For the Chinese New Year (or any time), an auspicious gift is a lucky bamboo plant. Learn about the lucky bamboo meaning as well as growing tips.
Native to Southeast Asia, the plant we call lucky bamboo isn’t a bamboo at all but rather Dracaena sanderiana. In Chinese lore the plant symbolizes good fortune and feng shui practitioners use it to attract positive energy. The number of stalks have meaning as well:
Lucky Bamboo Meaning
- 2 stalks symbolize love or double luck
- 3 stalks bring 3 kinds of luck - happiness, long life, and wealth
- 4 stalks are bad luck; they bring negative energy and are thought to be a death wish!
- 5 stalks balance 5 areas of health - emotional, spiritual, mental, intuitive, and physical
- 6 stalks attract prosperity and wealth
- 7 stalks promote good health
- 8 stalks are good for success, growth, and fertility
- 9 stalks bring great luck
- 10 stalks bestow a complete and perfect life
- 21 stalks are for great wealth and enduring health
How to Grow Lucky Bamboo
Grow your lucky bamboo plant in soil or in water. To grow in water use pebbles to stabilize the roots. Add enough water to keep the roots covered. Distilled or filtered water is best especially if you have fluoride or chlorine in your water. Those chemicals can cause the green tips of the leaves to burn. A clear container makes it easy to see the roots and check the water level but it also can cause algae to grow so you may want to use a colored container.
Lucky Bamboo Care
Change the water every 7 to 10 days, cleaning the pebbles and container as well. Normally lucky bamboo will grow fine without any fertilizer but if you wish you can give it a drink of weak houseplant fertilizer monthly. Since this plant grows in the shade of taller trees in nature, keep it out of direct sunlight. Bright indirect light is best. If it starts to fade to a pale green it needs more light. It likes warm temperatures, in the 65 to 90 degree range. One word of caution—this plant is toxic to cats!
If the stalks get too tall cut them off and start a new plant by rooting the stalks in water. Keep them in a shady area until new roots form, then plant them in soil or pebbles. Tie a gold or red ribbon around the stalks to hold them together and to symbolize good fortune.
Young stalks can be trained to curl by using wire to hold them or you can try blocking light on three sides of the plant causing it to grow toward the light. Keep turning as it grows to form the curve. This takes time! Pliable stalks can also be braided or twisted together.
Happy Year of the Rooster!