Lucky bamboo is a popular choice of houseplants, not least because they’re easy to care for. Most importantly, as the name suggests, lucky bamboo is said to attract fortune and good luck, especially when given or received as a present. It’s an integral part of feng shui, the art and philosophy of achieving harmony and balance through organisation and arrangement in a home.

Good to know:
  • One stalk is for good fortune
  • Two stalks are for love
  • Three stalks represent Fu (happiness), Lu (wealth), and Soh (long life)
  • Five stalks represent the areas of life that impact wealth
  • Six stalks represent good luck and wealth

What you need to know about lucky bamboo #1: The beliefs and traditions

A blooming bamboo plant on a desk

Chinese traditions hold that the significance of the lucky bamboo in your home is tied to the number of stalks the plant has. Two stalks are representative of love, while three represent happiness, wealth and long life. Ten is the perfect number, while twenty-one renders a mighty blessing.

There are plenty of beliefs that span the numeric range, but you’ll see that you can never find a lucky bamboo plant with four stalks. This is because, in Chinese expressions, the word for ‘four’ is eerily similar to the word for ‘death’– therefore, giving someone a lucky bamboo with four stalks is extremely rude.

What you need to know about lucky bamboo #2: Growing the houseplant

A spec of greenery on a hanging shelf

Lucky bamboo is easy enough to grow and propagate if you take care of a few things first. The plant can be placed in a vase or a pot filled with pebbles and an inch of water, minimum. You could also grow it in potting soil that is rich and well-drained. If you’re going this route, keep fertilisers and manure to a bare minimum, administering one drop of liquid fertiliser no more than once every month.

What you need to know about lucky bamboo #3: Maintaining and nourishing

Indirect sunlight is required for a bamboo plant

Warmer temperatures are preferred, and bamboo thrives in areas of filtered, indirect sunlight. Once your plant is all set up, establish a routine to change the water once a week. Also ensure you use only bottled or distilled water as bamboo is quite sensitive to chemicals including chlorine. If you find that your plant is outgrowing the pot it’s in, carefully dig it out of the current pot. Then put it into one that contains water or has enough pebbles to cover the roots.

What you need to know about lucky bamboo #4: Dealing with growth-related problems

Use distilled water only

If you find your lucky bamboo’s leaves looking a peaky shade of yellow, the issue might be too much sun or too much fertiliser. The leaves may also turn brown if the air is too dry, so consider spraying the leaves once in a while to change that. Chlorinated or dirty water is what kills off most lucky bamboo plants, so make sure the water you put in is at its cleanest. Remove dead roots and leaves as soon as you see them as they encourage the growth of bacteria and this becomes a vicious cycle.

Pro Tip: Bamboo leaves are mildly toxic so keep them away from children or curious pets who are likely to chew on them.

Lucky bamboo plants make for wonderful housewarming gifts– just make sure you’ve got the right number of stalks on! Want to bring happiness to the office? Check this out: Plants That Bring Good Vibes to Work

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