Dracaena sanderiana, lucky bamboo or ribbon plant, is known for its unique curled and twisted shapes. Lucky bamboo makes an excellent house plant. It can be easily manipulated by wiring the stems and controlling the light source. Lucky bamboo can be grown in water or soil and takes little care except for regular fertilizing.
Growing Lucky Bamboo
Dracaena sanderiana needs bright light to thrive, but it will not tolerate any sun. It makes a great indoor house plant and will tolerate lower light but will become somewhat leggy instead of being more compact. Bamboo requires average temperatures of 60-75 degrees and average humidity of 30-65 percent.
Lucky bamboo is often grown as a hydroponic plant, with the stems set in water and held upright with decorative stones. When grown in this way, it is critical to use water that has no minerals, especially fluoride. You can change the water every 3-5 days to compact this, but most people will simply leave the plants alone and just refill the water level as needed.
Lucky bamboo plants have become very popular and are often seen in stores potted and ready-to-go. They make excellent plants to place around window sills, or in bathrooms to add a little greenery.
The plants can also be grown in soil or potting mix as long as the soil remains wet at all times. Start the canes in water, then, as soon as they develop a mass of roots they can be placed in a pot with rich soil. Lucky bamboo must be fertilized, especially when grown in water. Use a half-strength foliage plant food every 2 weeks whether grown in water or soil. An alternative to fertilizing with plant food is to grow the plant in water with a Siamese fighting fish in the same bowl, as it provides natural fertilizer. *Do not add any plant fertilizer in with a fish as it will kill the fish.
The canes of the bamboo are often grouped together or twisted and shaped to give the plant an unusual appearance. You can twist and shape your own stems simply by manipulating light. Put a young plant in a darkened spot with a single light source directed as the stem. The plant will respond by growing toward the light. You can also train a stem with wire by wrapping it and bending the stems. You will find that the tough canes cannot be forced into a shape very easily.
Many stores and plant nurseries carry lucky bamboo in many sizes, with many different types of twists. You can purchase many combinations to make your own unique house plant. I actually did this when I replaced my original bamboo plant. It is fun to pick and choose the odd shapes and twisted pieces. You can always choose a slender container to put your bamboo into. This method of making your own will give you more of a chance to choose your container colors to match a certain area of your home.
Propagation: is done by taking 2-3” cuttings. A piece of cane is cut, waxed to keep out fungus, and sold. You can propagate your own plants by simply breaking a cane into pieces and putting them into water to take root.
Pests: such as tiger mosquito larvae is sometimes shipped along with the plant if it contains water. Always dump out the water if you buy the bamboo in water. All you do is dump and refresh with fresh water.