Lucky Bamboo Care, Light And Watering Needs, Leaves Issues & Toxicity

By: Matt Slaymaker
April 19, 2024
Lucky Bamboo Care
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Gracing work desks and nightstands, Lucky Bamboo is a favorite among indoor growers because it demands little effort and attention. It is easy to grow a thriving Lucky Bamboo, even if you’re a gardening newbie. So, no wonder that it’s a popular houseplant

However, Lucky Bamboos are not suitable for houses with pets. If cats or dogs ingest any part of the plant, it can poison them. 

If you want to know how to care for a Lucky Bamboo, you’ve come to the right place. Keep reading to learn more about its growing requirements, toxicity, and common problems you should be aware of to ensure it flourishes for years to come!

About Lucky Bamboo Plant

About Lucky Bamboo Plant

The Lucky Bamboo (Dracaena sanderiana), or Friendship Bamboo, signifying good fortune, gets its symbolic meaning, especially in Feng Shui. Although called bamboo, it belongs to the Dracaena family. It’s native to West Central Africa and North East Angola and it grows well in hardiness zones 10 and 11. The Lucky Bamboo plant thrives in light, indirect light, and warm temperatures. It’s a moisture-loving plant that can be grown in soil and water. It prefers medium humidity levels and regular watering.

Lucky bamboo care also involves pruning the plant to encourage bushy growth. Adding Dracaena sanderiana to your indoor plant collection has more than one benefit. It can elevate any interior space while filtering pollutants from indoor air and improving air moisture levels.

Lucky Bamboo Plant: Benefits

The Lucky Bamboo offers a variety of benefits, such as:

  • It purifies the air by removing chemicals like benzene and releasing oxygen.
  • It reduces dry air conditions, boosting indoor moisture levels. 
  • Its vibrant foliage adds aesthetic appeal and charm to any interior space. 
  • It signifies friendship and is believed to bring prosperity, good fortune, and positive energy, in Feng Shui. 
  • It thrives in soil and water, offering the flexibility to choose its growing medium.

Is Lucky Bamboo Toxic to Cats and Dogs?

The Lucky Bamboo is toxic to cats and dogs due to containing calcium oxalate crystals and saponins. Calcium oxalate crystals can irritate the oral cavity and digestive tract of animals. Saponins are also harmful to their intestinal lining. 

If ingested, the following symptoms may appear:

  • Oral swelling
  • Loss of appetite
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Depression

If you suspect your pet has been poisoned, contact your vet immediately. You can prevent Lucky Bamboo poisoning in pets by keeping it out of their reach. Place toxic plants in hanging planters or a fenced-off space. Also, consider growing only pet-friendly plants you worry about your cat's or dog's safety and keeping them away from your greenery.

How to Care for Lucky Bamboo: The A to Z Guide 

How to Care for Lucky Bamboo

Lucky Bamboo is a relatively low-maintenance plant. With little attention to your Lucky Bamboo plant’s care needs, you’ll enjoy a vibrant green companion - a great addition to your indoor garden

Lucky Bamboo: Watering and Light Requirements 

Regular watering and sufficient exposure to light are essential to the proper growth of any plant, including your Lucky Bamboo. 

How Often to Water a Lucky Bamboo?

A Lucky Bamboo potted in soil needs a drink every 7-10 days. Keep the soil thoroughly moist but not soggy. Allow the top inch to dry between watering sessions. 

A Lucky Bamboo growing in water doesn't need an additional drink. Instead, change the water every week, or twice a month.

How Do You Know If Lucky Bamboo Is Overwatered?

A Lucky Bamboo indicates that it's overwatered by showing the following symptoms:

  • Yellow or brown leaves and stems
  • Soft and discolored stalks
  • Mushy and rotting roots
  • Foul odor from the growing medium.

For potted plants, let the top layers dry before watering and ensure sufficient soil drainage by making extra holes in the pot if needed. For plants growing in water, only the roots should be submerged.  

How Much Sunlight Does a Lucky Bamboo Need?

A Lucky Bamboo needs medium or bright, indirect sunlight for 4-6 hours daily. Growing your plant in low-light conditions isn’t advisable. Daily exposure to artificial grow light for 6-12 hours is a good substitute. A few hours of direct sunlight in the morning can also be great for your Lucky Bamboo plant.   

What Kind of Light Do Lucky Bamboo Plants Need?

Lucky Bamboo needs dappled or filtered light to prevent its leaves from scorching. If you place it in a spot with direct sunlight, this should be the gentle sun rays the room gets in the early mornings or evenings. 

Extreme sunlight causes leaf burn while insufficient light makes the plant leggy and discolored. 

It’s best to put your Lucky Bamboo in a well-lit room, near an east- or west-facing window with transparent curtains.  

Lucky Bamboo: Soil, Fertilizer, and Repotting 

Repotting a Lucky Bamboo

In this section, we’ll explore the soil and plant food requirements of your Lucky Bamboo in more detail. You’ll also learn when and how to repot this tropical plant.    

What Kind of Soil Does a Lucky Bamboo Need?

Lucky Bamboo prefers a well-draining potting mix. A porous soil mixture containing peat moss, perlite, and coarse sand is recommended. This will help you ensure proper soil drainage and the required nutrient retention. 

What Is the Best Fertilizer for Lucky Bamboo? 

Lucky Bamboo needs a balanced NPK fertilizer at a ratio of 20-20-20 or 10-10-10. Use it in liquid form, diluted to half strength. It can be applied to both soil and water. Fertilize the plant once every spring and summer, and let it rest in fall and winter.

When Should I Repot My Lucky Bamboo?

A Lucky Bamboo growing in soil should be repotted once every year. But wait for at least 6 months before repotting a new plant. The best time for repotting is spring when the plant is at its peak growing season. 

How to Repot a Lucky Bamboo?

To rehome a Lucky Bamboo, take a pot 2” larger than the current one and use a fresh potting mix. Start by removing it from its container with a gentle tug. Then, put it in the new pot, covering the roots with soil while the stalks are exposed. 

Water the soil and place the newly potted plant in a warm spot with bright, indirect sunlight. This video can help you understand the steps.  

Lucky Bamboo: Temperature and Humidity

The Lucky Bamboo originates from the tropical regions of Africa. So, it prefers warm temperatures and average humidity to retain its vibrant foliage and maintain healthy growth.  

What Temperature Is Best for Lucky Bamboo?

The best temperature range for your Lucky Bamboo is 65°F -90°F. In a temperate climate, ensure that the average indoor temperature stays above 55°F. It cannot handle extreme temperature fluctuations, either. Use heating indoors to maintain the right conditions in cooler weather.  

What Humidity Do Lucky Bamboo Plants Like?

The Lucky Bamboo likes moderate-to-high humidity, preferably in the range of 45%-55%. If the air indoors is too dry, mist the leaves of your plant every few days. This will give it a humid growing environment and prevent the leaves from losing moisture.

How to Prune a Lucky Bamboo 

Prune your Lucky Bamboo by trimming and shortening any leggy offshoots. It’s best to prune it in growing seasons. You can also clean the plant monthly by giving it a shower from the top. 

Should Lucky Bamboo Be Pruned?

Pruning your Lucky Bamboo accelerates its healthy development. It improves air circulation and light exposure. Pruning also ensures the plant's height and shape are well-managed while removing unhealthy and unsightly leaves.   

How Do I Get My Lucky Bamboo to Grow More Branches?

Your Lucky Bamboo will grow more branches and have a bushier appearance if you cut the offshoots from the main stalk. This simple method is called pinching. You can also snip the top off to encourage a branched-out growth pattern. Do this during spring for best results. 

How to Propagate a Lucky Bamboo

You can grow multiple young Lucky Bamboo plants from the one you have. It's a simple process involving a plant cutting, which can be rooted in soil or water. 

To propagate the plant in water, cut a healthy stem and remove a leaf joint to expose the growth nodes. Trim the bottom leaves and place the cutting in filtered or distilled water, submerging the base. The cutting will develop young, red roots in around 30 days. Until then, change the water every week. 

You can now plant this rooted cutting in a pot with soil. Or, place it in a vase with pebbles at the bottom, submerging the roots, if you want to grow your plant in water.  

Another method is to root the cutting and propagate your Lucky Bamboo plant directly in the soil. Just follow the same steps as described above. Then, plant the cutting in a small pot with soil instead of water. Keep the potting mix moist and in 4-6 weeks, the young plant should develop strong roots.  

Lucky Bamboo (Dracaena Sanderiana): Problems & Solutions

Lucky Bamboo Problems and Solutions

Despite providing your Lucky Bamboo with the best care and growing conditions, it may still develop some problems and diseases. The key is to identify the reason so that you can fix it. 

Why Is My Lucky Bamboo Turning Yellow?

If your Lucky Bamboo leaves start to turn yellow, it could be due to overwatering or underwatering, direct sunlight exposure, over-fertilization, dry air, or chlorinated water. 

Adjust the watering schedule and always ensure the top inch of the soil dries out before each drink. Hydrate the plant with filtered or bottled water, and place it in a warm, humid spot with indirect sunlight. 

Mist the leaves every couple of days to boost the humidity level. Fertilize it only once during spring and summer.

Why Are My Lucky Bamboo Leaves Turning Brown?

Lucky Bamboo leaves may turn brown, due to dehydration when the soil or air is too dry. Other reasons could be salt buildup in the soil, excessive fertilization, overwatering, cold temperatures, and scorching sunlight. 

Water your Lucky Bamboo plant properly every 7-10 days, and keep the air around it warm and moderately humid. Ensure that the plant is growing in a well-draining potting mix and that the pot allows sufficient drainage. 

Move the plant to a spot with better lighting conditions, and fertilize it only during the growing season. If your plant is root-bound, repot it into a larger container. 

Lucky Bamboo: Common Diseases and Pests

The Lucky Bamboo plant may suffer from several diseases and experience insect infestations. Common problems include:

  • Root rot
  • Leaf and stem rot
  • Fungus gnats
  • Mealybugs
  • Scale insects
  • Spider mites
  • Thrips

For root problems, remove the plant from its pot to cut off the rotten roots. Then, replant it in a new soil mix. Or, place it in water to encourage new root growth before planting it in the soil. 

For fungus spots on the stem or leaves, apply a fungicide to prevent further damage. Remember to trim off the damaged leaves or stems, as they will not recover. 

Remove insects by spraying neem oil, insecticide, or diluted hydrogen peroxide. You may need to remove some insects manually. 

Lucky Bamboo Care: FAQs

Q: Can Lucky Bamboo live in low light?

A: Lucky Bamboo plants can survive in low-light conditions but become leggy. Plus, prolonged exposure to low light can cause damage, discoloration, or stunted growth.  

Q: Do Lucky Bamboo plants like to be root-bound?

A: Lucky Bamboo plants don’t like being root-bound. If the roots get too tight inside the pot, it can restrict their growth and cause leaves to turn brown. For a healthy and vibrant plant, repot it annually, moving it to a container 2” larger.  

Q: Can I put my Lucky Bamboo outside?

A: Lucky Bamboo plants can grow outdoors in warmer climates. But keep the plant in a shaded area. Scorching sunlight, dry conditions, cold weather, etc., can harm it. So, it’s best to grow it indoors in controlled conditions.   

Q: Should Lucky Bamboo be misted?

A: Being a tropical plant, Lucky Bamboo loves a little extra humidity. So, misting it regularly will help maintain a moderately humid environment.   

Q: Why is my Lucky Bamboo dying?

A: Your Lucky Bamboo may be dying because of several reasons. One of them is the presence of chlorine and fluoride in tap water. Other reasons include overwatering, soggy soil, rapid temperature changes, and direct sunlight.


Once you know how to care for a Lucky Bamboo plant, you’ll enjoy watching it grow and flourish. Furthermore, plants like Peace Lily, Money Tree, and Golden Pothos are excellent companions for the Lucky Bamboo. These lucky charms all need similar light and environmental conditions.

You can propagate the plant to multiply it and expand your collection. It’s also a great opportunity to grow a plant gift for someone special.