Beginner’s luck: Indoor bamboo plants are easy to grow.

Indoor bamboo plants, like this one that’s become practically a family member for writer Alexis Koukos, are easy to maintain, and can be grown in water or soil. — Alexis Koukos photo

Houseplants are trending. Everywhere you look there are plants and plant-related merchandise. Indoor plants are on the rise, particularly with the millennial generation. Recently, I added to my collection with a Lucky bamboo plant and now I’m on a quest to best take care of this new addition to my family.

Kris Barker, owner of The Gardener’s Center and Florist in Darien, explains that the bamboo houseplant is native to the rain forests of Africa and there is only one type: Dracena sanderiana, also known as Lucky bamboo, Curly bamboo, Friendship bamboo, Chinese water bamboo, or Ribbon plant, among other common names. To my surprise, it is actually not classified as bamboo. It is a member of the asparagus family.

Taking care of Lucky bamboo doesn’t have to be a chore. According to Barker, it is extremely easy to care for and you can grow it in water or soil. All you need is a bottle of distilled water and a small container of houseplant food. Using distilled water is important because bamboo is very sensitive to chemicals and salts present in tap water, Barker says.

“If grown in water, change the water every two weeks and fertilize every two months. Make sure to clean the container and rocks well each time the water is changed if grown in water. If grown in soil, fertilize once a month,” Barker recommends. He adds that bamboo should not be placed in direct light nor in a drafty area.

My bamboo lives in my dining room, not too close to the window, and is situated in water and rocks. I have had my plant for about two months, so now I think it is time to fertilize.

Lucky bamboo can grow up to three feet tall, so Barker suggests cutting it down, to the height you prefer, an inch above one of the rings on the stalk, known as a node. I enjoy watching my Lucky bamboo grow but don’t want it to get out of hand, so a pruning may be in order.

“You will now have a new top and bottom,” explains Barker. Also, he says that you can replant the top you just cut off to add to your collection.

According to, Lucky bamboo brings happiness and prosperity and is believed to bring health and wealth in abundance.

“It is one of the essential elements of feng shui, and is often given as a gift as a symbol of good luck, happiness, and long life,” Barker say. You can find it with variegated foliage and in straight, curly and woven growth patterns.

Sydney Server, floral designer at Palmer’s Darien, agrees that Lucky bamboo is symbolic and has cultural significance. She notes that other plants have become popular because of their meaning and design.

“Lucky bamboo is a pretty hardy, low maintenance statement plant that is architecturally interesting and beautiful,” Server says. “Money trees are also considered lucky. They can be twisted in their design and potted. They have potting significance. They tend to stem from Asian foliage. Money trees are good for new jobs, new house, etc. It looks like a palm of a hand — the stalk is braided and it looks like a little tree.”

She suggests looking into bonsai, as well as juniper, which tends to be beautiful. According to Server, fiddle plants are popular as well. “They are one of my favorites — big round leaves and they are super interesting and hardy. They’re architectural plants in terms of designs and cultural reference,” she says.

Now, my next venture is to track down fiddle-leaf fig plants and money trees so my Lucky bamboo can have a sibling.


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