Dracaena Sanderiana, commonly known as Lucky Bamboo, Sander’s Dracaena, Chinese Water Bamboo, Curly Bamboo, or Goddess of Mercy’s Plant, is a species of perennial flowering plants in the Asparagaceae family. Originated in Central Africa, Lucky Bamboo is currently one of the most popular houseplants in certain regions of India.
Lucky bamboos have played a big part in the feng shui culture and they still do. According to Chinese traditions, these plants can have different meanings in association with the number of specimens that are bound together. For example, two stalks symbolize pure love or double luck, seven stalks bring good health, and ten stalks represent a form of perfection. Some people grow twenty-one stalks of lucky bamboo, as this is a representation of powerful blessings.
In Chinese, the word “four” is almost similar to the word for “death”, so you will never find any Lucky Bamboo arrangement with four stalks. Due to this significance, a gift that contains this number of stalks would be considered very inappropriate.
About Lucky Bamboo
- Lucky Bamboos are often mistaken for Dracaena braunii, a species from coastal West Africa that produces flowers. However, Dracaena braunii doesn’t grow as tall as Lucky Bamboo and its leaves are different.
- Chinese people call a Lucky Bamboo “fu gui zhu”, with “fu” meaning luck and fortune, “gui” is power and honor, and “zhu” the bamboo.
- To achieve the full potential of feng shui, an arrangement of Lucky Bamboos should contain objects that represent all five elements: earth, water, wood, fire, and metal.
- It is believed that when these plants are placed in the southeast corner of your home, they attract prosperity and wealth. Also, placing them in the eastern corner is supposed to bless all family members with good health.
- Lucky Bamboos prefer bright, filtered light. Leaves that turn yellow may indicate that your plants receive improper light or too much fertilizer.
- They can be grown in both water and soil. For in-water growing, use pebbles for support and change their water once a week. If you want to move your plants in a pot, look for one with drainage holes and fill it with rich well-draining potting soil.
- Lucky Bamboos do not appreciate wet stalks, so make sure you cover only their roots with water. Moreover, do not allow your plants to dry out completely.
- Their leaves should be cleaned regularly. Regular dust removal is recommended to allow their leaves to breathe. You can use a soft brush, damp cloth, or spray it with water.
Lucky Bamboo Features: An Overview
- Although the word “bamboo” can be found in several common names of these plants and their stalks or stems look like true bamboos, they are an entirely different species.
- Lucky Bamboo is usually a pretty small plant, but it can reach about 39 inches (100 cm) in height.
- It grows naturally straight without any variation in shape. The specimens with curled stalks are usually made by professional growers.
- They have slightly twisted leaves of grey-ish green color that grow up to 9 inches (23 cm) in length on fleshy stems.
- Lucky Bamboos are more likely to exhibit tiny, almost insignificant flowers in their natural habitat than in cultivation or indoors. They may take several years to bloom.
- When grown in potting soil, Lucky Bamboos are excellent companions for lilies, irises, various groundcovers, ferns, and almost any species with contrasting large leaves.
- Lucky Bamboos have no toxic effects on humans, but they can be pretty poisonous to cats and dogs if their leaves are ingested.
Growing Lucky Bamboo
There are certain environmental conditions that Lucky Bamboos require to grow healthy and happy. They usually grow in rainforests and are used to the tropical climates of Central Africa and regions of Southeast Asia. As long as you manage to mimic their natural habitat in your home, Lucky Bamboos will cause no trouble. So growing them indoors is pretty easy for any type of gardener!
Lucky Bamboos do well in bright, but indirect or filtered light. Generally, they are more tolerant of shade than too much light exposure. Make sure you protect these plants from harsh and direct sunlight, as this may cause yellow and scorched leaves. However, if your plants tend to stretch or the foliage color fades, move them to a location where they can receive more light.
Like all tropical plants, they prefer warm temperatures that range from 65 to 90°F (18-32°C). If you cannot provide them with enough warmth, Lucky Bamboos will grow just fine in average room temperatures between 59 and 72°F (15-22°C). For proper growth, keep these plants away from heating vents or air conditioning. During the fall and the winter, avoid placing your Lucky Bamboos near windows or other cold places.
Planting Lucky Bamboo
Lucky Bamboos are commonly grown in water, but they can also be transplanted in well-draining potting soil that is rich in organic matter. The container in which you want to grow your plants should have several holes at the bottom to improve drainage.
If you grow these plants in water, it is suggested you fill the vase with pebbles for good support. When changing their water, you can add a small drop of good-quality liquid fertilizer to boost their growth.
Repot your plants once their roots are getting crowded in the container. If you grow your Lucky Bamboos in water, you can simply move them into a new vase and replace the old pebbles or rocks with fresh ones. When growing them in soil, look for a pot that is slightly larger than the current one and fill it with fresh potting soil. In both cases, water your plants as usual.
Lucky Bamboos need a bit of trimming once in a while if you want to keep them healthy. Once they are mature and grow taller, most plants become top-heavy and begin to lose their form. Keep in mind that you should always cut the offshoots back instead of their main stalks. This process will ensure the development of new shoots and your plants will look cute and bushy.
Lucky Bamboo Pests and Diseases
They are often bothered by pests like mealybugs and spider mites. If you notice small white insects on your plants, you should remove them using a cotton pad dipped in rubbing alcohol. Spider mites do not affect Lucky Bamboos, but if their leaves or stalks present a white fuzz or webbing, you can treat them with a mix of water and dish soap.
Typically, your plants should be completely green. When they start to exhibit yellow parts of the leaves or stems, this may be a sign that your plants are sick. To prevent the overall spreading, you can cut the unhealthy growth with a sterilized knife. Lucky Bamboos can also be affected by fungal infections that are indicated through a grey fuzz. Remove the infected parts, increase air circulation, and keep the stalk and foliage dry to help your plants recover.
Watering Lucky Bamboo
When it comes to watering Lucky Bamboos, there are no high demands or complicated instructions along the way. They are low-maintenance plants that can grow in a simple vase with at least one inch (2.5 cm) of water.
The most important detail in the watering process is the quality of water you are using. They do not respond well to chlorine and other chemicals that are usually found in tap water. You should water these plants only with bottled or distilled water. Also, tap water left out for one day works as well.
If your lucky bamboos receive proper water, their roots will be fully red. For optimal growth and hygiene, the water should be changed once a week. When growing these plants in a container, they behave as most Dracaena species and prefer damp soil. Make sure you water your plants frequently to prevent the soil from drying out but do not allow it to get waterlogged.
Lucky Bamboos love humid environments, so you should mist them regularly with water spray. If you live in hot areas or the air around your plants is too dry, you can use a humidifier to maintain the ideal levels of humidity.
Propagating Lucky Bamboo
If your plants become leggy and unbalanced you can readjust them by trimming them. Don’t throw away the cuttings. They can be used to propagate your Lucky Bamboos very easily and you can either balance your indoor feng shui or surprise your friends with a nice gift.
Look for a healthy parent stalk that has at least one leaf joint and cut the offshoot. Remove the bottom layer of leaves to create a new stalk and dip it in rooting hormone for better results. The cutting can be propagated either in water or potting soil, but rooting it in water is the most preferred method.
If you choose to grow your cutting in water, make sure is bottled or purified. Keep the water clean and new roots should emerge pretty fast. Once the roots have developed, you can place the plant in a vase filled with pebbles or plant it in regular soil.
When rooting your cutting in soil, gently plant the stalk into fresh potting soil until one root node is dug in it. Water the plant regularly to keep the soil damp and wait for new growth to show its splendor.
There are several reasons why you should add one or more Lucky Bamboos into your collection. They are fabulous, easy-going, and will keep you company for several years. All you have to do is to provide them with proper light, regular watering, and a little affection from time to time. And we assure you that they worth more than all of your time!