Guest Author - Carol M. Olmstead
Lucky bamboo is a popular and now widely available plant that many people associate with Feng Shui and good fortune. Much of the popularity of lucky bamboo results from the fact that it is easy to grow. The ultimate low-maintenance plant, lucky bamboo can survive under almost any light conditions. Lucky bamboo is believed to bring good luck and fortune when given as a gift to friends, family, or co-workers.
Lucky bamboo is not really a bamboo but actually a member of the Dracena family, Dracaena sanderiana. This plant brings lively chi energy into your home or office and asks little in return. Thatís why you find it in office lobbies, on desks, in retail store, as well as in homes. Lucky bamboo plants have a well-earned reputation as nearly indestructible. These tough stalks can survive in vases of water or in soil and under a wide variety of light conditions. Even a poorly kept lucky bamboo plant will live for a long time.
The vast majority of lucky bamboo plants are shipped in from Taiwan or China, where professional growers braid and twist and curl their stalks into a multitude of shapes. Although most are grown in water, lucky bamboo can be potted in soil. Only one caution about lucky bamboo leaves is that leaves are mildly toxic, so they should not be kept in a place where pets or young children might try to "sample" them.
How to Care For Lucky Bamboo
Light: Lucky bamboo prefers bright, filtered sunlight and is more tolerant of too little light than too much. Avoid direct sunlight since it can scorch the leaves.
Water: Lucky bamboo can grow indefinitely in a vase filled with at least an inch of water and pebbles for support. However, because it is highly sensitive to chlorine and other chemicals commonly found in tap water itís best to give your lucky bamboo distilled water, or tap water that has been left out for 24 hours to allow the chlorine to evaporate. Change the water weekly. Healthy lucky bamboo roots are red, so don't be concerned if you grow your plant in a glass container and see red roots.
Temperature: Lucky bamboo likes warmer temperatures of between 65 degrees Fahrenheit and 90 degrees Fahrenheit. Avoid placing your plant in front of air conditioning or heating vents.
Potting: In addition to water, lucky bamboo can be grown in a well-drained, rich potting soil. Keep the soil moist, but avoid soaking it.
Fertilizer: Plants grown in water need fertilizer once every other month, using a single drop of liquid fertilizer. Special lucky bamboo fertilizers are available.
Trimming: When the plant becomes top heavy trim the offshoots with clean trimmers, and avoid cutting the main stalk.
Problems: The most common problems related to lucky bamboo are connected to chlorinated or dirty water. Brown leaves usually indicate polluted water. Dead leaves should never be allowed to rot in the water since this might introduce bacteria. If algae is growing in the water it's usually because the plant is growing in a clear vase, allowing light to penetrate. To solve this problem switch to an opaque container.
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