Chet Notes The Greenhouse

Caring for Your Lucky Bamboo

July 22, 2015


Lucky Bamboo (Dracaena Sanderiana) is an easy to care for, unique household plant. A native to Cameroon in West Africa, it has become widely popular because of it’s Feng Shui association. It can be grown both hydroponically or in soil, which allows for many decorative container options.

Light Requirements: Whether grown in water or in soil, Lucky Bamboo requires bright, indirect light. In it’s bright native environment it is surrounded by plants that shade from direct exposure to the sun. Too much sunlight can cause leaves to burn, however, too little light can cause weak growth, poor color, and stretching.

Water Requirements: When grown in water, levels should be consistently at least a couple of inches, and roots should be covered. The water should be changed completely every few weeks. Unfortunately, Lucky Bamboo can be sensitive to the chemicals and salts present in tap water, therefore distilled water or rainwater should be used if possible. Leaves should also be misted every few days if there is a lack of humidity.

When Lucky Bamboo is grown in soil, it should be kept moderately moist. A good rule of thumb is to stick your finger into the soil, approximately an inch down; if soil feels dry, water. It is also important for Lucky Bamboo in soil to have good drainage, and the bamboo should be misted every few days.

Fertilizer Requirements: Lucky Bamboo does not require much fertilizer and can normally survive on pure water for quite a while. Yellow leaves are an indication of over fertilization. If this occurs, change the water in your bamboo plant and do not fertilize again for several months. For Lucy Bamboo planted in water, a little dirty aquarium water or diluted water-soluble house plant fertilizer every few months will be sufficient. The same is true for Lucky Bamboo in soil, however it must be done once a month.

lucky bamboo plants utica ny

Problems, Pests and Diseases:

Yellow Leaves – Too much light or fertilizer. To fix this, place more distance between the bamboo and the light, or replace water with distilled water and don’t fertilize for several months.

Stalks yellow from top to bottom – Too much fertilizer. To fix this, replace with distilled water and don’t fertilize. At this point, it is often too late for lucky bamboo to recover, it is better to cut the green top of and start a new plant. If you have more than one stalk in a container, but only one is yellow, remove the yellow stalk and change the water.

Brown or Mushy stalks – Root-rot, roots have rotted from over-fertilization or over watering (plants potted in soil). To fix this, cut the healthy tops off and root new plants.

White sticky substance on stalks, snail-looking growth on stalks or cottony substance on stalks – Insects and spider mites can be a problem for lucky bamboo, although it is a rare occurrence. To remedy this, clean the container and pebbles with soapy water and rinse completely. Gently wipe each stalk with soapy water and rinse well. Place the clean stalks in the container and fill with distilled water or rainwater.

Algae growing in water and on container – Too much fertilizer and light, algae grows in nutrient rich water with ample light. To remedy this, clean container and stalks as above, and consider moving the plant a little farther away from it’s light source, or move to an opaque container.


Temperature – Lucky Bamboo grows best in moderate temperatures. Normal household temperatures are fine, however, avoid doorways and air vents due to rapid temperature changes.

Propogation – New Lucky Bamboo can be created through vegetative propogation. Begin by finding a node – the raised rings that grow around the stalk – and make a cut about an inch above the node. This will create a top and bottom. Leave the bottom in the original container, it will have no leaves and after a few days will need to be lightly misted to encourage new growth. The tops will have all the leaves, and should be dipped in rooting hormone, dried overnight and placed in original container or new container.

Love the look of lucky bamboo, or have someone in mind with a new home? This plant is a great gift for housewarming or well wishes of luck. Stop into our store, give us a call, or visit our website to order!



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