How To Propagate Spiral Lucky Bamboo

Taking a healthy cutting is the first step in growing fortunate bamboo, whether in soil or water. This is how:

  • Cut a branch with your pruners or scissors that is 4 to 6 inches long. Cut as closely as you can to the parent stalk.
  • The lower portion of the cutting should be leaf-free. Keep at least one set of leaves at the top, though.

Taking numerous cuttings at once is a wonderful idea. That way, you’ll have some alternatives in case one doesn’t end up developing roots.

Can cuttings of lucky bamboo grow?

Lucky bamboo can be easily and successfully multiplied in water, which is why many people favor it.

  • Just put your cutting in a tiny glass that has been rimmed with purified water. You can put many cuttings in the same glass if you have them. To prevent them from rotting, just make sure the last few leaves are above the water line.
  • Place the glass in direct light that is bright.
  • At least once each week, change the water, and make sure to always use distilled or bottled water to do so. The cuts may suffer if there is any chlorine in the water.

How can a lucky bamboo stalk be made to spiral?

Although less well-known than it was a few years ago, it is a common houseplant that may be found in garden centers, florist shops, Asian grocery stores, and even supermarkets. In essence, it’s a Feng Shui-inspired method of enhancing the appearance of a rather ordinary dracena (Dracaena sanderiana), making it clear that it is not at all a real bamboo. The plant is typically presented with 90% of its leaves torn off, typically in a vase or small tray of stones and water rather than soil (the latter to slow its growth down as much as possible so the original look lasts a long time).

Millions of lucky bamboos are grown in a number of Asian nations (China, Taiwan, Thailand, India, etc.), where they are believed to bring luck. There are numerous farmers of bamboo, but one lucky bamboo farm claims to generate almost 9 million stems annually.

I’ve written a few times about the lucky bamboo. Once a general explanation and maintenance instructions: What is a Lucky Bamboo? and once more in the post Transplanting a Lucky Bamboo on how to free one up and thrive in its soil the way it truly wants to.

However, this plant is frequently created with a braided or spiraling stem. One must ponder how they accomplish that. Read on if so.

Professional Method

A dracaena can be trained to grow at strange angles by exposing it to light from only one direction rather than pruning (well, not directly) or wiring (as in bonsai). Hey! It will obediently, but very slowly, bend towards the direction of the light source because it is a plant and needs light. It’s referred to as positive phototropism.

By merely turning the plant on its side, expert growers can instruct their plants to spiral. As a result of the stem’s new horizontal position, its tip will begin to turn toward the light above, resulting in nearly straight-up new growth. But after a few weeks, the growers slightly rotate the stems in a clockwise direction (or counterclockwise). The plant then gently alters its course in an effort to straighten itself. After that, this is done again, gradually giving the plant a curved stem. Warmth, moderate light, high humidity, and careful fertilization are the optimum conditions to sustain for pretty quick results.

It takes a lot of precision labor, and growers must carefully plan their actions, but they have mastered the technique of getting the stem to create a spiral that can be sold.

Creating Your Own Spiral Bamboo

It’s awkward to grow a plant on its side indoors. When a pot is on its side, it is nearly hard to properly water it, the soil leaks out, and if you want to water a plant that has been straightened up, you have to set it down in precisely the right position. Using the “open-sided box approach,” it is considerably simpler to train a lucky bamboo plant to spiral while it is upright.

Here is the approach that is currently suggested by a number of websites, including ProFlowers. I’ve never done it myself and I don’t intend to because it requires just too much work. Additionally, if you execute it incorrectly, your spiral will be incredibly uneven. (Professional growers always get the timing right; they are experts at it.) And even if you try, getting a decent double spiral at home will take years (literally). However, it seems that some people do give it a shot. If you’re very patient, that is!

Where is the bamboo cut when propagating it?

The simplest way to propagate many plants, especially houseplants, is to just take a clipping of fresh stem and leaves and put it in a glass of water. The stem will begin to develop roots in 5 to 10 days, at which point you may simply plant it in the ground. With bamboo, however, it’s not so simple. This process is also known as cloning.

Up until a few years ago, I had no idea that bamboo could even be used for this. In actuality, not all kinds of bamboo can be propagated using this technique, nor is it generally used to do so. Certain tropical, clumping kinds, such as Bambusa, Dendrocalamus, and Guadua, seem to work well with it.

The process

The best culms for stem cuttings or culm cutting are those that are one to two years old. A well developed culm that is still sprouting new branches is what you desire. Make the cuts about a foot long for the greatest results, and make sure each cutting has a nodal joint. There will likely already be lateral branches emerging from these junctions. The ideal depth of cut should be just a few inches below each node, with around 75% of the cutting taking place above the node.

The joints are where the new growth, including the roots and culms, will appear. Scoring the bamboo at the joints is one method to encourage this growth. Make a shallow cut on the underside of each juvenile branch at the joint, directly where they emerge from the main culm, using a sharp blade. Each node often has two or three branches. These branches can be pruned back to a few nodes from the joint.

Place the cuttings directly into the ground when still damp. To make the soil more fluffy for propagation, consider adding a lot of perlite to the mixture. Moisture is important, and this permits the soil to be moist without being saturated. Make careful to cover at least one nodal junction with soil when you bury the cutting upright, roughly half to two thirds of each cutting submerged. Alternately, you might bury the entire cutting by laying it out flat.

At this stage, you could also add water to the hollow upper part of the bamboo culms. This preserves the cutting’s moisture. Keep the cuttings away from direct sunshine in a location that is moderately warm. A greenhouse would be ideal. Keep the soil moist, and most of your cuttings should start to sprout new growth in a few months from the branching joints. Don’t count on success in all situations.

Branch cuttings

You can reproduce some varieties of bamboo from branch cuttings using the same techniques as with culm cutting. Use young branches, and give each cutting a nodal joint. The cutting can either be planted immediately into the ground or placed in water until new growth appears. Utilizing a rooting hormone can greatly improve your chances of success. Your saliva, diluted apple cider vinegar, diluted honey, fresh aloe vera gel, or a solution of crushed aspirin can all be used to create your own rooting hormone.

Lucky bamboo cuttings

Lucky Bamboo is typically what is meant when people mention taking bamboo cuttings and growing them directly in water. But this is a whole different situation. Dracaena, which is not a true bamboo, is a species of lucky bamboo. Not even grass, really. However, it is really simple to grow it from cuttings.

When chopped, does bamboo grow back?

When the top of bamboo is cut off, new leaves develop from the cut rather than the cane regrowing. The plant’s subterranean system receives energy from these leaves, enabling it to produce new canes. Therefore, even if a bamboo stand is completely chopped down to the ground, the bamboo will still regrow; but, this time, it will do so from the base rather than the severed canes. Once a year, prune by removing the oldest third of your canes from the ground.

Does bamboo perform better in soil or water?

Check out these lucky bamboo plant care suggestions to prolong the life of your plant as much as possible:

  • 1. Wash the developing vessel. To stop algae growth, wash the container every few months and give it fresh water once a week.
  • 2. Provide ample light for it. Due to its tolerance for mild shade and indirect sunshine, lucky bamboo is a fantastic indoor plant. However, intense light will cause your bamboo to expand in size. This doesn’t imply that you should place your plant in full sunlight, but it does imply that maintaining it in a bright setting can lengthen its life.
  • 3. Use a water filter. Both soil and water can be used to grow lucky bamboo. Filtered or distilled water is your best bet for keeping the roots of your bamboo plant moist and strong if you’re growing it in water. Chemicals in tap water have the potential to burn the plant’s stalks. If you need to water your plant, always use clean water.
  • 4. Select the appropriate container. A fortunate bamboo plant typically arrives in its own container when you purchase or receive one, frequently atop pebbles or pearls. You might need to move your bamboo into a new container if it outgrows the one it was originally planted in. Dig up the bamboo plant gently, then transfer it to a new pot after washing the pebbles. Add the bamboo plant, making sure the roots are entirely hidden by the pebbles by carefully re-burying them there. Don’t let the water level go so high that it wets the bamboo stalks; just enough to cover the roots.
  • 5. Have effective drainage. Make sure the container has sufficient drainage if your lucky bamboo is growing in soil. Lucky bamboo enjoys moist soil, however too much watering can hinder the growth of the plant. When the top inch of the soil is dry, water the area.

Can I split my good bamboo in half?

I’ve had my spiral Lucky Bamboo stalks—otherwise known as curly—for about 8 years at this point. I made the decision to completely prune down the leaf development because it was becoming tall and spindly. Everything about pruning Lucky Bamboo is included in this article, including how I did it and how long it took for the stems to regrowth.

Now, this was an experiment because I’ve never clipped any of my plants back before. Lucky Bamboos are not actually bamboos; they are dracaenas. I believed this would work well because I have previously chopped back my Dracaena marginatas and Dracaena reflexa Song of India well. I just had no idea how long it would take for them to regrowth, or how many new stems would sprout from each stalk (or cane).

Lucky Bamboo is simple to maintain. That’s one of the reasons why people love these plants so much! They are novelty plants that are offered in a variety of shapes and sizes, which increases their appeal.

Although this dracaena grows in soil in its natural habitat (in moist rainforests beneath the canopies of other plants), it has developed excellent aquatic adaptations.

Good Things to Know About Lucky Bamboo

Lucky Instead of the stalk or cane growing taller, bamboo grows taller as the stems (or shoots) do. Your plant’s height will be decreased by at least half if you prune the cane in half.

Dracaena sanderiana, sometimes known as lucky bamboo, develops straight by nature. Growers (mainly in China) train it to take on all the different shapes and forms. Here, you can view and purchase some.

They are delicate to the chemicals and salts found in some tap water. The leaves will gradually turn yellow and start to brown at the tips. To stop it, I use distilled water.

I maintain the water at a height of one to two inches over the tops of the roots. Drying them out is not what you want.

Avoid placing your Lucky Bamboo vase or dish in the sun. A buildup of algae in the water may result from this, in addition to causing the leaves to burn. Small levels are not concerning, but rapid expansion can avoid issues.

Why aren’t the fortunate bamboo rooted?

Although they can survive in artificial or low light conditions, they cannot develop in these conditions. Conversely, lucky bamboo will scorch and possibly die if exposed to too much light. For best growth potential, try placing your lucky bamboo close to a big window where it will receive filtered sunshine all day.

Can lucky bamboo be transferred from soil to water?

ASK THE SPECIALIST: I’m thinking of selling Lucky Bamboo Plants through my interior design company. They appear to be simple to care for, however I recently received a large plant with at least 25 stems, all of which were in soil. There is no information online regarding how to cultivate them in soil or make the switch to water. If you have any knowledge that could assist me with this, please let me know. Many thanks, Chris


Despite frequently being grown hydroponically, lucky bamboo (Dracaena sanderiana) is a soil plant. It will be really content in the soil because most dracaenas choose to reside there. However, you must acclimatize lucky bamboo to water if you’re selling it to satisfy a customer’s requirement for hydroponically grown lucky bamboo.

This is feasible. The shift from soil-grown lucky bamboo to water is simpler than the reverse. Start by carefully pulling the fortunate bamboo from the ground. The lucky bamboo stalks will need to have all the soil removed with water. Once you’ve finished, get your container ready. You require a chemical-free, spotless container. Don’t fill the bottom of the container with stones or rocks if you are selling the stems separately. Find a container with only two to three inches of water that will hold the lucky bamboo stems without toppling over. If the vase needs more weight, add some pebbles or rocks, but make sure the stems are still easily removable when you sell the flowers. Use distilled water or tap water that has been exposed to air for at least 24 hours in the container. Fluoride and chlorine, which are frequently present in tap water, might cause sensitivity in Draceana sanderiana (lucky bamboo). Don’t fertilize your lucky bamboo and place it in a bright, indirect area of light.

No, I wouldn’t move every stalk at once. For a few weeks, I would test-trial approximately 3 or 4 to see how the changeover works. Keep in mind that soil-grown fortunate bamboo prefers a damp but not soggy environment. So make sure the soil where the lucky bamboo is planted drains properly.