When you purchase a Lucky Bamboo arrangement in a pot, you will find it growing hydroponically because it is a water garden plant. There will be gravel of some type which lends stability to the stalks and keeps them from tipping over in the shallow small planter bowls that are often used for the arrangements. The gravel is typically very fine, pea sized; I use aquarium gravel in my arrangements and find that even the colored variety does just fine. I might also add colored glass for a decorative look. This is especially attractive if you use a clear glass vase to hold the arrangement.
LUCKY BAMBOO NEEDS PURE WATER
The water in the pot needs to be replaced with fresh, clean water once a week and the little pot should be scrubbed to prevent calcium or mineral deposits from building up on the edge of the pot and on the plant stem.
When adding water to your Lucky Bamboo plant, keep in mind that it is not adapted to the fluoride that is commonly added to our water supply. Fortunately, there is an abundance of bottled water available which is filtered or comes from artesian wells, pure mountain streams, etc., that you may use for your house plants and for drinking water. My "Lucky Bamboo" plants have "lucked out" because I have a private well which provides pure, clean water and also has a small iron content. Iron found naturally in water is of benefit to houseplants contributing to greener, healthier leaves.
PRUNING & PROPAGATING
I receive a lot of questions about ongoing care of Lucky Bamboo - Perfectly healthy plants become top-heavy. What to do? The plants may be pruned to a more manageable and attractive size, taking care to make a clean cut just above the leaf bract. If you wish, you may apply a little paraffin wax to the cut surface of the original plant. Smaller stalks will branch out just below the cut and you'll have a fuller, more leafy plant as a result.
Take the stalk you have cut off and root it in water for another beautiful plant! I often just push the cut stalk into the pot beside the parent plant. They root in no time and you may either leave it in that pot or transplant to another. These are very successful plants for children to grow - use reasonable supervision with the kids, though. If the leaves are ingested, they could cause stomach upset. (See FAQS and FACTS)
TRIMMING THE TOES
Sometimes, the root systems are so healthy they may become "pot" or "root bound". It's okay to take the plant out of the water, gently remove the gravel it has embraced, and then prune back the root system. Usually, you can remove a third of the root system without injuring the plant. Keep in mind that you only want to do this during the "dormant" growing season which, in the Pacific Northwest, begins about mid-October when deciduous trees begin to lose their leaves. Growing activity doesn't necessarily come to a halt under the ground at that time. Often, better root systems are formed and that's exactly what your Lucky Bamboo will do so that it can continue to sprout upwards with fresh, green leaves on healthy stalks.
A YELLOW STREAK?
Another common complaint is the leaves become yellow or spindly. Yellow or yellowing leaves is addressed at length in our FACs and FACTS pages. Typically, your Lucky Bamboo should not be placed in direct sunlight. It may burn and wilt the leaves. Diffused outdoor light is best. If you notice the leaves yellowing, immediately examine for diseases or pests. If you find none present, then change the water and apply a light boost of fertilizer. (Liquid fertilizers or Green Green from Dong Buk USA, Inc. are recommended for Lucky Bamboo. Be sure to follow instructions.)
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