Maintenance of lucky bamboo is reputed to be easy for owners who lack plant care knowledge and experience.
This is playing a part in their growth in popularity with busy people who want indoor plants to brighten up their home or office but lack time to put in to caring for them.
Along with their hardiness towards care requirements they can survive in low light and their stalks can be developed into a variety of shapes which provides an interesting appearance.
Although they have the same sort of characteristics, they are not among the many species of bamboos, they are actually a member of the Lily family.
Being tropical, they thrive in indoor environments with low light and temperatures ranging between 65-80 degrees. This basically means they are ideal for growing in offices and homes.
One of the main differences is their ability to grow without soil and with little water.
They can be grown in glass jars or a vase with decorative rocks or pebbles to provide weight for stability... and to add character to the arrangement of stalks.
Although relatively easy to care for, and they won't take up very much time, don't fall into the misconception that they are completely indestructible and expect it to just take care of itself. Maintenance of lucky bamboo is still important for it's survival whether you received one as a gift or bought it for yourself, care is an important factor.
Follow the instructions for care provided here and it should last for some years.
Water regularly and make sure you use clean water. Also change the water approximately every 4 to 6 days to prevent it from getting dirty. Maintaining clean water will ensure it stays healthy, live longer, and look better in a room in your offices or house.
Tap water is fine but will contain chemicals such as fluoride and chlorine which are harmful. I recommend you leave tap water to stand overnight to let the chlorine evaporate before using it. It is much better to use rain, spring, filtered, or distilled water if possible as it will be cleaner.
When replacing and topping up the water try to keep it at the same level. The roots form at the level of the water line. Although you may think that giving it more water means you will have to water it less regularly, if the level of water is raised it will sprout more roots at the new higher level. This may not be what you really want in the long run.
The love of water means maintenance of lucky bamboo can also be successful when they are grown in a water fountain. If you do decide to do this it is best to choose a fountain that has enough water depth to ensure the roots of the stalks are in approximately 2 inches of water with pebbles or stone holding the stalks arrangement in place in the container. Therefore, it is not recommended to choose a really shallow fountain in respect of water needs.
They are from a tropical environment and therefore maintenance of lucky bamboo does require a warm temperature of at least 60 degrees for a ideal environment for survival. They will not be happy in a cold environment with a low temperature or cold draughts which is why they are so suitable for indoors.
Maintenance of Lucky Bamboo provides an interesting hobby because you can also shape the stalks into different arrangements. Curly stalks can be obtained from straight stalks.
How to get curly stalks?
Growth of the stalks can be manipulated into different shapes by forcing them to bend to the light by just simply turning them regularly according to the shape you're looking for.
If they are placed in a room with a single light source they will grow towards the light. Every few days and as you notice the change in direction of the way the shoots have grown, you turn it slightly away from the light again to form the shape and it will bend back towards the light.
This process takes time and requires patience but you can achieve weird and wonderful unique shapes and it is an enjoyable part of the maintenance of lucky bamboo.
You can also separate the stalks, curl them individually, and then place them all back together again.
Although you can purchase the stalks to pot and curl yourself, it does mean you need to be able to root them yourself. Buying them already rooted could be the best way to go for you..
The ready made multiple stalk arrangements will generally be bound together with some kind of ribbon. The ribbon is also reputed to help in bringing good fortune and often is coloured red or gold. Ensure that the ribbon is not tied very tightly to prevent damage to the stalks. My advice is to remove the ribbon. If it does get too tight it will damage the stalks and may result in disease. You can always tie the ribbon to the pot instead of the stalks!
To make sure you start off with a healthy plant, choose one that is bright green in colour and has healthy leaves. Any sign of stalks turning yellow, leaves with brown or yellow tips, or insect infestation and bruising means it is not healthy and your success won't be promising. Move on if it looks unhealthy! Don't buy it unless you feel like trying to rescue it or you can get it for free and don't mind the risk.
It is important to choose a strong and healthy plant for a good start, particularly if you have it in mind to put to use as part of the practice of Feng Shui. Plant care starts with choosing one that has healthy leaves and is a bright green colour. If there are any signs of yellowing stalks, brown or yellow leaves or tips, infestation by insects, or bruises, pass it by as being less well cared for and not healthy.... don't buy it!
Make sure the container is at least half full of water if it is growing in water, or that the soil is moist if it is growing in soil.