Looking to improve the feng shui in your home or office with the help of a plant? Then lucky bamboo may be for you. This small houseplant has long slender stalks that resemble bamboo as well as lush green leaves.
We’re going to cover all you need to know about caring for lucky bamboo so that you can brighten up your spaces with one of these plants.
Lucky Bamboo Basics
While we won’t blame you if you thought this plant was a type of bamboo, this is a common misconception. Sure, this lil’ houseplant looks like the towering stalks of bamboo that pandas and gardeners love, but the two plants aren’t closely related.
All types of bamboo are members of the Poaceae family, aka the grass family. Lucky bamboo, on the other hand, belongs to the Asparagaceae family, which also includes yuccas, hostas, and snake plants. One way to tell the two apart is that bamboo develops woody stalks while lucky bamboo stalks stay fleshy and moist.
The full scientific name of lucky bamboo is Dracaena sanderiana. It’s native to forested regions in Central Africa, but it has since spread across the world as a houseplant.
Lucky bamboo produces cane-like stalks that are about half an inch in diameter. These stalks are topped with vibrant green leaves that grow up and out. The stalks can grow about three feet tall, but it’s easy to trim the stalks so the plant remains smaller. Plant enthusiasts have also figured out ways to encourage lucky bamboo to grow in all sorts of shapes from hearts to twists to woven lattice.
How to Care for Lucky Bamboo Indoors
If you want to add a lucky bamboo plant to your home, check out these basic care tips:
Choosing the Proper Container
First things first—you’ll need to choose a pot that will keep your lucky bamboo plant happy. Fortunately, these plants aren’t too picky about the type of container you choose. They can tolerate terracotta, plastic, glazed ceramic, and glass pots.
When it comes to the pot size, know that lucky bamboo plants don’t need too much room for their roots to grow. They actually like it if they’re a bit snug. That means that a pot that is about four to eight inches in diameter and height is typically a good choice.
Picking a Potting Soil
Since you’ll be growing your lucky bamboo in pots, you’ll want to plant it in a soilless mix rather than soil. A proper mix will allow excess water to escape yet also hold a bit of moisture.
Many different types of potting mixes are available, and it can be difficult to know which one to choose! Our recommendation is to look for a mix that’s based in peat moss or coco coir, both of which can help retain moisture without becoming compacted. Next, check that the mix contains materials that improve drainage, such as perlite or pine bark fines. Generally, potting soil labeled for general houseplants or container gardening will work just fine.
Properly watering your lucky bamboo plant is one of the most important (and tricky) elements involved in raising a healthy plant. First, you’ll need to select the correct type of water for these often finicky plants, and then you’ll need to provide the right amount.
Since lucky bamboo plants can be sensitive to chlorine and salts in tap water, it’s best to avoid using this type of water for your plant. Watering your lucky bamboo with tap water a few times likely won’t cause issues, but over time the buildup of chemicals can cause the plant to become unhappy. If you want to grow the healthiest lucky bamboo plant possible, you can use distilled water or rainwater.
As for how much to water, you’ll need to keep a close eye on your plant at first. That’s because factors like temperature, light, humidity, and soil type can all impact how often you’ll need to water. A good rule of thumb is to water your plant when the top inch of soil is dry—you can check the soil moisture by inserting your finger into the soil near the base of your plant. If the soil is dry, go ahead and water! And if it’s still wet, check it again in a few days.
After you check your plant’s soil for a month or two, you should get a good idea of how often you’ll need to water. Now you can water on a schedule without checking the plant’s soil.
Temperature and Humidity
Since lucky bamboo is native to tropical regions, you’ll want to set the temperature and humidity so they are close to the conditions found in the plants’ native environments.
Fortunately, these plants are typically just fine in normal home temperatures. Just make sure the air temperature is between 65–90°F. As far as humidity goes, average home humidity is just fine.
Lucky bamboo plants prefer bright yet indirect light. Direct light can severely damage the leaves, so make sure you keep your plant out of direct rays. Some places that can provide the correct type of lighting include the interior of a bright room or next to a north-facing window.
Like most houseplants, lucky bamboo doesn’t need a ton of nutrients to thrive. However, it will benefit from small doses of fertilizer.
Since these pants are susceptible to nutrient burn, you’ll need to make sure you don’t over fertilize. Choose a fertilizer with an NPK ratio of 1-1-1 and follow the product’s instructions when determining how much to apply. Fertilizing your plant once in the early spring and again in the early summer will give it all the nutrients it needs to remain healthy and grow well.
Controlling Pests and Diseases
Lucky bamboo plants are susceptible to many of the same pests and diseases that plague most houseplants. Fortunately, providing the right environment and treating pests as soon as they appear can keep these issues in control.
Some of the pests that frequently attack lucky bamboo plants include tiny sap-sucking critters such as aphids, spider mites, and thrips. While a few of these pests won’t cause much damage, they can quickly multiply and overwhelm your plant. That means treating them when they first appear is key. One option is to wipe the pests off the plan with a wet, soapy rag. You can also spray the pests with neem oil or insecticidal soap to knock them down.
When it comes to diseases, root rot is one of the most common issues to keep an eye out for. Root rot occurs when fungal pathogens attack the plants’ roots, and it can quickly lead to mushy and disintegrating roots. Overwatering can spur the development of this disease, so make sure to only water your plant when the top inch of the soil is dry.
Master Plant Care
Looking to bring some luck into your home? Then look no further than the lucky bamboo plant! And if you’re looking for a different green friend, check out all of our available plants for delivery.
If you decide to go with a different type of plant, make sure you know how to care for it. We’ve created some helpful care guides to make your job as a plant parent a bit easier. To start, check out aloe plant care and then move on to learning about caring for pothos plants.Shop All