What is Lucky Bamboo?

Mary McMahon
Mary McMahon
Woman with a flower
Woman with a flower

Lucky bamboo is a hardy and popular houseplant which is grown in many regions of the world. In fact, lucky bamboo is not a species of bamboo at all; it is actually a type of lily known as Dracaena sanderiana, native to the tropical rainforests of Africa and parts of Southeast Asia. Many people like lucky bamboo because it is very easy to grow and train, and it can brighten a home significantly.

You may also hear lucky bamboo referred to as dracena or ribbon plant. In the wild, the plant is shrubby in appearance, with slender stalks which look sort of like bamboo canes and blade-shaped, ribbon like leaves. The plant is adapted for the indirect sunlight, relative warmth, and heavy moisture of the forest floor, and as a result, it likes to be kept moist and warm in the home, and it prefers indirect sunlight.

Many people grow lucky bamboo by sticking bare canes into water which is changed weekly. Although this growing technique is perfectly adequate, lucky bamboo actually prefers soil, which should be allowed to dry out between waterings to prevent rot. In the event that lucky bamboo starts to yellow or rot, the likely culprit is heavily treated water or too much sun; moving the plant and switching to filtered water may do the trick.

In addition to being easy to grow and care for, lucky bamboo is also easy to shape. Many people grow multiple canes and braid or weave them into patterns, and some people like to grow spiral lucky bamboo, which has a distinctive corkscrew shape. If the plant is allowed to grow as it pleases, it will often develop distinct kinks and bends due to changes in position or light level, as it seeks the lightest place in reach.

Incidentally, lucky bamboo is toxic to house pets, so it should be kept well out of their reach. Some people believe that the plant brings luck and good fortune, especially when placed in the money corner of the house under the principles of feng shui. The location of the money corner varies, depending on the profile of the dweller, and since feng shui is incredibly variable and complex, many people like to hire consultants to help them set up the best scheme in their homes.

Mary McMahon
Mary McMahon

Ever since she began contributing to the site several years ago, Mary has embraced the exciting challenge of being a researcher and writer. Mary has a liberal arts degree from Goddard College and spends her free time reading, cooking, and exploring the great outdoors.

Mary McMahon
Mary McMahon

Ever since she began contributing to the site several years ago, Mary has embraced the exciting challenge of being a researcher and writer. Mary has a liberal arts degree from Goddard College and spends her free time reading, cooking, and exploring the great outdoors.

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Discussion Comments

Audrey555

Good Afternoon. With the bamboo plant should I take clip off the yellowish leaves or just try to save the plant?

Audrey555

Good Afternoon I'm writing to say thank you for the posted article reference to bamboo plants.It was very helpful!

anon35909

Good Afternoon. I'm writing to say thank you for the posted article reference to bamboo plants. It was very helpful.

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      Woman with a flower