How to care lucky bamboo

Lucky Bamboo Care Tips and Instructions.

One reason Lucky Bamboo is so popular is its reputation for being low-maintenance however like any other plant, Lucky Bamboo needs light, water, and nutrients to survive.

1. LIGHT: Lucky Bamboo will do best with moderate levels of indirect light. In the natural world it grows in dense shade under the thick rainforest canopy of equatorial Africa. Direct light — such as a sunny windowsill — is too strong for it. Lucky Bamboo will tolerate little light more easily than too much light. You can even keep Lucky Bamboo in rooms with no natural light; just move it to a brighter (but not in direct light!) location for three or four days every few weeks. If you want your Lucky Bamboo to grow, however, it will need to be at the higher end of its light-range. It may survive very low light, but it won’t put out new leaves or get any taller.

2. WATER: Lucky Bamboo grows very well in water, but it doesn’t like the chemicals – chlorine and fluoride, to name just two – present in most tap water. Filtered water or rain water will keep your Lucky Bamboo healthy longer. If you don’t have a water filtration system, plan ahead and run tap water into a container the day before you water your Lucky Bamboo plants, and let it sit out, uncovered, at least overnight or for 24 hours to allow the chemicals to disperse.
Keep an eye on the water level in your Lucky Bamboo container, and add a little more as it gets down to about half-full; how often will depend on the size of your arrangement and the humidity in your home. Every week or so, pour all the water out and refill the container with fresh water.
If you happen to have an aquarium in your home, save some of the dirty aquarium water when you clean it, and use that to water your Lucky Bamboo. Your fish may be sensitive to all the microscopic stuff that builds up in the water, but your Lucky Bamboo will love it!
Lucky Bamboo grown in soil should be keep slightly moist, not soaking wet. Don’t allow it to dry out completely. And don’t go by whether or not the surface is dry – often the soil will still be damp a half-inch or so below the surface. Stick your finger in the soil: if it feels dry a full inch down, then it’s all right to water.

3. NUTRIENTS: Lucky Bamboo is pretty hardy, and often grows happily for years just in pure water, but it may need some kind of food eventually. If your plant gets spindly and pale after you’ve had it for a while, try moving it a little closer to a light source and give it some very diluted plant food. However, if it turns yellow shortly after you bring it home that’s usually a sign it was over-fertilized before you purchased it. Change the water immediately, and don’t fertilize at all for several months.
The best time to feed your Lucky Bamboo is when you change the water. Just add a couple of drops of aquarium plant food to the water you use to refill the container. You can also use a very dilute solution of a standard plant food. For water-grown plants, that means using 1/10th the recommended strength (i.e., if it says 10 drops per gallon, use only 1 drop per gallon for your Lucky Bamboo). If your Lucky Bamboo is growing in soil, you can use a stronger solution.

Don’t feed every time you change the water! Every 2 months-or longer– is often enough. Water-grown plants do not need to be fed as frequently as soil-grown plants, and feeding too much or too frequently is more harmful to plants than not feeding enough! Lucky Bamboo is naturally a very slow-growing plant, so don’t assume it needs to be fed just because it doesn’t seem to be growing.

(C) 2005 Stephanie Roberts Serrano


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