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Best Lucky Bamboo Growing Tips

Updated on March 18, 2020
linfcor profile image

Been gardening for more years than I can count. Here are some of my favorite plants and tips to help you get the most out of your gardening.

How To Grow A Lucky Bamboo

The funny thing about what we call Lucky Bamboo, is that it is not bamboo at all. It is more like a succulent than anything else. It is actually native to Africa.

Lucky Bamboo has become very popular in homes throughout the world. It is said that growing one brings prosperity to the home. It can also be called Ribbon Dracaena, Ribbon Plant, Belgian Evergreen, Chinese Water Bamboo, Friendship Bamboo, Water Bamboo. Most people grow it for it's shape and color. Generally, it is grown in water, but in fact, you can grow it in soil. It is considered mildly toxic, so you will want to keep it away from young children and pets.

Filtered indirect light will help your lucky bamboo to grow and look it's best. Always avoid direct sunlight.

You will want to keep your plant at about 65 degrees. It really does not like extreme cold or heat

Lucky Bamboo makes an excellent housewarming gift or a hostess gift !

Start with a healthy plant
Start with a healthy plant

Choosing A Lucky Bamboo

When choosing a lucky bamboo, find one that has a shape that appeals to you. It should have a vibrant green color. Look for one with no blemishes or yellowing. The stalks should have a consistant color from base to tip. Reject any plant that has any browning at the leaf tip.

Make sure that they do not have any odor to them. If you smell any sour odors, they may have bacteria.

Buy a smaller plant, preferably only a few inches tall. The smaller the plant the more likely it is to be healthier.

If they are grown in soil, the soil should be wet, but not soaked.

Meaning Of The Number Of Stalks In Lucky Bamboo - Chinese Benefits Of Lucky Bamboo

According to ancient Chinese thought the number of stalks of your lucky bamboo will affect you in different ways. When I learned this, I actually went around my house and started checking stalks. Many cultures feel that plants bring certain blessings into our lives, and the lucky bamboo is no exception.

  • Two Stalks bring love or double luck.
  • Three Stalks bring happiness, longevity and prosperity.
  • Four Stalks bring negativity in your home and are considered "the death wish."
  • Five Stalks represent the 5 different parts of life from which wealth spurs from.
  • Six Stalks sounds like "Luck" in Chinese, bringing prosperity and favorable conditions.
  • Seven Stalks bring good health.
  • Eight Stalks in the Chinese spoken language sounds like "Fah" which means to grow, thrive.
  • Ten Stalks show a complete and perfect life
  • Twenty One Stalks offer very powerful all purpose blessing.

Growing Medium For Lucky Bamboo

Lucky bamboo can be grown in water or soil.

Soil Medium For Lucky Bamboo

  • Make sure that the container that you are using is clean and has a drain hole.
  • Plant the lucky bamboo is potting soil filling the pot half way up.

Water Medium For Lucky Bamboo

  • Place a layer of stones at the bottom of your container to hold the roots of the lant in place and to stabilize the stems of your plant.
  • Add just enough water to keep the roots wet and covered. A common mistake is to fill water to the top of the container.
  • If you have lots of chlorine and other additives in your water, filtered or distilled water is best. These chemicals can cause the tips o the leaves to turn brown..
  • A clear container makes it easier to see the water levels.
  • Change the water and wash the pebbles every 7-10 days.

How To Water A Lucky Bamboo

Only add water once a week and only to cover roots and pebbles

More thoughts on Using Water As A Growing Medium For Lucky Bamboo

Your plant is very sensative to the chemicals in most homes. Tap water-especially flouride and chlorine can cause harm to these plants. if you are using tap water, it is best to let it sit out in an open container for 24 hours before using. That allows the chemicals to evaporate. Use a simple vase container with only about 1 " of water (you can use distilled water if you prefer ) Line the bottom of your container with pebbles to support the plant. The water in the container for your lucky bamboo should be changed weekly. It's a good idea to rinse the pot, plant and pebbles in "safe" water that has been either standing or is distilled every time that you change the water.

How Muxh Water Should Be In The Container?

If you are growing it in standing water, it is best to keep the water level one inch above the top of the supporting pebbles.

Pots For Your Lucky Bamboo

Chose pots according to the size of your plant. Remember that your plant only requires an inch of water, but you will also need pebbles to support the stalks. So allow room in your pot for that support.

Your container should be 2 inches (5 cm) larger the the diameter of the plant.

If your plant is being grown in soil, you need to have a drain hole at the bottom of the plant.

You can arrange your Lucky Bamboo in interesting patterns
You can arrange your Lucky Bamboo in interesting patterns

Trimming And Arranging Lucky Bamboo Stalks

Always use trimmers that have been sterilized to trim your lucky bamboo. If you are trimming, cut off stems to within an inch of the main stem. Roots should be reddish in color. Trim away any roots that are black and or mushy. It is important to use a sharp trimmer to trim any leaves or stalks of your plants.

Remember to always remove any yellow leaves or stalks

Arranging Your Stalks

  1. You can just allow them to grow straight in a line
  2. To curl your Lucky Bamboo plant, get a cardboard box and cut off the bottom and one side. Place the box over your plant with the open end facing your light source. Your stalks will begin to curl towards the light as they grow. Once you see a bend, rotate your plant.
  3. You can also wrap some wire around younger stalks crisscrossing them. As they grow you will add more wire to keep them stable as they intertwine.
  4. Rotating your plant will help balance the growth of the stalks.
  5. Make sure that your Lucky Bamboo plant does not become top heavy. Trim shoots to balance your plant. Avoid cutting the shoots of the main stalk.

Word Of Caution On Lucky Bamboo

Lucky bamboo can be very toxic to cats !

More Lucky Bamboo Tips


Normally Lucky Bamboo does not need any fertilizer. If you want to feed it, give it a drink of weak houseplant fertilizer.


This is a plant that grows in the shade of other plants, so keep it out of direct sunlight. If your plant seems to stretch towards the light, move the plant to get more sun.

The plant can be grown in artificial light.


This plant like to be in rooms with a temperature of 65-90 degrees

Bring Yourself Good Fortune

Tie a ribbon of gold or red ribbon around the stalks of your plant to bring good fortune

Diagnosing Problems With Your Lucky Bamboo

This plant has few problems but it's easy to diagnose issues with your plant.

  • Yellow leaves are usually a sign that your plant is getting too much sunlight
  • Mushy black roots usually mean that your water needs to be more filtered or changed more often. They need to be cut and trimmed.

Nice red roots are a sign that your Lucky Bamboo is healthy and thriving

Propagating Your Lucky Bamboo

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.

Doing Cuttings

Cuttings can be made from the mother plant. You need at least one leaf joint It can be rooted in rooting hormones or in water.

Rooting in water is easiest. Keep the water clean.. Once you see reddish roots, you can place it in water with pebbles

  • Make sure that the cutting you take has at least one leaf.
  • You can use a rooting hormone or start bare,

Rooting The Cutting In Soil

You can easily root your cutting in soil. Trim the cutting into a pot of clean potting soil. Make sure that one root node is in the soil. Keep the plant moist bt not soaked until new growth appears.

Rooting The Cutting In Water

This is the more popular way to get cuttings started. Make sure that you have at least one leaf node. Put them into distilled or filtered water. Keep the water clean. New slightly reddish roots should appear. Once the roots are established, you can transfer the plant to a container and water or plant it in soil.

We's love to hear about your lucky bamboo. Have you grown it ? What are your special tips? Just let us know that you stopped by. We always love to hear from our readers

Do You Grow Lucky Bamboo? - We'd Love to Hear About It !

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    • linfcor profile imageAUTHOR

      Linda F Correa 

      5 years ago from Spring Hill Florida

      Going to give that thought a try to see if it works

    • profile image


      5 years ago

      You should try an exnerimept of two bamboo plants, one with coffee and one without. After all, caffeine is produced by the coffee plant. The caffeine is produced as a type of natural pesticide. My suspicion is that it will grow at the same speed or maybe the coffee will break down and acidify the soil, making the plant unhealthy.Supposedly bamboo is the fastest-growing plant. I'm sure you can get some Miracle-Grow and it might make things better.


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