Lucky Bamboo Care: Growing Tips & Care

By: HowStuffWorks  | 
lucky bamboo
Gifting Tradition: According to some traditions, gifting lucky bamboo shares good luck and positive energy with the recipient. sansubba / Getty Images

Are you ready to bring good fortune, positive energy and a touch of nature into your home? Lucky bamboo, a popular and low-maintenance plant, is not only a symbol of good luck, but also an excellent addition to any indoor space. Discover the secrets to growing and caring for this auspicious gift, as we guide you through everything from its origin and symbolism to creative designs and troubleshooting common issues. Let’s embark on this journey to nurture and enjoy the beauty of lucky bamboo.

Short Summary

  • Lucky bamboo is a unique and popular plant native to Africa, with low light requirements for optimal health.
  • Provide bright, indirect light. Temperature range of 65°F to 90°F (18°C to 32°C); humidity levels of around 50 percent; high quality water; equal parts sand, peat moss and regular soil for optimal moisture and nourishment.
  • Regular pruning and maintenance are necessary to ensure the health of lucky bamboo plants. Troubleshoot yellowing leaves and pests and diseases promptly to protect against them.


The Basics of Lucky Bamboo

Lucky bamboo (Dracaena sanderiana) is a unique and versatile plant, belonging to the Asparagaceae family, which includes agave, asparagus and yucca. Despite the name, it is not an actual bamboo plant. Known for its ability to thrive in various conditions, lucky bamboo is a popular choice for indoor cultivation due to its resilience and low light requirements. Often sold as stems or arranged in water-filled containers, this plant can also grow in soil, making it a versatile option for any home or office environment.

Originating from tropical rainforests in Africa, lucky bamboo is a member of the Dracaena genus. In its natural habitat, it can grow under the rainforest canopy, shielded from direct sunlight; the plant prefers bright, filtered light when grown indoors. The ease of maintenance makes lucky bamboo an ideal choice for beginners and experienced plant enthusiasts alike, as you can propagate it in water or soil, depending on personal preference. However, it is crucial to be mindful of water quality when cultivating lucky bamboo, as yellow leaves could be a sign of improper care.


Apart from its ease of maintenance, lucky bamboo holds a significant place in Chinese culture and feng shui, symbolizing good fortune and positive energy. The number of stalks in a lucky bamboo arrangement carries different meanings, with each one representing a specific aspect of life, such as happiness, wealth and longevity. Hence, it makes a thoughtful and meaningful gift for various occasions.

Origin and Species

Lucky bamboo’s origins trace back to the tropical rainforests of Africa, where it grows under the protection of the rainforest canopy. This natural preference for indirect sunlight has allowed it to thrive as an indoor plant, as it does not require direct exposure to the sun.

The species, previously known as Dracaena braunii, is a member of the Dracaena genus. It is essential to provide your lucky bamboo plant with the right growing conditions, mimicking its natural habitat, for optimal growth and health.

Symbolism and Feng Shui

Incorporating lucky bamboo into your home or workspace is not only aesthetically pleasing, but also holds great significance in Chinese culture and feng shui. According to these beliefs, a five-stalked lucky bamboo represents the five natural elements — earth, fire, metal, water and wood — which are essential for creating harmony and balance in one’s environment.

Each stalk in a lucky bamboo arrangement has a specific meaning, and the combination of these meanings can bring good fortune, prosperity and positive energy to any space. When gifting lucky bamboo, it is important to choose an arrangement with an appropriate number of stalks to convey your well wishes, as certain numbers are considered auspicious while others are associated with bad luck.


Optimal Growing Conditions

To ensure the health and longevity of your lucky bamboo plant, it is crucial to provide optimal growing conditions. Lucky bamboo prefers bright, filtered sunlight, similar to that found beneath a rainforest canopy, where it originates from. Prolonged exposure to direct sunlight can lead to scorching, causing leaves to turn yellow and wilt. Thus, it is essential to place your plant in a location that receives bright, indirect light, away from direct sunlight.

Temperature and humidity also play a significant role in the well-being of your lucky bamboo plant. The ideal temperature range for lucky bamboo is 65°F to 90°F (18°C to 32°C), with humidity levels around 50 percent. Maintaining these conditions will ensure your plant thrives and remains healthy, while also minimizing the risk of pests and diseases.


Regular maintenance is key to the health and growth of your lucky bamboo plant. It requires moderate or indirect illumination, slightly moist soil and a weak liquid fertilizer and fresh water replenishment every week. By providing your plant with the necessary care and attention, you will get a thriving, beautiful addition to your home or office space.

Light Requirements

Lucky bamboo thrives in bright, filtered sunlight, which mimics the conditions under the rainforest canopy in its natural habitat. Exposure to direct sunlight can cause the leaves to scorch and turn yellow, negatively affecting the plant’s health. To avoid such issues, place your lucky bamboo in a location with bright, indirect light, away from direct sunlight and too much sun.

Providing your healthy plant with the right amount of light, avoiding too much sunlight, will contribute to its overall health and well-being.

Temperature and Humidity

Maintaining the ideal temperature and humidity levels is crucial for the growth and health of your lucky bamboo plant. It prefers a temperature range of 65°F to 90°F (18°C to 32°C) and humidity levels at about 50 percent. To achieve these conditions, place your plant in a location away from drafts, air conditioners, heating vents or windows prone to drafts.

By providing a stable environment with the right temperature and humidity levels, you will ensure your lucky bamboo plant remains healthy and vibrant.


Watering and Soil Needs

When it comes to watering and soil needs, lucky bamboo plants can be quite versatile. They can grow in well-drained, fertile potting soil or in a container filled with pebbles and water. The choice between soil and water cultivation depends on your personal preference and the desired look for your plant.

It is important to ensure that the soil mixture has adequate drainage for soil cultivation. For water cultivation, maintaining the right water level is crucial, with the water level recommended to be 1 to 2 inches above the roots.


Water Quality

Water quality is an essential aspect of lucky bamboo care, as the plant is sensitive to chemicals present in tap water, such as chlorine and fluoride. These chemicals can be harmful to the plant and may cause leaves to turn yellow or brown.

To avoid such issues, use bottled, filtered or rainwater for your lucky bamboo plant. By providing your plant with high-quality water, you will ensure its health and longevity.

Soil Selection

Choosing the right soil for your lucky bamboo plant is crucial for its overall health and growth. A nutrient-rich soil with excellent drainage is ideal, allowing for the optimal amount of moisture and nourishment without becoming overly saturated or wet.

You can create a well-draining soil mixture by combining equal parts of sand, peat moss and regular soil. Providing your lucky bamboo plant with the right soil conditions will contribute to its health and vibrant appearance.


Creative Lucky Bamboo Designs

One of the most appealing aspects of lucky bamboo, also known as ribbon plant, is its versatility in design. The flexible and pliable nature of the plant allows you to shape and contort it into an array of creative designs, including swirls, braids and other sculptural shapes.

By training your lucky bamboo plant into different shapes and arrangements, you can create eye-catching and unique displays for your home or office.


Twisting Techniques

Twisting lucky bamboo stalks into interesting designs is an engaging way to personalize your plant. By gently twisting the stems clockwise or counterclockwise after a few weeks of growth, you can encourage the plant to change its shape. Alternatively, you can bend or twist a segment of the plant into a spiral or curl and secure it in place with wire to create a specific shape or design.

With patience and creativity, you can transform your lucky bamboo plant into a stunning and unique piece of living art.

Braiding and Spiraling

Braiding and spiraling lucky bamboo stalks is another creative way to showcase this versatile plant. To braid lucky bamboo, select three flexible plants potted together and spaced approximately 2 inches apart. Gently braid the stems together, taking care not to damage the plant.

For a spiral effect, you can use the “open-sided box” method, where you place the plant upright and train it to spiral within the box. By experimenting with different braiding and spiraling techniques, you can create an array of captivating lucky bamboo designs.


Pruning and Maintenance

Proper pruning and maintenance are essential for the health and growth of your lucky bamboo plant. Regularly inspecting your plant for any signs of pests, diseases or damage will help you address any issues promptly and ensure the ongoing well-being of your lucky bamboo. To care for lucky bamboo effectively, it’s important to stay vigilant and proactive in your approach.

Pruning involves cutting down the stalks or stems to reduce their height or to remove dead leaves, which can contribute to the overall health and appearance of your plant.


Pruning Techniques

To prune your lucky bamboo plant, use sharp, sterile pruning shears to cut offshoots, trimming them back to within an inch or two of the main stem. This will help maintain the desired shape of your plant and control its height.

If you wish to prevent regrowth of a pruned lucky bamboo stalk, dipping the cut end in paraffin will protect it from pests and disease. Regular pruning will keep your lucky bamboo plant looking its best and promote healthy growth.

Regular Maintenance

In addition to pruning, it is important to clean containers, change water and rotate your lucky bamboo plant for even lighting. Clean the container and pebbles with a 10 percent bleach solution and rinse thoroughly to maintain a healthy environment for your plant.

Change the water every week, ensuring it is fresh and free from contaminants. Rotating your plant will also ensure that it receives even lighting, promoting balanced growth and a healthy appearance.


Propagation and Gifting

Lucky bamboo is not only a beautiful and low-maintenance plant, but also an ideal choice for sharing the joy with friends and family. Propagation of this auspicious plant is simple, as it can be done through stem cuttings during the growing season.

By propagating and gifting lucky bamboo, you can spread happiness, strength, health, affection and success to those you care for.


Stem Cutting Propagation

To propagate lucky bamboo through stem cuttings, first, cut the offshoot as close to its base as possible using a sharp, sterile tool. Place the cutting in a container of water, ensuring it is in a warm, well-lit location. Within a few weeks, new roots will begin to form, allowing you to transplant the cutting into a new container filled with water or soil, depending on your preference.

By propagating your lucky bamboo, you can expand your collection or share this beautiful plant with others.

Gifting Lucky Bamboo

Lucky bamboo makes a thoughtful and meaningful gift for various occasions, such as housewarming parties, birthdays, anniversaries and other auspicious events. When gifting the plant, choose from lucky bamboo arrangements with an appropriate number of stalks, as certain numbers are considered auspicious while others are associated with bad luck.

With its easy-going nature and the ability to thrive in various conditions, lucky bamboo is a beautiful and symbolic gift that will bring good fortune, prosperity, and positive energy to any recipient.


Troubleshooting Common Issues

As with any plant, lucky bamboo may occasionally face some common issues. Lucky bamboo growers come across water quality issues, water changes and pest infestations. By being aware of these potential problems and taking the necessary steps to address them, you can ensure the ongoing health and well-being of your lucky bamboo plant.

Yellowing Leaves

Yellow leaves on your lucky bamboo plant can be a sign of several issues, such as too much fertilizer, high levels of chlorine or fluoride in the water or excessive direct sunlight. To remedy this problem, cease fertilization, switch to filtered water or relocate your plant to an area with reduced light.


By addressing the underlying cause of the yellow leaves, you can restore your lucky bamboo plant to its healthy, vibrant state.

Pests and Diseases

Pests and diseases — such as aphids, mealybugs, scale insects and root rot — can sometimes affect lucky bamboo plants. To treat these issues, remove the infected area and apply a natural pesticide, soap, or rubbing alcohol depending on the plant’s condition.

Regularly inspecting your plant for signs of pests and diseases and taking prompt action when necessary will help ensure the health and longevity of your lucky bamboo.



Caring for lucky bamboo plants is an enjoyable and rewarding experience that brings beauty, positive energy and good fortune to your home or office. By understanding the basics of lucky bamboo, providing optimal growing conditions, maintaining proper watering and soil needs, experimenting with creative designs, and addressing common issues, you can ensure the health and longevity of your plant. Share the joy and prosperity by propagating and gifting lucky bamboo to friends and family, and let this auspicious plant brighten your life and the lives of those around you.

This article was created using AI technology, then fact-checked and edited by a HowStuffWorks editor.