Lucky bamboo is not actually bamboo, but a member of the lily family native to eastern Asia. The Chinese say that lucky bamboo brings prosperity, harmony and good fortune to any who own it. It is traditional to break off a piece of the stem, which will grow back, and grant it as a gift to all guests. Lucky bamboo is primarily used as a decorative houseplant, and is very easy to grow.
Plant lucky bamboo by simply placing it in a vase filled with 1 to 3 inches of fresh water. No soil is required for growing. Rocks can be added to help hold the plant upright, or to add decoration to a clear vase. Change the water in the vase every 3 to 7 days, or when the water becomes cloudy. Fill the vase with distilled, filtered or rain water, as the added chemicals in tap water can damage the plant. Allow tap water to sit out overnight so the chlorine can evaporate, if no other water is available.
Fertilize lucky bamboo twice a year using about one drop of a liquid fertilizer. Early spring and late fall are the ideal times for fertilization. Adding fertilizer will increase the growth and color of the leaves, which will be more attractive, and supposedly bring additional good luck.
Lucky bamboo can be grown in curly or wavy designs by regulating sunlight. Start the bamboo growing in one direction by blocking three sides of the plant from all light. Place a bright light on the fourth, open side, and the plant will begin to grow towards the light. Rotate the sides once notable growth has taken place, switching the bright light to the next direction you want the bamboo to grow. Continue until a curl is finally formed, which can take up to 1 year.
- University of Wisconsin - Department of Horticulture - Lucky or Curly Bamboo
- University of Florida - Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences - Volunteer News - Lucky Bamboo
- Harmonious Environment; Norma Lehmeier-Hartie; 2007