How to Take Care of Bamboo – Ultimate Guide

We all want some prosperity and success in our lives, right? Of course, we do, and what better way to achieve this than with the lucky bamboo plant? Compared to other bamboo plants, it is the easiest to care for and grow.

While it is native to West Africa, and many feel the feng shui bamboo plant originates from China, they are wrong. Still, the Dracaena sanderiana, the scientific name, needs special requirements to thrive. So, to help, Plantly has created some lucky bamboo tips for you right here.

Lucky Bamboo Care Tips

How to Take Care of Bamboo - Ultimate Guide

One thing is sure. You do not need good fortune or a green thumb to care for the bamboo plant. It is a popular ornamental houseplant that represents nobility, openheartedness, and sustainability. When lucky bamboo grows, it can have a curly or straight stem, but the straight-stemmed variety presents upward growth.

Yet, compared to other bamboo plants, it is a mini version and has a softer wood stem that is more fleshy. It also grows fast, reaching heights of 19 inches in six months. Sometimes you find the plant stem growing braided, and you can train them into unique shapes.

The Type of Soil The Lucky Bamboo Plant Needs

Bamboo is a hardy plant that can survive in different soil types in harsh conditions. But if you want your lucky bamboo plant or any other variety to survive, it needs a suitable soil medium. Whether grown in a pot or on the ground, a mix ratio of 1:1 potting soil with compost works best.


For outdoor growing in heavy clay or rocky soil, it helps to add a bit more sand to improve drainage. For sandy soil, add a bit more compost to enrich your mix. For growing in pots, use a container filled with some small stones or even peach pits at the bottom.

But when it comes to the lucky bamboo plant, it is different as it wants its soil to remain wet. Hence, you can grow it in a potting mix or water. But, when you notice yellow leaves in a container, they become root-bound and need re-potting.

All you need is pebbles to keep it propped up for growing in water. There needs to be an inch of water available for your plant. The lucky bamboo looks great displayed in a glass vase. The water also needs changing weekly to keep it clean.

Light Requirement for Bamboo Plants

Bamboo lighting requirement

Bamboo plants grow in their natural habitat under tree canopies, only receiving bright indirect sunlight. Hence, it is essential not to place your lucky bamboo in direct sunlight. The sun can damage the leaves.

A sign your bamboo is getting too much sun is when the leaves turn yellow. Your bamboo stalks can tolerate low light making them ideal for a shady corner where they can receive natural light.

How To Water Bamboo

bamboo watering

Bamboo plants need a steady water supply as it grows, depending on the climate. So when treated as an outdoor plant and receiving rain, you are sorted. But, lucky bamboo plants growing inside will need more water as the heat dries out the soil.

If you notice the leaves curling, it is time to water lucky bamboo fast to prevent complete dehydration. Another concern growing in pots is drainage, and if the water does not flow through, it can lead to root rot.

The lucky bamboo is also sensitive to tap water and using filtered or distilled water weekly helps. If you must use tap water, leave it standing for 24 hours to let the chlorine evaporate.

If you have your bamboo in a glass jar, do not be alarmed if you see red roots floating, as this shows the roots are healthy.

Fertilizer Needs

Okay, if you are a firm believer in organic gardening, it helps to use what is local. You can opt in using organic compost for the best results. You can also use a compost tea or a slow-release pellet.

Lucky bamboo prefers feeding in spring and fall, and outdoors you can use some horse manure with a few inches of mulch. Still, you can also provide your indoor bamboo plant with a liquid houseplant fertilizer each month.

organic liquid fertilizer

Growing your lucky bamboo in water only needs feeding every other month using a weak liquid fertilizer. Or, you can invest in specialty lucky bamboo fertilizers, but not too much fertilizer. The reason is that the leaves turn yellow.

Temperature and Humidity Levels

bamboo temperature and humidity

Bamboo thrives in warmer temperatures and does not enjoy standing in a draft that is too cold or too hot. Even average humidity is acceptable for the bamboo plant. Growing bamboo plants requires a temperature of 59 – 72 degrees F.

Pruning Bamboo

When you look at the bamboo, you do not prune it like a bonsai. Yet, to keep your bamboo healthy, it needs regular pruning. This is because the plant can grow top-heavy and start losing its form.

With some trimming, it keeps the plant under control. Do not trim the main stalk but the offshoots instead. You can trim the sprouts back an inch or two of the main stem. You will notice new plants emerging to make it bushier when grown outdoors.

Another great way to control the growth is to dip cut ends in paraffin. The form is not formed with trimming but more rotating the stalks in the front of a light source when it comes to the shape. It then naturally grows towards the light.

Alternatively, you can take three stalks or up to eight stalks and bind them together with some ribbon wire to keep them in shape.

Repotting and Propagation

dracaena propagation

So, how do you know when to replant your bamboo? First, when you notice your plant is root bound, you can move it to a larger pot. Then freshen up the soil or replace the standing water with fresh water in a larger glass jar.

When it comes to propagating lucky bamboo, you can do this from seeds or bamboo cuttings.

Growing From Seeds

The lucky bamboo rarely flowers, and using the seed is difficult. So it is mainly sold as an established plant when you buy your lucky bamboo. Nonetheless, it also helps plant many seeds as many do not survive.

Invest in some peat pellets to soak with water and give them time to germinate at an ideal moisture level. The trick is to keep the seeds warm, and it can take weeks before they sprout. The pellet needs to remain moist.

For a perfect germination environment, places the tray with a clear lid in a window with indirect sunlight. Once the new plants grow a few inches tall, you can put them in a small pot with potting soil.

Stem and Root Cuttings

The best method to propagate bamboo is through stem cuttings. It is an easy process that produces a faster result than seed. But the technique for your bamboo and lucky bamboo differs. For the lucky bamboo plant, do the following:

  1. Take your shears and cut a stem from the central stalk with one leaf joint.

  2. Trim away the leaves to expose the nodes.

  3. Place the bare cutting into a glass filled with bottled water and cover the bottom completely.

  4. Keep the water fresh and keep an eye on the root development.

  5. You can place the roots in a pot or a decorative vase with pebbles and water when you notice the roots growing.

You will need to break a chunk of roots for your regular bamboo. The best method is to make sure the soil is wet and remove the plant from the pot. Cut three or four sections and replant them into containers with soil. For ground-grown bamboo, you will need to do a bit of digging to make a clean cut.

Bamboo Varieties

You can find different bamboo varieties to grow in your garden or home with the Dracaena sanderiana, aka lucky bamboo plant, which is the easiest to care for indoors.

sanderiana ‘Victory’

sanderiana ‘Victory’

This bamboo has a darker green leaf with white stripes and makes for a great indoor plant.

  1. compacta

The lucky lotus bamboo grows a thick stalk with leaves growing out of the top. This lucky bamboo also grows well indoors.

Bambusa ventricosa

Bambusa ventricosa

The Buddha belly is a clump-forming bamboo you grow outdoors. You can also grow them in containers making a statement on the patio.

Check our article Different Types of Bamboo Plants for Gardening Enthusiasts for more bamboo options to choose from.

Common Problems With Bamboo

The bamboo can become susceptible to similar pests found in other tropical plants. You can watch for spider mites, aphids, and mealybugs. To get rid of the infestation, you can wash the entire plant with water and mild liquid dish soap.

Other problems that can affect your bamboo are as follows:

  • Browning leaf tips can be from using chlorinated water and can kill your plant. You can remove the dead leaves.

  • Black roots can result for different reasons, but the best action you can take is to snip them away. This can be from root rot and the water not draining from the container for potted plants.

  • A yellow leaf means your plant is getting too much direct sunlight or fertilizer. You can remove the dead or yellow leaves, move your plant into a shadier spot, and cut back on feeding.

Where to Buy a Bamboo Plant?

Bamboo plants you can find in most garden centers or online. But if you are in a hurry to place an order, we can help. Plantly has a wide selection of bamboo varieties, including the lucky bamboo plant.

Whether you want to buy, sell or simply reach out to other plant enthusiasts, Plantly is the right place to be!