The Bamboo has become quite a popular houseplant in recent years, where they are valued for their interesting, sculptural shapes as well as for their symbolism, as they have been considered a symbol of good fortune in Asian cultures for at least 4000 years.
Bamboos are usually listed as non-toxic for pets; however - with the exception of the Chinese Sacred or Heavenly Bamboo (featured to the right), which is listed as TOXIC for birds. Care is to be taken when deciding which bamboo plant to introduce into your home. Discuss with a vet or other relevant professional in the field.
Caring for lucky bamboo plants is very easy. Typically, they are grown in a few inches of clear water, perhaps supported by small pebbles, stones, or marbles. It is important that the water be kept clean and fresh and not allowed to stagnate. In areas where the local water is heavily treated with chlorine or flouride , the leaf tips or edges of the lucky bamboo may become yellow or brown. This condition can also be caused by too many salts in the water, such as in "softened" water. Thus, it may be advisable to allow tap water to stand in an open container for 24 hours, allowing the chlorine and flouride to dissipate, before using it with your plants. In the presence of salts, it's best to use filtered or distilled water.
Appropriate light levels are also an important factor in caring for lucky bamboo. The plants grow naturally under the shady canopies of taller rainforest trees. Thus, they prefer an indoor location with bright, indirect light. They will perform well under artificial lighting. Too much direct sun can cause burning of the leaves. Too little light will lead to weak growth, stretching and poor coloration. Normal household temperatures are ideal.
Since water contains no nutrients per se, the best care for lucky bamboo plants includes the occasional use of a dilute solution of plant food. Without soil to buffer the fertilizer salts, the roots are susceptible to burning if the solution is too strong. Use any standard house plant food at about one-tenth the recommended dilution rate each time you change the water.
Lucky bamboo is frequently seen growing in unusual twisted, curved, or spiraling forms, which seem to enhance its appeal and sense of mystery. The plant does not grow this way naturally. In fact, the curving shapes are produced by laying the plants on their sides, with light directed from the top and shielded from each side, causing them to grow in one direction only toward the light and opposite gravity. The plants are rotated regularly to encourage the spiraling form. Naturally, this is a time-consuming and labor-intensive process which justifies the somewhat higher prices commanded by lucky bamboos.
Lucky bamboo is happy to grow without soil in a few inches of water. It prefers moderate or indirect light; avoid direct sun which will scorch the leaves. Temperatures should be between 65–95° F. Fresh, clean water is essential to maintain the plants and the roots should always be wet or moist. Replenish the vase with fresh water every 7–10 days. Feeding every 3–4 weeks with liquid Green Green fertilizer is sufficient.
Lotus bamboo is also known as rose bamboo or flower bamboo. It is so named because its leaf bracts resemble lotus flowers. Maintain the stems in a vase with 2 inches of clean water and a few drops of Green Green fertilizer. Care for lotus bamboo is very similar to lucky bamboo except that it likes slightly more light and fertilizer.
Tap water is sufficient if chlorine levels are low. It is best if you leave a pitcher of tap water sitting out overnight to let the chlorine evaporate before watering your plant the next day. Unfortunately, fluoride does not evaporate and it is toxic to Dracaena plants. If fluoride levels are high in your tap water, it is recommended that you use a non-fluoridated water source such as bottled water.
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