Native to Southeast Asia, the lucky bamboo plant has been valued for 4,000 years as a sign of good luck by Asians. The scientific name for the plant is Dracaena sanderiana, and it is a type of lily. Lucky bamboo is used in feng shui. The plant often is arranged with the upright stalks jutting from a low, shallow container filled with rocks and water. The number and decoration of the bamboo stalks in an arrangement carry special significance.
A bamboo stalk symbolizes the element of wood. A ribbon placed on the stalk of a bamboo plant symbolizes fire, which is thought to enhance the stalk.
The number of lucky bamboo stalks arranged together is thought to bring different blessings. Three stalks placed together symbolize happiness. Five stalks are thought to attract wealth or health. Seven stalks may bring good health. Eight, 18, 28 or 38 stalks stand for prosperity. Twenty-one stalks bring many blessings.
Lucky bamboo can be shaped into spirals and hearts by laying the stalks on their sides and controlling exposure to light. The plant will grow toward a source of light, so turning the plants as they grow produces different shapes.