Ever since my lucky bamboo died in June, it seems that my wheel of fortune has been on a slight downward tilt. The milk I use for my morning coffee seems to spoil more frequently than before, my socks have more holes than usual, and last week a mouse died in the ductwork of our Honda sedan (I’m not even going to describe the smell that’s currently permeating the interior).
But all of that is going to change now. We attended a Bar Mitzvah celebration yesterday where every table was decorated with lucky bamboo centerpieces. At the end of the party, our friends asked us to take home as many as we wanted, so we ended up with seven! Seven is a lucky number, and lucky bamboo is a harbinger of good fortune, so we’re all set on our path towards all things good and wonderful.
I did some research to make sure our lucky bamboos will stay alive. Here’s what I gleaned:
- Keep your lucky bamboo in indirect light (bright or moderate light levels). Keep it away from direct sun.
- Lucky bamboo doesn’t like to be cold, so keep it above 60°F in the winter.
- Lucky bamboo grows in standing water. There should be a few inches of water at any given time. Top off the water level when needed. Every 7-10 days, dump out the old water and replace it with new.
- If your tap water is chlorinated, use bottled water or fill a pitcher and let it stand overnight so the chlorine can evaporate.
- Fluoride is toxic to lucky bamboo. If your tap water contains fluoride, use bottled water only.
- Fertilize once a month with 1/2 strength houseplant fertilizer.
- Lucky bamboo is toxic to pets so keep it away from your cats.
What killed my lucky bamboo was the fact that I never completed changed the water, I just topped it off. I’ll definitely pay attention to this particular point.
I’m sure you know this but it bears repeating. Lucky bamboo isn’t a bamboo at all. Its Latin name is Dracaena sanderiana, and it’s an understory plant native to the rainforests of Cameroon. Bamboo or not, it’s certainly a plant that is much revered all over the world, and if you give it what it need—which isn’t much—it should brighten your living space for a long time to come.
After all, even my neglected lucky bamboo hung in for four years before it threw in the towel.