Setting Up and Choosing Your Lucky Bamboo
Lucky bamboo charmed its way into the hearts of plant lovers because it requires only basic care to thrive. Just stick the stems in some water, surround them with pebbles for support, and watch them grow.
Look for a plant with bright green leaves. If the leaves or stems are yellow or brown, this means that the plant is unhealthy. The plant has likely been shipped from China or Taiwan, so it's been through quite a trek. Professional growers take the stalks and braid and curl them into intricate designs. Larger, more intricate designs result in some lucky bamboo plants costing hundreds and hundreds of dollars. A plant kept in a pot can grow up to 3 feet high. If it's grown in soil outside, it may reach a height of up to 5 feet.
Decide if you want to grow it hydroponically or with soil. It's probably easiest and a little clearner to grow in water and stones, though it can also grow in soil. Ultimately, it's up to you and will likely be determined by the pot or vase you have available.
- If you do go the stone route, the container should have enough stones or marbles in the bottom to stabilize it. The lucky bamboo will need at least 1 to 3 inches (3-8 cm) of water to thrive.
- If you want to grow it in soil, well-drained, rich potting soil is best. It needs to stay moist but not soaking at all times. Use organic fertilizer when needed; salts and high phosphorus concentrations in synthetic fertilizers can cause deterioration. Also, you can be sure your soil drains well by simply adding some small rocks to the bottom of the pot.
Use the right container. Put the lucky bamboo in a tall glass vase or ceramic container, no shallow bowls, or leave it in the container it comes in. A clear container is great if you just want to grow the plant hydroponically with some decorative stones; use a regular terra cotta pot if you want to grow it in soil.
- Keep in mind that the plant needs to be stabilized at its peak height. Your container should be at least 1 foot (30 cm) in height.
- Using soil? Fill the pot up most of the way with your rich soil and make sure it can drain well.
Choose the right spot. Lucky bamboo do best in bright, filtered sunlight, think of the light that creeps through the top of a forest canopy. Direct sunlight will scorch the leaves. And as for temperature, keep it away from the air conditioning or vent. This plant prefers an air temperature between 65ºF and 90ºF. If you want to control the curl of your plant, use a three-sided box (a box with a side cut out). The plant will then bend toward the light. As it curves, change the side the sunlight faces, and the plant will curve back