretching and poor color. Low light conditions will, also, cause stunted growth and inhibit new leaf growth. The light requirements for lucky bamboo are the same whether grown in water or in soil.

Water Requirements for Lucky Bamboo

In water: Water level should be at least a couple of inches. Make sure the roots are covered with water; add water to keep the water level constant. Every couple of weeks change the water completely. Refill the container with clean water. Lucky bamboo is sensitive to the salts and chemicals in tap water; use distilled water or rainwater if possible. If you must use tap water let it set in an open container over night; this will let the chlorine evaporate. However, there is no way to remove the fluoride from the tap water. Fluoride can cause leaf tips to turn brown. Low humidity can cause leaf tips to turn brown as well. Mist the leaves of the lucky bamboo every couple of days if lack of humidity is a problem.

In soil: should be kept moderately moist. Lucky bamboo doe not like to be soggy or dry. To determine water needs stick your finger in the soil up to your first knuckle (about an inch deep); if soil feels dry, water. It is very important for lucky bamboo to have good drainage good drainage when planted in soil. Lucky bamboo in soil will need to be misted every couple of days.

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Fertilizer Requirements for Lucky Bamboo

Lucky bamboo doesn’t require much fertilizer and can survive in pure water for quite a while. When you bring lucky bamboo home don’t fertilize it for a couple of weeks; this will prevent over-fertilization. In fact, if your lucky bamboo turns yellow when you bring it home immediately change the water. Yellow leaves on lucky bamboo are an indicator of over-fertilization. Anytime your lucky bamboo has been over-fertilized, change the water and don’t fertilize for several months.

In water: Fertilize your lucky bamboo every couple of months (you can go longer). You can use a little dirty aquarium water (if you have it) or a diluted (tenth of the normal strength) water-soluble houseplant fertilizer. The best time to fertilize is when you change the water.

In soil: You can fertilize with the same type of fertilizer as above, however you will need to fertilize once a month. Just replace one of your regular water cycles with the diluted water-soluble fertilizer.

Lucky Bamboo Problems, Pests & Diseases

Leaves with brown tips – Fluoride burn or lack of humidity.
What to do: Fluoride Burn – replace water with clean distilled or rain water; Dry Air – mist leaves every day or every couple of days.

Yellow Leaves – too much light or fertilizer.
What to do: Too much light – place more distance between the lucky bamboo & the light; too much fertilizer – replace water with distilled water & don’t fertilize for several months.

Stalks yellow from bottom up – too much fertilizer.
What to do: Replace with distilled water and don’t fertilize. At the point that the stalks turn yellow it is often too late for the lucky bamboo to recover. It is often better to cut the green top off and start a new plant. If you have more than one stalk in a container, but only one is yellow, remove the yellow stalk and change the water.

Brown or mushy stalks – root-rot; roots have rotted from over-fertilization or over-watering (plants potted in soil).
What to do: Cut the healthy tops off and root new plants.

White sticky substance on stalks, snail-looking growth on stalks or cottony substances on stalks – insects. Scale and spider mites can be, although rarely, a problem for lucky bamboo.
What to do: Clean the container and pebbles with soapy water (a few drops of dish detergent in water works well) and rinse completely. Wipe each stalk gentle with the soapy water and rinse well. Place the clean stalks in the container and fill with distilled water or rainwater.

Algae growing in water and on container – too much fertilizer and light. Algae grows in nutrient rich water with ample light.
What to do: Clean the lucky bamboo, pebbles and container with soapy water following the same procedure as above. Place the lucky bamboo in the container and fill with water. You might need to move it a little farther from the light or switch to an opaque container.

Other Conditions Needed for Lucky Bamboo

Temperature: Lucky bamboo needs moderate temperature. Normal household temperatures are fine. However, placing lucky bamboo next to an air vent or a door can cause problems due to rapid temperature changes.

Propagation: New Lucky Bamboo can be created through vegetative propagation. Begin by finding a node – the raised rings that grow around the stalk – make a cut about an inch above the node. You will now have a top and a bottom. Leave the bottom in the original container. The bottom will have no leaves and after a few days will need to be lightly misted every few days to encourage new growth. The tops will have all of the leaves. Take the top and dip the cut end in rooting hormone. Let it dry overnight before placing the top in the original container or a new container.

House plants make excellent gifts, home decor, and all-around companions. Flowering house plants keep us smiling and cheery; green house plants ease our minds and provide comfort, while tropical house plants make us feel composed and sophisticated.

Few days back I was trying to figure out if my lucky bamboo can survive without getting actual sunlight and I searched every where on google on other websites to find this. So below is what I found and thought I can share with all you guys who are eager to know this.

One of the biggest advantages of opting for a Lucky Bamboo plant is that its requirements regarding environmental conditions are rather easy to achieve. This is a plant that needs very little in order to thrive. But, if you want to enjoy a Lucky Bamboo with bright green color and healthy leaves, you should respect the minimum requirements the plant has. If not, you will have to deal with yellow leaves and a plant that is slowly dying.

When we are talking about plants, sunlight is one of the most important factors that can influence their growth and health. Each plant has its own sunlight requirements, based on the area from which they come. Thus, some enjoy being placed in direct sunlight while others will do best in the shade. So, what kind of plant is Lucky Bamboo? Can it live without sunlight or does it need a large amount of it?

As mentioned before, the bamboo is not a plant that needs special conditions in order to look beautiful. If you have a shaded area in the house and would like to upgrade it with the help of a plant, a Lucky Bamboo can be an ideal choice. This is due to the fact that this plant is easily adaptable to a wide range of living conditions. However, even if it takes shaded areas well, it will need a certain amount of natural light. In other words, a Lucky Bamboo plant will not survive in conditions of complete darkness. Because it is a green plan, it needs natural light in order to transform the nutrients absorbed from the soil into food.

If you want to enjoy a Lucky Bamboo plant with a gorgeous shade of green, healthy leaves, and adequate development, you will need to place it in an area where it receives sunlight. Ideally, a Lucky Bamboo plant should enjoy filtered natural light or indirect sunlight. This is the best way to make sure that the plant won’t just survive, but will also grow beautifully and will remain green throughout the entire year.

In case the position of the plant doesn’t allow it to enjoy a proper amount of sunlight per day, you can always solve this issue with the help of fluorescent light bulbs. These bulbs will replace natural light and will give the plant the chance to feed itself without a problem. Just, in the event of using light bulbs, do bear in mind that you will have to turn them off at one point. It is neither healthy nor recommended to leave a fluorescent light bulb on near a place for 24 hours. Like people, plants have their own day-night cycles that keep them healthy and growing well. So, make sure your Lucky Bamboo plant enjoys hours of darkness at night and light during the day.

Also, even if sunlight does play a crucial role in the survival and development of a Lucky Bamboo, it is not the only factor that influences the growth and aspect of the plant. The sufficiency of water and nutrients in the soil will impact the plant as well, in a positive or negative manner, according to the case.

12 Lucky Bamboo Plant Care Tips

Plants are a nice accessory piece to include in your home. I love going to the store and picking out different plants to display in my home. Sometimes though, I forget that they require a lot of care, attention, and responsibility.

Lucky bamboo plants are on that list of plants that can look great in your house but need certain care and attention or it can wilt, droop and no longer look fresh and lively. To help you with this, I’ve put together 14 lucky bamboo plant care tips to keep your new plant happy and healthy.


Do you want to jump ahead?

1. Keep the water level at a couple of inches

When caring for a plant, you, of course, want to make sure they get the perfect amount of water to stay healthy. With a lucky bamboo plant, in particular, you should ensure they aren’t receiving too much or too little water or else they may wilt or die. When the first plant is bought and starting to grow, it most likely won’t contain any roots.

At this point, you’ll want to make sure to fill the pot with up to 1-3 inches of water. Once the roots eventually grow in, you’ll pour more water in the pot to cover the roots entirely. Make sure to maintain constant and consistent water levels so the lucky bamboo plant is getting the perfect amount of water.

As the plant grows in age, it will begin to grow in size as well. If you pour water more and more up the stalk, the roots will start to grow more up the stalk as well. Once the plant gains more roots, the foliage at the top of the plant will become more thick and lush.


2. Use rocks or pebbles with water to stabilize the plant

Lucky bamboo plants don’t require many nutrients or fertilizers like other plants. So if you would like to use only water to grow your lucky bamboo plant, you can do that. All you’ll need is the following:

  • A smaller vase
  • A larger vase or pot as your plant grows
  • Pebbles or rocks to help support your plant

The lucky bamboo plant does still require a little bit of fertilizer. Even though it can go a while without it, it will still eventually need some fertilizer added to keep it happy and growing. Two different types of fertilizer can be used:

  1. Diluted water-soluble fertilizer that is commonly used on other house plants
  2. Leftover aquarium water that has been previously used

The best time to fertilize your plant is when you’re changing its vase every two weeks.

3. Use soil to grow your bamboo plant

A lucky bamboo plant doesn’t need soil to grow, but you can still do it this way instead of just water. Follow the steps below to grow lucky bamboo in soil:

  • Grab a pot with proportions equal with your plant
  • Fill it with potting soil (you may use an organic potting soil mix with lots of nutrients like this one)
  • Put your plant in the pot
  • Add enough water in the potting soil to moisten it well, but don’t make it dripping wet.

If the soil you are using doesn’t have fertilizer, you can add organic indoor liquid fertilizer or lucky bamboo-specific fertilizer. Add one drop of the liquid fertilizer.

Don’t forget to mist the soil every few days as well to ensure it’s still receiving the necessary amount of moisture recommended.


4. Place the plant in a location with sunlight

Since this is a plant, it, of course, needs sunlight to survive, similar to many other common plants. This plant’s sunlight is a little different than what most plants require. When an outside bamboo plant is grown in nature, it has natural light shining down on it.

Normally, the other plants and trees surrounding this bamboo plant will allow the light to hit it while shading it so the sunlight isn’t directly hitting the plant.

A similar instance should occur with the inside lucky bamboo plant as well. It needs sunlight, but direct sun exposure is too much for it to handle. When I’m in the sun for too long, my skin will easily start to burn. The same thing happens to the leaves of lucky bamboo.

This is why the lucky bamboo plant needs to receive a fairly adequate amount of light to stay properly cared for. So wherever you place your plant, make sure it’s sitting in a spot where it will get light, but not directly with the sun beating down on it.

If the plant doesn’t receive the necessary amount of light, this can result in the poor color of the plant. You can also see a weakened growth and unnatural stretching of the plant and its leaves. Additionally, this can stunt the plant’s growth and keep the leaves from growing.

Lucky bamboo planted with pebbles

5. Constantly change the water and Keep the vase clean

When you decide to adopt any type of living creature, like a guinea pig, for example, you have to clean their cage. Lucky bamboo plants are the same way. Their pot or vase is like a cage, meaning it needs to be washed and cleaned regularly for the plant to maintain proper living conditions. This means that you must change the water every two weeks.

Filling the vase with water seems as simple as filling it up using the faucet from the sink. Unfortunately, this is not the case. Tap water can not be used to fill the vase of a lucky bamboo plant as it contains salts and chemicals, such as fluoride, that can harm the plant. Below are the types of water you can use to feed your plant.

  • Distilled water
  • Bottled water
  • Filtered water
  • Rainwater

Sometimes, tap water is the only liquid you may happen to have on hand. If this is the case, you can use tap water ONLY if it sits out all night in an open container. This is because the chemicals evaporate inside of it. Sometimes, the water will still contain fluoride even if it sat out all night.

This is why you should try not to use tap water too much to feed your plant. Using tap water once or twice when absolutely needed shouldn’t hurt it. If it’s used too much, however, you could see damaging effects on your plant. It will normally make the tips of your plant’s leaves turn brown. To avoid this, refrain from using tap water unless absolutely necessary.

6. Pick a pot with easy drainage

When planting a lucky bamboo plant in soil, you will need to find the perfect pot made to help it grow naturally and easily. Usually, the main type of pot that can help you do this is one that contains a hole in the bottom. This pot should be able to easily drain the moisture from when you water your plant. Whatever type of pot you pick, try to make sure it’s approximately 2-3 inches bigger than the size of your lucky bamboo plant.

7. Keep up with proper plant care to maintain a healthy green color

Since it’s of course, a natural plant, it’s known to be a gorgeous forest green color. It doesn’t always stay that way if it’s unhealthy and not cared for. Normally, if your plant turns a different color, it could mean there is something wrong with it. Below are different colors the plant could turn if there’s something wrong. I will also tell you what precautions you should take to make it turn green and keeping it from turning back to that color again.

What to do when leaves turn yellow

This normally means the plant is being exposed to too much light or it’s being given too much fertilizer, causing it to look and feel unhealthy. Try moving your plant away from the light so there isn’t too much basking on to the plant. Refrain from the sun directly hitting the plant.

As mentioned earlier, lucky bamboo plants don’t require a large amount of fertilizer. They can sometimes even go awhile without receiving any at all. That means they can easily develop negative reactions when they get too much fertilizer added.

If the plant turns yellow because of this, change whatever water is currently in the pot with distilled water. Then refrain from fertilizing the plant for several weeks or months.

Get more details for lucky bamboo turning yellow here!

What to do when the stalks turn yellow

The stalks of the bamboo plant should be a greenish color. So when they start turning yellow, this could be a negative sign. To take care of this, you should use a similar method you’d use when the leaves turn yellow.

Immediately change the water in its pot and replace it with water that is distilled. Don’t add any type of fertilizer to the water. Unfortunately, when the stalk begins to turn yellow, it can mean that that part of the plant is dying and it’s usually too late to save it or do too much about it. If this is the case, it’s usually best to cut off the green top then start with a brand new plant.

If only one of your stalks is yellow and you have multiple stalks resting in the pot, the others can still be saved.

Be sure to immediately take the yellow stalks out and change the water to distilled water. The remaining stalks should continue to remain in their green state if you make sure to only add the appropriate amount of sunlight and fertilizer to the plant from now on.

What to do when the stalks are dry or wrinkly

As discussed earlier, your lucky bamboo plant needs the appropriate amount of water to keep it green and healthy. Sometimes, they don’t get enough water which results in the plant’s stalks looking wrinkly and dry. If your plant’s stalks look like this, but you’re following the proper watering instructions, it may not be traveling through the roots very well.

Take out the soil or pebbles that surround your roots to get a close look at them. If the plant has a large number of roots, it’s able to handle more water. So if your plant looks like it has a lot of roots, try to increase the amount of water you’re feeding it.

Keep the soil or rocks removed for a bit when you water your lucky bamboo plant so they are directly receiving the water. Or you can keep soil and pebbles in the pot, just make sure you’ve cleared a path for the water to get through to the roots of the plant.

It’s important to remember that your plant needs to always have at least an inch of water flowing inside at all times. Just like people, plants can feel stress and strain. They mainly feel this due to lack of water.

If they have gone an extra-long amount of time without water, more stress is put on them and their stalks may not recover. If it hasn’t been too long and you’ve added water quickly after they become wrinkly or dry, you may be able to save them. Additionally, the wrinkles may end up disappearing.

The stress may also carry on into the leaves. If this is the case, they will begin to turn yellow or brown. All that is needed to be done is to peel the discolored leaves off of the plant in a calm and gentle manner.

What to do when the tips of the leaves are brown

When this reaction occurs, it normally means your plant isn’t receiving the necessary water to survive properly. This usually happens when you serve it too much tap water as it’s usually a result of too much fluoride. This is known as “fluoride burn.”

This color could also mean the air around the plant is rather dry. So in addition to changing the water with rainwater or distilled water, mist the leaves for a little bit every day to provide more healthy moisture to the plant leaves.

What to do when the stalks are mushy or brown

If you are still adding too much fertilizer or water to your plant, they can continue to discolor and remain unhealthy. This makes their roots start to rot by turning a brown color. They will also begin to mush and no longer look steady or thick.

If this happens, it’s unfortunately too late for your plant to continue its life. You’ll need to go ahead and cut the tops of the plant off and begin a new plant by starting over at its roots.

What to do when a sticky white substance grows on your lucky bamboo

The stalks of your plant should always remain green. If you notice anything peculiar growing off of it, this normally means something is growing on it. It’s usually bugs. If you see any bugs or spiders crawling on your plant, make sure to grab the plant pot. Start to clean it, along with the pebbles, with clean, soapy water. Then be sure to rinse out the vase or pot completely.

Each stalk should be washed with this soapy water and rinsed accordingly. Put the recently cleaned stalks back into the pot then fill it back up with bottled, distilled or rainwater.

What to do when the lucky bamboo plant is becoming pale

If your plants to get pale or white, it’s either the water, sunlight, or drafts. As said in the previous tips, you should use distilled, filtered or rainwater. You also should check the spot that your plant is standing. Maybe it gets direct sunlight during some hours of the day. In addition, drafts can make your plant look unhealthy. So, check if windows or air vents create an unfavorable environment.

For more details on why your plants turns pale or white, read this!

What to do when algae grow in the water or pot

If you’re spotting algae on or around your plant, this could be a result of too much light shining on it. It could also mean you’ve placed too much fertilizer in the pot as well. Algae are known to form due to too fertilized, nutrient-filled water and too much sunlight.

When this happens, you will need to precisely clean the plant, the pebbles and the pot. Then put the plant back into the pot and fill it back up with water. Since the algae can form from the light, try moving it away from the sun.

8. Keep the plant at a healthy temperature

With bamboo plants, they thrive in temperatures that we’re normally known to thrive in. As long as the room is approximately 65 to 90°F (18-32°C), they survive in a strong and healthy manner.

Make sure they’re constantly staying in this controlled room temperature. If they are placed in front of a window that is extra drafty or an air vent, the dramatic bursts of cool or hot air can be damaging to them. Be sure to avoid that.

9. Create another lucky bamboo plant using vegetative propagation

If you are hoping to create a new lucky bamboo plant, you can do this via vegetative propagation with a fairly simple process. Follow the steps below:

  1. Locate the raised rings that look as if they are growing around the plant’s stalk, this is called the node.
  2. Cut approximately an inch above this node, creating a top and a bottom.
  3. Keep the bottom node inside of this container.
  4. Continuously mist the bottom after a few days as this will help it start to grow. You’ll see new leaves start to form as well
  5. The leaves at the top of the plant will already be formed. Take it and dip it inside of rooting hormones. Before you return it back to the container, let this dry on its own overnight.

10. Rotate the plant to make it curvy or wavy

Some plants are shaped fairly easily by simply getting trimmed and groomed in the proper fashion. With lucky bamboo plants, however, this works a little bit differently. To properly shape this plant, the stalks of it need to be rotated toward wherever the light is shining in. This makes the plant able to grow wherever the light is facing.

You may see pictures of plants that are shaped into a spiral. While this is a very entertaining and unique form to see, it’s a little difficult to maintain. It is still doable, though. The steps below can teach you how to make the plant curvy or wavy:

  1. Put the plant underneath a box that has three sides.
  2. Watch carefully at how fast the plant grows
  3. Continue to rotate the plant on a regular basis by making different sections of the plant face toward the sun.

Learn everything about pruning and shaping lucky bamboo here!

11. Trim the plant to keep it healthy

When you see a lucky bamboo plant displayed in someone’s home that looks healthy and attractive, it’s usually the owner of the plant who worked to make it look that way. It needs to be clipped and groomed properly in order to maintain that shape.

Your plant may end up having an excess amount of leaves on the top of it or different types of shapes might begin to form on your plant. Additionally, some shapes that were originally on your plant may lessen or start to go away.

To properly take care of this, grab some sheers and get ready to cut. Never cut the stalk of the plant but try to instead cut the plants’ offshoots with scissors that are sharp and more importantly, sterile.

These offshoots can be cut within one or two inches of the lucky bamboo’s main stem. Once you see this, you’ll notice new shoots begin to form. Then the plant will look very bushy and attractive.

12. Keep an eye out for bugs on your plant

I’ve owned a few primarily indoor plants and I’ve almost always had issues with bugs crawling all over them. If you end up purchasing a lucky bamboo plant, you may, unfortunately, see this same problem. The good part, though, is this can be easily handled by simply keeping an eye out for these bugs and picking them right off the plant as soon as you see them. You can also wash them off with water.

If you use any other strategy for keeping bugs off your indoor plants, most likely these strategies should be fine and safe to use on a regular plant as well.

Good to know about lucky bamboo

Keep it away from pets

Most plants are perfectly fine being in the presence of different animal breeds and species. Lucky bamboo plants, however, need to be away from animals, especially cats. Their plant species, known as dracaenas, are known to be dangerous for animals to be around and interact with. So it is definitely not advised to have these plants in your apartment if you already have plants residing there.

How quickly does lucky bamboo grow?

It has been known to grow at a fairly fast pace. In as little as six months, this bamboo can grow taller and taller until it’s reached approximately 19 inches (50 cm) as long as it’s properly watered and displayed in necessary sunlight.

How tall can this plant get?

If cared for in a proper way, this plant is able to grow to be up to approximately 5 ft (1.5 m) tall. Be sure to have something steady inside of the plant’s vase to keep it held up as it grows more. Just water isn’t enough to hold it up when it gets taller. If this is the case, you will need to hold it steady with pebbles or plant it in soil.

Make sure to trade out the smaller pot for a larger one as your plant continues to grow so it can keep up with growing a lucky bamboo plant.

Caring for your lucky bamboo plant

Owning a lucky bamboo plant can come in handy when showing it off to people and displaying it in your living room. In order for it to look attractive though, make sure to keep up on regular cleaning and maintenance. Following these recommended tips can help you care for a plant that will last for a very long time.

Lucky Bamboo Plant Care: How To Keep A Lucky Bamboo From Rotting

Lucky bamboo isn’t actually bamboo at all, although it resembles the kind pandas eat in China. This popular houseplant is a member of the Dracaena family, oftentimes grown in water, and sometimes soil, and is said to bring good fortune to the household.

Rotting lucky bamboo plants seem a decided sign of ill fortune. But preventing rot in lucky bamboo is not too difficult if you are attentive to the plant and act quickly when you see a problem with the plant’s roots. Read on to learn how to keep a lucky bamboo from rotting, especially when it’s grown in water.

Rotting Lucky Bamboo Plants

The lucky bamboo is a little green plant with one or more slender stems that grow roots on the lower end and leaves on the upper end. These are the plants sold in clear vases filled with water and pretty rocks, so that you can watch the roots grow.

The key to keeping a lucky bamboo from rotting is to provide enough water, but not too much. All the plant’s roots should be below the lip of the glass container and in water. Most of the stems and all of the leaves should be above the lip and out of water.

If you fill up a tall glass of water and plunk in the lucky bamboo plant, the stem is likely to rot and turn yellow. Likewise, if the roots outgrow the glass and you don’t prune them, the roots are likely to turn gray or black and rot.

How to Keep a Lucky Bamboo from Rotting

Good lucky bamboo plant care will go a long way toward keeping a lucky bamboo from rotting. If the plant currently lives in water, not soil, it is essential that you change the water at least every three weeks. Use bottled water, not tap water.

Lucky bamboo plant care also involves careful placement. These plants require sun, but not too much. Lucky bamboo likes indirect light but not direct sun, so position it on a west-facing window sill for best results.

If you see roots that are slimy or dark, snip them off with a nail scissor. If the roots grow mushy, cut off the plant stem above the roots. Treat the plant as a cutting and leave it in water to propagate another plant.

Lucky bamboo with black roots! Please Help!!

Hi everyone! I really need your help please!

I’ve been growing a lucky bamboo that I moved from soil to water for over half a year and recently over a few weeks I’m noticing that it’s roots are turning black.

It’s not that they’re rotting or anything, I’ve checked closely and there’s no smell or mushiness and the leaves and stem seem healthy.

It’s like some sort of black sludge covering the roots but it doesn’t seem to come off if I wash it or try to rub it away. At first I didn’t worry too much since it didn’t come off and the plant seemed healthy otherwise, but I’m now seeing a hint of yellow on the tip of one of the lower leaves and I’m really worried if something’s wrong.

I dunno how to explain it well with words so I’ve attached some pictures:


You will see that there are still some orange parts in the roots and also you can see a sort of dark green outline around the black roots when it’s submerged in the water. It just looks like it’s covered in slime, but again, it doesn’t come off if I try to rub it off.

I didn’t try to be too rough with the plant and occasionally just run my fingers through the roots to see if anything comes off and sometimes little bits and pieces come off if I scrub really hard. I’ve also been changing the water once every week since I first got it and only use boiled filtered water.

I’d really appreciate any advice! I really love this plant and don’t want to have anything happen to it if I could prevent it.

A bit of backstory if it helps:

I got this plant around eight or nine months ago. Someone I knew gave it to me in a tiny plastic cup with rocks and water. I could easily tell that it was originally grown in soil and they had just picked it out and put it in the cup since the plant seemed way too big to fit in it and there was still soil left on its roots.

I was angry that they took it out of soil and was worried that it wouldn’t survive the stress of being moved to water. But since I had no experience with replanting and water seemed to be the easiest method to maintain for a novice, I just hoped for the best and took it out of the cup, washed it and put it in a bigger water bottle cut in half filled
with filtered water.

I was really worried it wouldn’t make it but after a few days I noticed it started to grow new “water roots”. It was really cool to see them grow from tiny white threads to long beautiful orange roots.

Since then it’s been doing well and has even grown a new leaf (though it’s a little lighter in color). I’ve been changing the water routinely and occasionally change the container bottle.

But it’s just recently that I’ve been noticing it’s roots going black.
It started off with the main big root, which was the “soil root”. Originally it was dark orange but soon it started getting darker and now it’s pretty black as you can see.

One concern I have is if this “soil root” is somehow decomposing since it’s not being used by the plant and is somehow affecting the other roots. But then again I’m guessing it would have happened a long time ago and I would have noticed some odor or some other sign. I’ve had this plant for months and it didn’t seem to show any signs of distress or anything like that.

I really hope everything turns out ok and someone can help. This is the first plant I ever got and it really means a lot to me..

Sorry for the long post and thanks for any advice!

This is one of those fascinating and unusual houseplants which is an attention getter. I’ve gotten questions about Lucky Bamboo and answer them here. My only experience is with growing it in water. I want to share with you what I’ve learned about caring for and growing Lucky Bamboo. Feelin’ lucky? Well then read on.

Caring for and Growing Lucky Bamboo in Water

Lucky Bamboo is often billed as a low light houseplant. I’ve found it to do best in low to medium or medium light conditions. Low light is no light. The lower the light, the less growing it’ll do.

Even though it does well in natural light, it’ll burn with too much sun. I accidentally left mine in an east facing window last July for about an hour (I’m in the Arizona desert) & a little bit of the foliage burned. Keep it out of hot, direct sun.

If you’re noticing a slimy funk in your Lucky Bamboo’s water, it could be algae.

Algae needs the sun to grow & can build up in glass vases & containers where the light gets through. Keep it out of the sun (especially when the temps. are warmer) & change the water on a regular basis & clean the vase.

Lucky Bamboo is grown in a shallow dish with smooth pebbles

Speaking of changing the water, I do it every 2-3 months. I also clean the vase. I had an arrangement of Lucky Bamboo in a shallow dish which dried out a few times when I was traveling.

Bacteria formed on the roots. Stagnant water can get “funky” especially when warm. Lucky Bamboo is also subject to fungus & mold on the roots so changing the water & cleaning the vase as needed will help.

Lucky Bamboo also grows with pebbles or glass chips in the vase.

It’s commonly sold in arrangements this way because many people like the look. You also need to thoroughly clean the pebbles or glass chips on a regular basis (how often depends on the growing conditions in your home) to prevent bacteria from building up on them.


Brown tips on the leaves with yellowing portions above are most likely due to fluorides & salts in your tap water. Lucky Bamboos are very sensitive to this & for this reason, I’ve switched to using distilled water & have done so for a while. It’s inexpensive (around $.99 for a gallon) & lasts me 6 months or so.

You can see the brown tips with yellowing just above

Yellow tips are usually due to age or salts in the water. Small brown tips are due to the dry air in our homes. This is true of many houseplants.

I keep the water level 1-2″ above the roots. The higher up the water level, the higher up the roots will form & grow. The look of roots growing up & down the stalks is 1 I don’t like. I’d avoid keeping a taller vase full of water because the stalks might eventually rot out.

Here’s how high I keep the water level in my Lucky Bamboo vase. And yes, the roots are orange!

Just because a Lucky Bamboo is growing in water doesn’t mean it’s not subject to getting potbound.

I need to get a wider vase for my spiral arrangement because the roots are looking crowded. My smaller arrangement which I gave away was getting tight in the container also. Its new owner (my friend!) has put it into a larger dish, replaced some of the dead canes (stems or stalks) & it’s doing great.

As to longevity, I’m not 100% sure how long a Lucky Bamboo grown in water actually lasts. The longest I’ve had 1 for is 5 years because I’ve given them away. I bought the spiral canes you see here just about 4 years ago.

Although they’re most commonly sold in water, Lucky Bamboo grows in soil in its natural environment.

The grower was busy creating this pattern! Lucky Bamboo arrangements are traditionally attached with glossy gold or red ties. They signify additional good fortune.

As to transferring from water to soil or vice versa, please share your experience with us. I’ve never grown it in soil but have heard it’s good not to let it go dry. There are varying debates as to whether Lucky Bamboo grows better in soil or water.

Botanic Name

By the way, Lucky Bamboo isn’t really bamboo. Its botanic name is Dracaena sanderiana or braunii. Dracaenas are common houseplants so you might want to check out posts I’ve done on its relatives the Dracaena Lisa & Dracaena marginata.

If you cut a cane (stem or stalk) down, the cane won’t grow any taller.

What grows makes this plant grow taller is the stem with the foliage coming off the cane.

Close up on the spiral top portions of my Lucky Bamboo

Conversely, you can cut the canes down to make them shorter. You can also cut the stems with the foliage off to reduce the height. Either way, new sprouts will eventually form off the canes.

I didn’t train my Lucky Bamboo canes to grow in a spiral form. The grower did that.

This plant is available in all kinds of crazy forms, arrangements & patterns.

It needs a specially formulated fertilizer, not 1 you routinely use for your houseplants in soil. I was gifted a few bottles of Super Green fertilizer & add it into the water once a year in spring. If you feel your Lucky Bamboo needs it again, do it again in summer. Don’t over fertilize – your Lucky Bamboo will eventually burn.

This is how individual stalks (canes, stems) of Lucky Bamboo are sold.

Pet Safety

Regarding this plant being safe for pets, I’d say no. Lucky Bamboo isn’t specifically listed on the ASPCA website as being toxic to pets, but dracaenas are. Because it’s a dracaena, take heed.

Lucky Bamboos are prone to spider mites. I did a post & video on this subject which also tells you what I do to prevent it.

Sunburn on a Lucky Bamboo leaf. This plant doesn’t like direct sun.

Yellow stalks don’t turn green again. They turn brown & eventually die.

There are a few causes of yellowing stalks that I know of. My small arrangement in a shallow container dried out a number of times. 5 or 6 of the stalks ended up dying. Other reasons I know of are an accumulation of fluorides & salts in the water & over fertilizing.

Lucky Bamboo Plant Care

I find Lucky Bamboo to be very easy to care for & grow.

Here’s a round down of how I maintain mine here in the Arizona desert: It’s placed in a spot with moderate natural light & gets no direct sun. I change the water & wash out the vase every 2-3 months. Distilled water is used in the vase instead of tap water. The foliage is sprayed (the undersides especially) along with the stalks every 1-2 months. When we get the summer monsoon rains, I put the arrangement outside a couple of times. They love rainwater.

Just for fun – this is my new Lotus Bamboo or Rose Bamboo (it’s another dracaena) which I bought a couple of months ago. I want to grow it for at least 8-10 more months & then I’ll do a care post for you.

This doesn’t have anything to with care but it’s included because this plant is known for this 1 thing.

Feng Shui

Lucky Bamboo is known for bringing luck & good feng shui. I keep the spiral arrangement in the guest room. The number of stalks has significance & mine with 3 signifies happiness, luck & wealth. Whether it’s true, I’m not sure but I believe it because I like this plant!

You can find this plant, more houseplants and lots of info in our simple and easy to digest houseplant care guide: Keep Your Houseplants Alive.

Lucky Bamboo is a fun plant to have and doesn’t take up much room at all. Plus, soil not required!

Happy gardening,

Lucky bamboo plants can develop yellow leaves or yellow stalks for a number of reasons. The key to saving a plant when the yellow appears is to assess the cause and take action to restore the plant to health. There are four possible causes for a lucky bamboo turning yellow outside of disease: water, light, fertilizer, or temperature.

Water and Yellowing Lucky Bamboo Leaves and Stalks

One of the first culprits to investigate for yellowing leaves or stalk is the water. Typically, lucky bamboo plants are kept in a vase of water with a substrate, like rocks, but some are grown in soil containers. The source of water is an important consideration for the care of your plant.

Exposure to Chemicals in Tap Water Can Lead to Lucky Bamboo Plant Dying

You never want to use tap water for your Lucky Bamboo plant. This will set up failure before you start since tap water contains chemicals, such as chlorine and fluoride, that can be harmful to plants. Consistent exposure to the chemicals in the water can lead to your lucky bamboo plant dying.

Use Filtered, Distilled, Spring, or Rain Water

Break out a bottle of distilled water or spring water for your bamboo. If you have a garden and use a rain collecting system, you can also use that water for your lucky bamboo plant. Just make sure the water isn’t traveling over an asphalt roof since chemicals could be in the run off. Lucky Bamboo Shop even gives the green light to aquarium water since it contains the beneficial fertilizer produced by fish waste.

  • Never use cold water.
  • Use water that is room temperature.

Change the Water Every Two Weeks

The measure of health for a lucky bamboo plant can be as simple as fresh water. Lucky Bamboo Shop recommends (for plants in water) exchanging old water with fresh water. The fresh water is vital to healthy plant life since it provides nourishment with nitrogen and oxygen. In addition, fresh water contains trace elements that the plant needs.

  • Change the water every two weeks for best results.
  • Avoid stagnant water (a feng shui no-no).
  • Old water sets up various conditions for bacteria, fungus, and especially mold.
  • Change the water immediately if it turns dark, murky, cloudy, green, black, or smells foul.

The Flower Shop Network suggests keeping the water level around two inches. You want to ensure that you have enough water to cover the roots. Consistency is key to maintaining a healthy plant, so be sure you have a consistent water level.

Keep Bamboo Planted in Moist Soil

If your plant is in soil, add rocks on top of the soil to prevent soil displacement when you water. The soil should be maintained at a moderate moistness.

  • The rule of thumb for testing if your in-soil plant needs watering is to stick your forefinger into the soil up to the first joint (1″). If the soil feels dry, then it’s time to water.
  • Be careful not to overwater and that the plant container has good drainage. Since the plant is in a soil bed, you’ll need to mist the leaves every two or three days to maintain a healthy plant.

Direct Sunlight Can Cause Lucky Bamboo Leaves to Yellow

If the leaves on your plant appear to have turned yellow as though burned, the cause is most likely direct sunlight. The lucky bamboo cannot live in direct sunlight, but thrives in bright indirect light. If your plant is receiving direct sunlight, then you need to move it. By the same token, too little indirect light can make your plant become weak and its color will turn yellow or pale.

Place Lucky Bamboo Near a Window Out of Direct Sunlight

One of the popular locations for lucky bamboo is on a kitchen counter near a window or on a table by a window. You want to make sure that the plant doesn’t receive direct sunlight. The hot direct sunlight will basically burn the plant since its natural habitat is under the lush foliage of a rain forest.

Place in Best Feng Shui Locations

The best feng shui locations for a lucky bamboo plant are the East and Southeast (wood) sectors. If you need to activate the South sector of your home, then a wood element will fuel that element. Be sure whichever sector you use that your plant receives only indirect light.

Too Much Fertilizer Causes Yellow Stalks

Yellowing of the lucky bamboo stalk is almost always the result of over-fertilizing. If your plant has both leaf and stalk yellowing, the first thing to consider is over-fertilizing.

Lucky Bamboo Doesn’t Require Fertilizer

This is often a mistake owners make, not realizing that most lucky bamboo plants don’t require fertilizing and can thrive for years and years without ever being fertilized. If you must fertilize your plant, then make sure to use one specifically for lucky bamboo. Such a feeding should be a rare and infrequent dosing.

Change the Water to Revive a Yellowing Lucky Bamboo

For in-water plants, the solution for lucky bamboo stalks turning yellow is to immediately change the water. This can work in some cases where the plant hasn’t soaked up too much fertilizer to kill it. However, in other cases, it might be too late to save the plant. This is especially true if it’s the stalk turning yellow instead of just the leaves.

Repotting Plants in Dirt Can Save a Dying Lucky Bamboo

The best approach for an over fertilized in-soil plant is to repot with fresh soil that doesn’t have any added fertilizer. The damage may have already been done, and the plant absorbed too much fertilizer. You’ll know within a few days if your plant will survive.

Incorrect Temperature and Humidity Can Cause Lucky Bamboo Plants to Die

If your lucky bamboo leaves are turning yellow and you’ve ruled out all the above possible causes, then it could as simple as too cool a temperature. The plant thrives best in temperatures between 65°F and 90°F.

Mist the Leaves to Increase Humidity

A low humidity environment is problematic. Remember, the plant’s natural environment is that of a very humid rainforest. Since the lucky bamboo prefers a humid climate, you may need to remedy a dry one by misting the leaves every two to three days. This will give the plant and leaves the high moisture it craves. This should stop the plant from turning yellow if low humidity is the cause.

How to Save a Dying Bamboo Plant

If you’ve tried all the recommendations and your plant is still on a decline with yellow leaves and stalk, it may be time for drastic last-ditch efforts. You can salvage your plant. Never throw it away without first trying one of the two propagation methods for salvaging what is typically an expensive plant.

Harvest and Root Leaves

If your plant has a few yellow leaves, then you can snip them with a pair of scissors. This is especially necessary if your plant is suffering from too much water or direct light. Better to remove them so new leaves can grow. However, if your lucky bamboo stalk is dying, then you have only one recourse, and that’s to cut the green sprouts and root.

  1. Snip leaves below the growth node that protrudes from the stalk to keep intact. This is where new roots will form.
  2. Dip the cut end of the sprout in a planting hormone to encourage root growth.
  3. Fill a vase with water to hold the sprout(s) and allow them to grow roots.
  4. Once there are plenty of roots, you can transplant the new lucky bamboo either into a water or soil-filled vase.

Saving a Bamboo Plant With a Dead Stalk

If the roots are still good but the upper part of the stalk is yellow, you can possibly salvage it.

The first thing to check when a plant begins to turn yellow is the root system. You can quickly assess its health by examining the roots. The color of healthy roots are reddish or orange. Diseased roots are brown, black, or gray and need to be removed by cutting off where they protrude from the stalk.

Cut off the yellow part along the line where green is still showing. Once the stalk is cut, it typically stops growing in height/length but will develop new sprouts that will grow vertically.

  • Seal the cut part of the stalk with candle wax to prevent rotting and disease.
  • Place the stalk either in water or in soil and care for it.

If the stalk continues to turn yellow and no new sprouts develop, the plant can’t be salvaged. It’s time to discard and buy a new plant. You can continue your original number of stalks to keep your chosen feng shui number.

Example of Dead Bamboo Stalk

When your bamboo stalk looks like the one below, it’s likely dying and you will need to replace it.

Remedies for Yellowing Lucky Bamboo

There are many things you can do to remedy a yellowing lucky bamboo plant and make it beautiful again. Once the cause has been identified, you can take specific steps to bring your plant back to life. Don’t throw away your lucky bamboo until you’ve assessed it cannot be salvaged.

How to Save a Dying Indoor Lucky Bamboo Plant

bamboo image by Alice Becet from

If your lucky bamboo plant has suddenly lost its luck, don’t worry because you may still be able to save this resilient plant. Lucky bamboo plants are not actually bamboo plants, but a member of the lily family, Dracaena sanderiana. If your plant leaves have begun to turn yellow or brown, it has begun to die. You may not always be able to save it, but there are some things you can try before you give up hope.

Replace the water in the container with distilled water. If your lucky bamboo is potted, rinse out the soil by watering it thoroughly until water runs all the way through the soil or repot the plant in fresh soil. One of the most common causes for yellow leaves is watering with heavily chlorinated or fluoridated water. Continue to water with distilled water. If you must use tap water, leave it out overnight, which reduces the chlorine (but not the fluoride) content in the water.

Move the plant to a different location, away from drafts. Lucky bamboo prefers areas with a temperature between 45 and 90 degrees Fahrenheit. Avoid areas with sudden temperature changes caused by open windows or doors, furnace ducts, stoves and similar items.

Reduce the plant’s exposure to sunlight. While lucky bamboo prefers bright filtered light, it will suffer sunburn when exposed to direct sunlight.

Spray your plant with an insecticide designed to kill mealy bugs or spider mites if you find signs of these two common pests of lucky bamboo. If you see small cotton balls on your plant, you probably have a mealy bug problem. If you see small webs, it is probably spider mites.

Clean the leaves and stalk with a damp cloth. This removes dust that may be “choking” your plant. It will also clean of any fungus or rot that may be developing on the top of your plant.

Trim off any yellow or brown areas of the leaves with a sharp scissors. If the stem is dying, you can try trimming off that portion of the stem. Your other option is to remove the sprouts from the stem and place them in water. The sprouts may develop roots and begin to grow a new stem.

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