If you are a beginner houseplant gardener, then you must be shopping around for the best and most natural plant to care for. You probably can’t wait to try your hands on various plants to determine the best among them. As a beginner, you want something that will not give you a lot of headaches and the Lucky Bamboo plant is among those that perfectly fit the bill.
And just so that we are on the same page, a Lucky Bamboo plant is not really a Bamboo – yes, you heard right! They only resemble the real thing albeit slightly. There is some resemblance on the stems and stalks.
The Chinese know this lookalike miniature Bamboo plant as fu gui zhu. And, in the terms that you can understand, “rich noble bamboo.” So what has the little Bamboo, that isn’t really a Bamboo, has to do with the Chinese?
The Lucky Bamboo plants have been part of the Chinese culture for centuries but have become something of a trend on the last two decades. According to the Feng Shui masters, the houseplant is among those recommended to enhance the flow of your positive energy in the room that you spend a significant amount of time – like an office or living room.
The Chinese believe that this little, easy-to-care houseplant is a source of good fortune – another incentive to go all out and try it.
The Number of Stalks
According to the Chinese, the number of stalks on the Lucky Bamboo Plant has different meanings. This may not matter to you but who needs bad luck anyway? You can choose one stem to symbolize staying in power, protection, wealth and longevity – the good things that you definitely want, no?
In a three stalk arrangement, the smaller one is your past, the middle one, your present and the tallest, your future.
And there is a five stalk arrangement from the smallest to the tallest in this order: the past incarnations, your past, your present, your future and your next life.
Four stems are considered bad luck and should probably avoid this arrangement.
Decorations and their Meanings
- Gold is for wealth regarding family and money
- Red maximizes prosperity and good fortune
- Blue underscores knowledge and loyalty
What you will need to start you off
One common misconception is that Lucky Bamboo plants are aquatic and can thrive in water. However, this is not actually the case. These plants may grow in places with a lot of water, but their ideal is moist soil. Avoid the temptation to keep the growth medium in the pot damp with water as that may drown your Lucky Bamboo – bad luck then?
Pick the pot size that can hold the stalks appropriately and leave a little room. Ideally, about an inch of space is sufficient. The pot should have several drainage holes and put a layer of some broken pottery, gravel, and pebbles at the bottom to enhance this drainage.
The growing medium you choose should be labeled fast draining. Alternatively, a mixture of perlite or sand with the soils will work perfectly well.
How to Care for the Lucky Bamboo
- Humidity: the Lucky Bamboo houseplant loves water. Therefore, its ideal is a humid environment. Too dry an area is bad for the plant and can make the strips dry out. Use a spray bottle with filtered water to keep it moist. Avoid tap water – it may contain chlorine and fluoride that can cause tip burns.
- Temperature: the ideal temperature for Lucky Bamboo is warm. However, it is necessary to keep away from dry heat such as the lamp. The plant is a sucker for freezing temperatures and so be sure to keep it away from it.
- Lighting: the plant loves bright light, and so you should be wise and not keep it away from light. It can tolerate low lighting conditions, but it will not thrive as it should. Keep it away from the scorching hot sun so that it can maintain its lush green color. Such locations as near the window are perfect.
- Water: this is one factor that divides opinion into several parts. A section of the houseplant gardeners believes you should keep changing the water after several days. Depending on the weather, a two months gap is not too bad. If the temperatures are scorching, then it should be after several days – five to seven will do perfectly. And to avoid tipping, always use distilled water.
- Nutrients: there is a tendency for new houseplants gardeners to overfeed the plants with fertilizer. Frankly, this can kill the plant faster than tap water – we talked about tap water! If need be, use the appropriate liquid fertilizer like Super Green but dilute it to reduce the strength. The best time for feeding is when changing the water – depending on your frequency.
- Dealing with bugs: typical for dracaenas which the houseplant belongs, an infestation of pests such as spider mites can happen. If not properly cared for, your Lucky bamboo can have scale and mealy bugs, as well.Before you run to the stores for a pesticide, try bathing the plant first – some pesticides are too toxic for your Bamboo, and yes bathing can do the trick.For bathing, you will need a large bowl, some mild soap and several paper towels. Don’t forget to clean the pebbles and gravels as well – they also need a good scrubbing to make sure the pest problem is a goner.
- Making the stems curl: you may be among those fascinated by the curls and may want your Lucky Bamboo to adorn them – would obviously be pretty appealing. However, you must be a patient individual as this process take time and effort – mostly time!To produce the curls, lay the plant on its side and it will start to curl towards the light. Make sure to shade appropriately so that it can try to get to the light. As the plant attempts to grow towards the light, turn it. Keep turning it periodically until your desired curls are produced.To be honest, producing your own curls is not an easy task. This dracaena grows at least six inches every year in ideal conditions – do your math on how long you will have to wait for your near perfect curls. It would be so much easier to loosen the purse strings and fork out the extra cash for a curved Lucky Bamboo.
- Propagating: with adequate care, the stalks can grow tall and eventually become overcrowded to provide the appropriate care. You can cut the tallest among them and replant them in another pot.To replant them, you will need to cut the shoot and top leaves with a pair of scissors or blunt knife. Then place the cutting in a pot of distilled water. It should take about two months to see the shoot.
Lucky Bamboo plants are definitely some of the easiest and cost-effective houseplants you can have. If you a beginner, this is unquestionably one of the best to start you off. After all, you will be in need of that good luck the plant brings along.