Lucky bamboo is an easy-to-care-for and attractive plant that makes a great gift. In fact, ancient folklore and principles like Feng Shui and Vastu Shastra say the houseplant brings good fortune to the recipient. Learn how you can use this plant to bring luck, prosperity, and fortune to any home.
What is Lucky Bamboo?
Lucky bamboo isn’t actually bamboo at all. Rather, it’s a type of cane or stalk that resembles bamboo plants. These are either Dracaena sanderiana or Dracaena braunii, which are members of the lily family. Dracaena plants are more like grass whereas true bamboo is an herbaceous perennial. Today, lucky bamboo is a common houseplant with arrangements for sale everywhere you can buy plants.
This tropical plant genus comes from the rain forests of Africa, Southeast Asia, and Cameroon. It’s sometimes called Chinese water bamboo, the Goddess of Mercy plant, Belgian evergreen, the ribbon plant, and friendship bamboo.
They’ve become widely available within the last 15 years because they’re relatively indestructible and make a great gift. They’re easy to care for, so you don’t need a green thumb for the plant to thrive. Additionally, they come in various shapes and sizes, making them ideal house plants.
Many civilizations have added meaning to the plant, and there are some interesting ways you can use lucky bamboo to bring good vibes into your life. In Chinese traditions, particularly in Feng Shui, the plant is a long-time symbol of strength.
Ancient folklore says it brings good luck and prosperity to a home for around a year or so unless the plant dies. If you’re an unlucky gardener and happen to kill your lucky bamboo plant, expect 29 years of bad luck to follow. However, if you’re giving the plant as a gift, never tell the recipient they’ll receive bad luck if it dies in their hands!
Feng Shui Principles
In Feng Shui, lucky bamboo plants are used to attract positive energy, wise energy ,and peacefulness.This good energy then brings in longevity, health, happiness, peace, and prosperity to your home. If you practice Feng Shui, you can use the plant to create an arrangement that will effectively maximize the positive energy in your home and lead to a cure for your woes. The benefits of lucky bamboo in your home, like a true bamboo garden, create a soothing and transcendental feeling.
For good Feng Shui, lucky bamboo should be placed in either your “wealth and money” or “health and family” areas. This depends on what form you practice, as well as your ultimate goals. Avoid placing the plant in your bedroom. Instead, elect for a bright room in the east or south region of your home or office.
A lucky bamboo plant on the coffee table can prevent negative chi energy from accumulating in the home. This is especially helpful if you have a square or rectangle coffee table in the center of your home, preventing energy flow. In the kitchen, it represents happiness, whereas it rids a bathroom of negative energy.
The plant promotes family abundance if placed on the dining room table. If you’re seeking good fortune in business or wealth, however, lucky bamboo is most beneficial in your home office.
Lucky Bamboo Basic Care Information
Lucky bamboo is a low-maintenance houseplant, and grows up to 2 or 3 feet tall with little care. Place the plant in a pot filled with decorative pebbles and fresh water rather than soil. A glass vase, bowl, or shallow dish works well. Feed your plant with a diluted plant food specific for this species, as directed. Make sure temperatures remain between 65- and 90-degrees Fahrenheit for the best results, and trim dead or yellowing leaves as needed.
A room with bright indirect sunlight is best, but lucky bamboo can survive lower light settings if necessary. Never leave it in a fully darkened room! Rotate it occasionally so that sunlight evenly reaches each side of the plant. Most people have no trouble growing the plants indoors because it requires little light. This makes it a great houseplant for offices and other low-light rooms like bathrooms. Direct sunlight, however, will burn the foliage.
All you really need to do to care for your lucky bamboo plant is to completely replace the water between every two weeks. In between, refill to maintain a consistent water level of around 3 inches deep. After the plant’s roots grow larger, you can increase the amount of water in your container. The higher your stalk, the more top foliage the plant will grow and the more water you can add.
Distilled water works best because it doesn’t contain chemicals like chlorine or fluoride, which can turn the leaves brown, but tap water won’t kill it.
Although this plant is commonly planted using pebbles rather than soil, you can transplant it into soil if you plan to grow it indoors. The container you use must offer great drainage, and you’ll need to water it frequently. Most people enjoy using decorative pebbles to create designs and accent colors in the home or office. That said, growing lucky bamboo in a container is just as easy.
The Meaning Behind the Stalks
You’ll notice lucky bamboo arrangements are often grown in decorative containers filled with pebbles and water. They can grow in a low dish, bowl, or glass vase. Just make sure the vessel is proportionate to the plant’s height or the roots won’t be able to support the stalks.
The number of stalks your lucky bamboo plant has meaning as well.
Traditional Symbolic Numbers:
- A single stalk, called a lucky log, symbolizes strong life and prosperity. This type is often given as business gifts.
- Two stalks represent love and marriage.
- If you want wealth or to live a long and happy life, three stems is a lucky number for an arrangement. It’s the most common number found in a home, as it brings happiness, long life, and career promotions.
- Five stalks impact health that involves wealth and your work life. The five stalks reinforce five vital areas of your life that influence wealth: emotional, intuitive, mental, physical, and spiritual.
- Six stalks are said to bring good prosperity and greater wealth.
- Seven stalks are perfect for good health.
- Eight stalks for growth and abundance. It will also boost fertility.
- Nine stalks, the symbol for luck, brings great luck.
- Ten stalks represent perfection, leading to feelings of completeness and happiness.
- The ultimate blessing includes 21 stalks of lucky bamboo. This is a huge symbol of good wishes for you and your family, full of great wealth and enduring health.
In Chinese culture, arrangements always avoid using four stems for fear of bad luck. The word four in Chinese is similar to the word meaning death, which is why a gift of lucky bamboo with four stalks is extremely rude. Four equals negative energy.
A Few More Things About the Stalks
If your lucky bamboo also contains a spiral, curly, or wavy stalks, it was carefully grown in a greenhouse. The stalk is carefully manipulated over the course of a year to create the curling effect. Any plants with intricate braids or twists will cost more at your local nursery, although they often include a cute container as well.
The ties around the lucky bamboo stalks also hold meaning as well as serve an important function. Gold, for example, is a symbol of abundance while red ribbons signify the fire element. The latter is vital for Feng Shui balance among the five elements.
Other elements, such as wood, earth, and water, are represented by the plant and the rocks within. A glass pot represents the metal element, while ceramic pots can be combined with a metal coin or figurine. Buddha and Guan Yin statues are most popular for this.
A Couple of Final Tips for Lucky Bamboo Plant Owners
Although lucky bamboo is great for humans, be aware the plant is toxic to dogs and cats when ingested. If you have pets, keep your lucky bamboo plant out of their reach. Alternatively, consider keeping it in a closed office if you have a curious cat. Keep this plant well away from pet birds and small furry herbivores like rabbits and chinchillas as well.
You may also be interested to know that you can propagate your lucky bamboo plant by cutting an offshoot from the base of the plant. Make sure the offshoot you select is healthy, at least 4″ tall, with at least two nodes dividing the plant into horizontal sections. Place the offshoot in a new container with water. You can add as many offshoots per container as you want. Simply follow the care guidelines and watch new roots form after around 30 days.
If you see brown spots, there may be too many chemicals in the water or too much direct sunlight. In contrast, leaf spot takes place if your plant has a fungal disease. The roots may also begin to swell with over-watering, causing small bumps on the surface.