For the past year, I’ve been cultivating a bamboo plant with five stems. It is housed in a glass jar that is stuffed with tiny white stones. I store it in a window, out of the direct sunlight. I have to drain the water and thoroughly rinse the stones once a week to keep the water from becoming bad. It has hardly grown at all, and the leaves are beginning to fall off. By putting it in soil, I’m trying to give it new life. That seems possible. If so, what kind of container, soil, vitamins, and watering schedule do I need?
Since a few years, retailers have been selling us “lucky bamboo,” but it is actually just cuttings of a dracena known as the ribbon plant (Dracaena sanderiana). It is typically a thickly leafed tropical shrub, but all of its lower leaves have been removed to reveal a stem with several evenly spaced nodes that does, in fact, resemble a bamboo.
This plant generally grows in soil, thus the aquatic habitat (stones and water) in which it is grown is not natural, which explains why it hasn’t grown much in your home. You’re also “fortunate” in that it appears to be healthy aside from a few leaves that have fallen off, as the lucky bamboo frequently begins to badly deteriorate after a year or two of growing in water. Most pass away in the end.
Thoughts of planting it in soil are a good inclination, though. If your plant’s decline isn’t too far along, this transition to a terrestrial habitat (into potting soil) should offer it a significant boost.
You can either grow a new plant from cuttings or transplant the original plant into soil to do this.
Be aware that a lucky bamboo occasionally exhibits negative initial reactions when it is transplanted into potting soil; yours may shed additional leaves. This is due to the fact that after spending its whole life under in water, its roots must once again adapt to terrestrial surroundings. However, that is only a short-term situation. Soon, fresh, strong roots start to grow, and from that point on, the plant actually fills out more and grows more quickly.
Here’s how to successfully move it from growing in water to doing so in soil:
1. Pick a grow pot that is between 1.5 and 2 times the diameter of the original pot. It should have drainage holes and be made of plastic.
2. Pour a few cups of potting mix (houseplant potting soil will do just fine) into a bowl or pail, then top it off with lukewarm water. (Working with moist mix is simpler than dry mix.)
3. Give the mixture a good stir to evenly wet it. It should have the texture of a wrung out sponge.
4. To stop soil from dripping out of the pot when you water, put a coffee filter, a piece of newspaper, or a piece of paper towel in the bottom of the pot. There is no drainage layer required or advised.
5. Add moist soil to the pot until it is about halfway full.
6. Take the plant out of the pot it came in.
7. Cut off any stems that are dead or yellow.
8. Remove the roots and stones from the mixture. Afterward, you may always retain them to use as decorative mulch.
9. If the roots are just slightly entangled, separate them and spread them apart from the stems. Take out a pair of pruning shears and cut off the outside roots all the way around the root ball, but only if they wrap around the inside of the original pot or become so tangled you can never separate them. No, the plant won’t suffer from it. In fact, it will be encouraged to grow new roots faster as a result. A third of the old roots can be readily cut out without harming the plant.
10. Place the plant in the center of the new pot and lightly push down the potting soil around the roots. (This implies you want a group of plants in one pot; otherwise, you may have divided the stems and planted each in its own separate pot.)
11. To help the plant settle in, place the pot on a saucer that is just a little bit larger than its diameter. Any extra water that gathers in the saucer should be discarded.
12. Finally, place the plant in an area that receives at least moderate light—possibly its original location—under regular indoor temperatures.
The plant may lose a few leaves at initially, as previously said, but after a few months it should gain vigor and become even more beautiful.
Cuttings are the “quick and simple way to save a disgruntled lucky bamboo. Cuttings frequently begin growing faster than transplants, so you’ll effectively be beginning from scratch. What you should do is:
5. Add potting soil to the pot until it is about 2.5 cm (1 inch) from the top edge.
6. Trim the plant’s stems to the desired length. A 90-degree angle is acceptable. Put the roots and the stem’s bottom in the compost.
Apply rooting hormone to the base of each stem with a cotton swab.
8. To achieve the best results, evenly space each stem in the potting soil by poking a hole in it with a pencil.
9. Place each cutting (stem) cut side down into a hole, being sure to cover at least two nodes with potting soil (three nodes will produce even better results).
10. Lightly tap the cuttings so they stay upright.
11. Put the cuttings container in a room-temperature setting with dim to moderate lighting.
Because of the terrestrial roots that will sprout in this dry climate, your fortunate bamboo will be able to resume its more typical growth pattern. You ought to notice a significant improvement in its appearance within a few months. The lifespan of a bamboo plant grown in potting soil can reach many decades.
Giving a soil-rooted lucky bamboo regular indoor temperatures, moderate light, and possibly some sun, as well as watering the root ball whenever it seems dry to the touch, are all relatively simple maintenance procedures.
I can’t possibly tell you how frequently you’ll need to water because that will vary on the growth environment. However, a lot of people discover that they only need to water their plants once a week when they are planted in a pot with moderately excellent light. Every year or so, you’ll need to repot your plant, and eventually, maybe after 5 or 6 years, you’ll probably need to cut it back little because it may become very enormous.
Since the fortunate bamboo is not a particularly greedy plant, fertilizer (not vitamins) is only a minor worry.
First, give it a year without fertilizing at all to become accustomed to its new surroundings. Once the plant has reached its second year, one or two applications of all-purpose fertilizer, applied in the spring or summer as directed on the label, will be sufficient. Furthermore, you’ll discover that your fortunate bamboo will probably thrive even if you never fertilize it.
Once your lucky bamboo is placed in a more conducive (read terrestrial) habitat, you’ll watch it really take off.
Can I move lucky bamboo through soil?
When transplanted into potting soil, a lucky bamboo occasionally exhibits negative behavior at first; be ready for the possibility that it may also drop a few fresh leaves. When a plant adapts to aquatic conditions, its roots must reintegrate into a terrestrial growth pattern because they have spent their whole life submerged in water.
A lucky bamboo growing in rocks, unlike most plants, will not require watering because it is naturally growing in water. Just watch that the water never falls below the level of the rocks to prevent the roots from drying up.
The presence of the rocks ensures that the water reaches all of the plant’s roots equally.
To prevent the growth of algae, change the water in the pot every seven to 10 days. You might only need to do this every ten to fifteen days in the winter.
Use filtered water or rainwater, always. If you must use tap water, allow it to sit in the sun for a day so the chlorine can vaporize before using it on your plant.
Bamboo plants are fortunate in that they can thrive inside without direct light. If the plant is exposed to direct light for even a short period of time, the leaves will burn.
The plant only has to be placed in a location where it may receive four hours of indirect sunlight each day.
Because the plant’s leaf tissue can freeze in the winter if it does not stay warm enough, you can place it where it receives more light than usual.
You can also assist the plant by putting it under a grow lamp if there is very little light available.
Because it normally thrives in humid climates, lucky bamboo can tolerate higher humidity levels than most other plants. Growing the plant in rocks is advantageous because the environment is already pretty humid and offers nearly ideal circumstances for your humidity-loving plant.
You seldom ever need to fertilize a plant because it already gets the majority of its nutrients from the water and rocks in the pot. Feed it three times a year at most; more frequent feedings can be harmful.
Use a fertilizer that is easily dissolved in water so you can simply apply it to the plant’s water in the container.
Mealybugs and spider mites are the pests that lucky bamboo plants are most frequently seen with. You can get rid of these bugs by hand, or you can clean the plant with rubbing alcohol to get rid of the pests. Remove the rocks from the saucepan and wash them with soap if there are any insects on the rocks themselves. Before placing the rocks back in the pot, make sure the soap has been thoroughly removed.
How should a bamboo plant be replanted in soil?
To capture any wayward soil, line your work area with newspaper or sheeting. With care to avoid damaging the roots, use your hands to loosen the soil from the pot’s inner edges.
Take the bamboo out of the pot. If it’s not too big, you can just lift it out. To gently remove a larger plant from its pot, tip it on its side and pull a few inches at a time.
Which is preferable, growing lucky bamboo 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.
What sort of soil prefers lucky bamboo?
Soil. Growing conditions for lucky bamboo include rich, well-drained potting soil. Keep the soil moist, but not drenched. Additionally, as long as it has access to at least an inch of standing water at all times, it can thrive when placed in pebbles or even just a vase filled with water.
When ought I to repotted my lucky bamboo?
Learn how to take care of lucky bamboo very easily. We’ve provided comprehensive details on lighting, water, temperature, toxicity, potting, propagation requirements, and typical pests and issues. See the quick instructions for caring for bamboo below:
Remove all packaging with care, then add rocks to your container to serve as an anchor.
Lucky bamboo needs indirect or moderate sunshine to grow. The leaves of your plant will be scorched by direct sunshine, so keep it away from bright windows. The edges of the leaves will have a brown tint to them, almost like they were charred by fire, giving them the appearance of being scorched. Move your bamboo to a location with less light if the leaves appear to be a touch burnt.
Water: Keep the soil mildly damp if you’re growing your plant in soil. Avoid overwatering and letting the soil become too dry because both actions might cause root rot. Although bamboo may grow in water, it does not require much water to survive. Make sure the roots of your bamboo are always kept submerged in water if you decide to grow it in water. To keep your lucky bamboo happy and healthy, replenish it with fresh water every seven to ten days.
Water can develop algae, so try to keep the container clean and change the water frequently (about once a week). The bamboo plant can drink tap water as long as the chlorine content isn’t too high. Before using tap water to water your lucky bamboo, let it sit out overnight to let the chlorine vaporize for your protection.
ProTip: If your tap water has a lot of fluoride, use filtered water instead, such bottled water. Fluoride is poisonous to plants like lucky bamboo and will not disappear.
Lucky bamboo thrives in temperatures as low as 6595F (1835C), making it a fantastic choice for an office or home plant. Avoid leaving your plant near windows or other areas where there is a cold draft during the colder months.
Lucky bamboo is poisonous to cats and dogs, so keep it out of their reach. If taken by your pets, it may result in weakness, drooling, dilated pupils, nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain, and diarrhea. However, lucky bamboo is not poisonous to people.
Pests: Mealybugs, mites, and fungi are a few frequent pests that harm fortunate bamboo. If your plant develops grey fuzz, it may have a fungal infection. To prevent this, cut off the affected growth, keep the stalk and leaves dry, and improve airflow. Mealybugs are tiny, white insects that must be physically and chemically eliminated. Despite the fact that mites, which can be seen as white webbing or fuzz, seldom harm fortunate bamboo, other houseplants can catch them. They must be eliminated using water and dish soap. remedies for plant diseases for further information.
Problems: Your lucky bamboo should be green, but if the stem, leaves, or any other part of the plant is yellow, your plant may not be healthy. To prevent the yellowing of the stem or the leaves from spreading to the remainder of the plant, fully remove them.
Repotting: When should you repot your bamboo? Once the roots start to crowd the container, you should repot. Move the bamboo to a bigger container as soon as you notice the roots crowding. Simply transfer your plant to a new vase if it is only growing in water. If you’re using rocks, remove them, put your plant in the new container (or cut back the roots if you want to use the same one), and then put the rocks back in. Use damp soil if you’re using it, flip the plant with your fingers on the stalks and dirt to remove it, and then transfer it to a larger container.
Finding a healthy parent stalk with an offshoot (it should have more than two bamboo segments) is the first step in propagating a lucky bamboo plant. Remove the bottom layer of leaves from the offshoot and cut it off at the point where it joins the parent plant stalk to grow a new, independent stalk. As you would a larger plant, put the young stalk in a small container of water and give it care. Pot as necessary.