Lucky Bamboo Care

My Garden Life
December 21, 2022
Table of Contents
Lucky bamboo plants are not bamboo, but rather a type of dracaena plant (Dracaena sanderiana). That means how to take care of your lucky bamboo is similar to other dracaenas.

Lucky Bamboo Care Guide

How Often to Water Lucky Bamboo in Soil

small lucky bamboo potted in soil

Lucky bamboo grows in soil or water alone. How often you water lucky bamboo in soil depends on how long it takes for the soil to dry out. Water a lucky bamboo in soil when the top inch of soil is dry to the touch. Pour a little water at a time until it trickles from the holes in the bottom of the pot. Wait to water again until you test the top inch of soil with your finger and it’s dry.

How to Take Care of a Bamboo Plant in Water

lucky bamboo growing in gravel and water
If your bamboo plant is growing in water, keep the roots always covered with water. Dump the water and refill it with fresh water every two weeks. Use distilled water or rainwater, to prevent the fluoride in tap water from turning the leaf tips brown.
Sunlight eventually causes algae to grow in water. It’s a natural occurrence and a sign the water is due to be changed. Replace the water, plus scrub and rinse any rocks submerged in the water. To prevent the water from turning green, move the plant to a less sunny spot.

How to Take Care of a Bamboo Plant in Rocks

close up of lucky bamboo stems in rocks
Some lucky bamboo plants have rocks on top of their soil. These glued rocks hold the plant in place during shipping. It does create some problems when it comes to judging the water needs of the plant. When lucky bamboo is grown in soil, we recommend removing the rocks. This allows the moisture in the soil surface to be tested for watering.
To remove the rocks, soak them in water and carefully pry them apart. Now that you can touch the soil, test the soil with your fingertip and water whenever the top inch is dry. Fluoride in tap water can make the leaf tips turn brown. To prevent this, water your lucky bamboo with distilled water or rainwater instead.

Lucky Bamboo Fertilizer

Indoor bamboo plants don’t need much fertilizer. Dilute an all-purpose houseplant food to 1/10 the strength directed on the label. Apply this diluted fertilizer every three months for lucky bamboo in water or every month for lucky bamboo grown in soil.

Does Lucky Bamboo Need Sunlight

lucky bamboo plant in the windowsill of an urban apartment
Place your lucky bamboo plant in a bright location, but not directly in sunlight. Too much direct light will burn the leaves. If the bamboo leaves turn yellow overnight, move the plant further from its light source. If you’d like to grow a lucky bamboo on a desk or table in a windowless room, then you can with the help of artificial light.

Ongoing Lucky Bamboo Plant Care

Lucky Bamboo plants need minimal maintenance. Simply remove dead or yellowed leaves, as needed. If the plant becomes top heavy with too many leaves over time, use sterile scissors to trim side shoots one inch above the base. Cut the offshoots only, not the main stalk.

Help for an Unhealthy Lucky Bamboo

Lucky Bamboo Leaves Turning Yellow

potted lucky bamboo with leaves turning yellow
If your bamboo leaves are turning yellow over time, it may be caused by minerals and fluoride in tap water. To avoid leaf yellowing, use distilled water or rainwater. If the entire stem and leaves of the lucky bamboo suddenly turned yellow overnight, then your plant may have been sunburned. Move your lucky bamboo away from direct sunlight.

Lucky Bamboo Stem Turning Yellow

close up of lucky bamboo stems withering and turning yellow
If the stem of a lucky bamboo turns yellow from the base of the stalk up, then the plant may have been over-fertilized. Change the water immediately and do not fertilize the plant for a couple of months.

Lucky Bamboo Stem Turning Brown

sickly lucky bamboo plant with yellow and brown leaves
When a lucky bamboo’s stem turns brown, it’s a sign of the roots rotting from over-fertilization or over-watering in plants potted in soil. It’s a drastic situation and the plant may not be savable, but it doesn’t hurt to try. Cut off the unhealthy, brown stem and attempt to start new roots by setting the remaining healthy stem in water.

Propagating and Dividing Lucky Bamboo Plants

Lucky bamboo cutting rooting in water glass on a table
If the plant is getting too tall, cut an offshoot from the main stem one inch above the node (the rings along the stem). Set the newly cut stalk in two inches of water and wait for the roots to grow. In a few weeks, the new plant is ready to continue growing in water alone or potted in soil.
Multiple stalks can be split into more than one pot if desired.

How & When to Repot Lucky Bamboo

lucky bamboo growing in pot of gravel
  • When bamboo stems or roots are restricted by the current container, then you should transfer your plant to a larger pot.
  • If your lucky bamboo plant is growing in just water, simply move it to a new container with fresh water.
  • If your lucky bamboo plant is growing in rocks, remove the rocks and scrub them to clean, place your plant in the new container (or trim back the roots to use the same container) and replace the rocks.
  • If you are growing lucky bamboo in soil, dampen the soil and remove the plant from the pot. Repot with rich, well-draining soil that holds the right amount of moisture and nutrients without remaining soggy or wet.
Lucky bamboo is a trendy and vibrant addition to your plant collection, but have you ever considered what your houseplants say about who you are? Discover what your houseplants say about your style!
stylish room with a decorative white vase filled with lucky bamboo stalks


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