Lucky Bamboo part I: The Joy of Dirt

LuckyBamboo sales pictureLucky Bamboo is usually sold as stalks that grow in water, and they’re often braided, curled, or bundled into attractive shapes. The plant is Dracaena sanderiana, and like many Dracaena varieties, it makes an excellent and attractive houseplant.

They’re notoriously easy to care for — unless you’re me. My problem is the same one I have with a lot of plants: they grow way too much.

I received two planters of Lucky Bamboo as gifts in February 2018 when my book Semiosis was published because its hero is a bamboo. Thank you, Lori and the Burke Family.

There are several solutions to overgrown Lucky Bamboo. In some cases, you can trim the plants — I couldn’t, given their tight arrangements. Instead, I opted for putting them into bigger containers. Then I moved to an apartment with abundant light (the building management calls it a greenhouse). When growing in water, Lucky Bamboo should stay out of direct light, but I had few shady places, so I decided to plant them in soil, hoping that in the new growing medium, they would feel comfortable in the afternoon sun.

Happy Lucky BambooThey are more than comfortable. Lucky Bamboo grows slowly in water. In dirt, they’ve sped into overdrive. Here’s what happened to one of the plants. The photo at the top of this article is used on florist websites. For a while, that’s exactly what I had.

Here’s what I have now (at left). Next to it is the original container, which now holds pine cones. The Dracaena stalks are flourishing and happy, and so am I.

The second arrangement is also flourishing — out of control. I may have made a glorious mistake.

Next week, I’ll post Lucky Bamboo part II: the Rewilding.

3 thoughts on “Lucky Bamboo part I: The Joy of Dirt

  1. Hi there,

    I was wondering what type of so you put them in? Would any potting soil do or is there a specific type that has worked well for you?


    1. I use the composted potting soil that comes in 40-pound bags at my local gardening center. In my experience, Lucky Bamboo is a vigorous plant that can thrive without much special care. I hope this helps you have happy plants!


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