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Dracaena sanderiana
Lucky Bamboo

Lucky Bamboo by Shirley RamseyIt's All the Rage!

By now, if you haven't seen it in the florist or plant nurseries, you will.

'Lucky Bamboo' or 'Fortune Bamboo'. It's part of the Feng Shui way of life.

'Lucky Bamboo' isn't bamboo at all. It's botanically know as Dracaena Sanderiana: commonly known as the ribbon plant. It will grow in water like cut flowers.

It grows in 1/2 inch to two inches of water. Change the water every couple of weeks. It is not necessary to fertilize the plant but a diluted water-soluble fertilizer can be used. This plant prefers bright light, but not direct sunlight. Does well in low and fluorescent light.

Room temperature no lower than 55 degrees F. Place it away from air conditioning and heaters.

When the Chinese New Year arrives, a special occasion, or the purchase of a new home, 'Lucky Bamboo' is given.

New to you? It's fun and exciting to watch grow; and will last for years.

Lucky Bamboo by Shirley RamseyIt's interesting, fun and a great conversation piece.

Enjoy it.


When we owned a retail store we sold many "Lucky Bamboo" and we had a lot of chances to experiment with propagation.

We never had any success at propagation from the stems that you buy as the lucky bamboo. Putting a stem in water may generate some roots, but the plants did not seem to put out any new leaves.

If we knocked a leaf shoot off a stem, putting the shoot in water, it would grow roots. It would grow well. However, never generate a thick stem.

If you want to experiment, just cut about one inch below the node for more roots to form when dividing a piece. However, growing more leaves is the luck of the draw. They pop out by the nodes and I suspect being root bound and having some age or maturity to the plant will help.

Lucky bamboo with yellow stalk submitted by Paul

Emily: My lucky bamboo is turning yellow.

Dear Emily: I was searching the web to try to figure out what has made my lucky bamboo sick. Two stalks have already died.

A: Yes, the 'lucky bamboo' may start dying when it starts to turn yellow.

Once that happens I am afraid it is a goner.

We never could figure out what caused the stalks to turn yellow, either poor water, too much sunlight (doubtful, that causes the plant to wither and do poorly, but does not cause the stalks to yellow), too cold, or something else.

It does not seem to spread to other stalks, but we're not sure about that, either.


Emily: My leaves are turning yellow.

Lucky bamboo with yellow leaves submitted by Tanja

Dear Emily: Why are my lucky bamboo leaves turning yellow?

A: The leaves turning yellow may not be the same as your stalk turning.

Leaves could turn yellow because of direct sunlight, or too little water. Too much water is usually not the problem since the plant sits in water.

So if your plant is not dried out, try moving it out of direct sunlight.