Lucky Bamboo Care Guide to Make Your Plant Thrive

Updated March 15, 2022
lucky bamboo care

Lucky bamboo is a resilient plant that needs little care to maintain its rich green color and lovely visual appeal. As an important plant for good feng shui, it's often referred to as the bamboo money tree. To enjoy the positive benefits of feng shui, or just savor its beauty, knowing the right lucky bamboo care techniques and rules ensures your plant will be strong and vital. Care for a lucky bamboo plant is not difficult, and it has very simple requirements for its environment. The best growing conditions for lucky bamboo are very easy to accommodate, with water and rocks being the most popular environment.

How to Care for Bamboo Plant in Rocks

Lucky bamboo is easily grown in rocks and needs only minimal care to remain vital. Once you choose your waterproof vase or pot for your lucky bamboo, arrange the stalks as you wish with an inch or two of clearance above the bottom to allow roots to grow, and add rocks to support them - add enough rocks to support the stalks on their own. Pour water in the vase or pot until it comes close to the top of the rocks. It's important to change the water every 14 days in cooler weather, and 7-10 days when it's warm, as warm temperatures encourage unwanted algae growth. When changing the lucky bamboo water, make sure the rocks are free from algae by rinsing them carefully, and wiping clean if necessary.

What Kind of Rocks to Use For Lucky Bamboo

Lucky bamboo houseplant in modern living

Small polished stones or pebbles are ideal for growing lucky bamboo in water. The key to keeping your plant healthy in rocks is to keep the rocks free of algae and slime. Marbles and smooth glass stones can also be used for growing your plant in water, and can give it a designer look.

Growing Lucky Bamboo in Aquarium

Lucky bamboo is a popular addition to aquariums and is simple to care for but not care-free, It is best suited for larger freshwater aquariums. There is disagreement in the fish-keeping community whether lucky bamboo is better grown partially or fully submerged. There are very specific requirements to successfully grow lucky bamboo in an aquarium, for both the health of the plant and the fish, so learning the requirements is important when adding lucky bamboo to a shared living environment.

How Often to Water Your Bamboo Plant

Man Watering a Lucky Bamboo

Use filtered, bottled, or rainwater for your lucky bamboo plant. This is important for a healthy lucky bamboo plant.

  • Add fresh, clean water to your bamboo plant two or three times each week.
  • It is important to keep several inches of water in the container, making sure to keep the roots of the plant wet.
  • Change the water every seven to 10 days to keep your lucky bamboo in top condition, and 14 in cooler conditions.

Watering Lucky Bamboo in a Vase

Lucky Bamboo in Interiors of a bathroom

If you grow your lucky bamboo plant in a vase, keep the water levels low. The roots of a lucky bamboo plant grow wherever it contacts water. Choose a vase that has enough height to support the bamboo stalks, and wide enough to allow watering.

Lucky Bamboo Light Requirements

Modern office desk with lamp and vase of Lucky-bamboo

Indirect light at moderate levels is best for a lucky bamboo plant.

  • Never place your plant on a sunny windowsill as the direct sunlight is too strong and the leaves will scorch.
  • Preferring low light, lucky bamboo plants can also thrive with artificial light from a lamp.
  • If the bamboo leaves are fading to a light green color, the plant is not getting enough light.
  • Insufficient light also causes slow plant growth. In many cases, the plant will not grow in height or produce any new leaves.

To remedy these problems, simply move the plant to a location with more indirect light.

Maintain an Ideal Temperature for Your Lucky Bamboo

The optimum temperature for a bamboo plant is between 65 to 90 degrees Fahrenheit. Lucky bamboo plants may not survive in temperatures below 55 degrees Fahrenheit and should never be placed in front of an air conditioner. Just as direct sunlight should be avoided, extreme heat should also be avoided. Never place your plant near a heat source, such as a heating vent or wood stove.

Provide Humidity

 Spray lucky bamboo plant

If it's particularly dry, consider spritzing your bamboo leaves with a little distilled water occasionally to keep the environment more humid.

Fertilizer Is Optional

Lucky bamboo does not require any regular fertilizer and can survive for years in nothing but clean water. If you do choose to fertilize your plant, use only fertilizers made for lucky bamboo. A plant food called Green Green is popular with many growers of lucky bamboo plants.

Lucky Bamboo Problems

Modern living room with vase of Lucky bamboo

Lucky bamboo problems occur for a number of reasons; take precautions to prevent and fix any issues that arise while caring for your plant. From algae to the wrong water, learn how to combat the problems which can take hold in your plant through a variety of ways.

Too Much Light

Since lucky bamboo is generally grown hydroponically at nurseries and green houses, most people keep their bamboo in a vase of water and pebbles when they bring it home. The type of vase your lucky bamboo lives in makes a big difference in preventing an algae problem. Clear vases expose the water in the vase to too much light. The light reacts with the algae spores, causing them to bloom or grow.

Too Little Light

While too much light can cause algae growth, not enough light can cause your bamboo to fade in color. While you need to keep your bamboo is an opaque vase, you also need to ensure it gets plenty of indirect light, meaning it can be near, but not in, a window.

Too Many Nutrients

Algae also thrive in nutrient rich water. Phosphates and nitrates are a favorite food source of algae. Many plant foods contain both nitrates and phosphates; overfeeding your lucky bamboo could be the cause of your algae problem, in addition to yellowing of the leaves.

Using the Wrong Water for Lucky Bamboo

If your lucky bamboo is suddenly showing yellowing leaves, this could be caused by using the wrong water. Tap water is full of things like chlorine and fluoride, which can cause your bamboo to begin to yellow or turn brown. Using distilled or filtered water will prevent this yellowing from occurring.

If you must use tap water and you know it has high levels of chlorine, keep it in a container on the counter for 24 hours before using it. This allows time for the chlorine in the water to evaporate. If your water is high in fluoride, do not use it for your plant. Fluoride will cause your lucky bamboo to turn brown and it does not evaporate.

Lucky Bamboo Troubleshooting

Bamboo in Water

If you already have problems with your lucky bamboo, try these solutions:

  • Change the vase: If you don't have another vase handy, simply take the bamboo out of its vase, then wash the vase with a warm water and a tiny bit of mild soap. Be sure to rinse thoroughly. Then add the bamboo back to the clean vase.
  • Change the water frequently. Remember to use distilled or filtered water.
  • Move the plant: If the bamboo is in a spot exposed to a lot of direct sunlight, which encourages algae growth, move the plant to an area that receives indirect sunlight. If your plant is not growing well, or has begun to fade in color, move it to another source of indirect light instead.

How Long Does Lucky Bamboo Live?

If you care for your lucky bamboo plant properly, it can live for several years. Regularly starting new plants from your lucky bamboo cuttings can provide you with a perpetual supply of plants for your home.

A Gift of Lucky Bamboo

When you take good care of your lucky bamboo plant, you are rewarded with a plant that attracts positive energy and adds beauty to your home. Lucky bamboo is often given as a gift to encourage good luck. Unlike other popular plant gifts, this easy-care plant requires very little to keep it happy and healthy, making it an excellent choice. As your lucky bamboo grows, it's easy to start new plants to give as gifts, while performing basic trimming and maintenance.

Read next: Discover lucky indoor plants that improve your home's feng shui vibe.

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Lucky Bamboo Care Guide to Make Your Plant Thrive