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Can Lucky Bamboo Grow in Water? (Here’s How)

If you’ve ever wondered if lucky bamboo can grow in water, you’re not alone. Your lucky bamboo may need to be kept alive until you have the necessary supplies to repot it if you have divided it or unpotted it.

Or perhaps you’ve received it as a gift and don’t know how to grow it. 

Lucky bamboo can be grown in shallow water, but make sure that the roots are fully submerged in water. Use only distilled or filtered water, and add more water to compensate for the water that evaporates away. Replace and thoroughly clean the container every 2-3 months or whenever the water smells bad.

Does Lucky Bamboo Grow Better in Water or Soil?

Don’t be fooled by the name. Lucky bamboo is a Dracaena or cane (its scientific name is Dracaena sanderiana), which means it is a water-loving succulent evergreen.

As it turns out, the care of lucky bamboo is more like that of other Dracaena plants than bamboo.

Lucky bamboo can grow in water or soil, but it will be the happiest and live the longest if grown in suitable soil. Furthermore, poor water conditions increase the risk of root rot and algal growth.

Additionally, an unpleasant odor and even health problems for your lucky bamboo, as you may forget to change the water as frequently as you should.

More importantly, the soil medium can act as a better anchor for the roots than water. However, if you add some clean pebbles to the bottom of the water container, you can avoid this problem. This will assist the roots in finding their feet and support in the water.

Lucky Bamboo Growing in Water
Lucky Bamboo Growing in Water

The lucky bamboo can thrive in both media equally. There are many things to think about when you decide whether your plant needs water or soil, like how often you water, how big your plant is, and what kind of water or soil it needs.

As an example, if you add well-balanced fertilizer each month to your plant’s water, it will perform better than it would in soaking soil.

The truth is that you can use either medium, and your plant will thrive. If you have access to soil, you can use it; if you don’t, water will do the job just as well.

As a whole, lucky bamboo is likely to grow better when it is in soil than water.

How to Grow Lucky Bamboo in Water (Step by Step)

You will discover that growing lucky bamboo in water is relatively simple. In fact, you can quickly propagate it by taking stem cuttings and growing new lucky bamboo plants.

However, the rooting will not be the same quality as those purchased from the plant shop.

1- Prepare the Vessel for Growing your Lucky Bamboo

Lucky bamboo can thrive in a watertight container. However, if you want to keep an eye on the health of your roots, I recommend using a glass container.

The first step is using dish soap or bleach and warm water to clean the container. Then, allow it to dry completely after rinsing and drying it thoroughly before using it.

2- Take Lucky Bamboo Stem Cuttings

 Lucky Bamboo Stem Cutting in Water
Lucky Bamboo Stem Cutting in Water

This is the most critical step in growing your lucky bamboo in water. But, first, it would be preferable to trim the mother’s lucky bamboo plant before taking several healthy cuttings.

Snip a piece of bamboo off its central stalk with pruning shears or a sharp knife. After each cut, make sure the cutting tool is sharp and sterile.

At least one leaf joint must be on the end of each stem cutting, but I prefer to take one with a higher number of leaf joints.

3- Trim the Cuttings

After that, begin removing the leaves, exposing the growth nodes that will encourage root and leaf development when you propagate.

That means you should remove the leaves at the bottom of the stem. At the very least, you’ll need about 2-3 inches of bare stem cutting below the propagating water to get the best results.

It’s best to remove all but a few of the top leaves. These will rise above the water and begin photosynthesizing, allowing maximum growth.

4- Rooting Lucky Bamboo Cuttings

Rooting Lucky Bamboo Cutting
Rooting Lucky Bamboo Cutting

It’s preferable to root lucky bamboo cuttings in water rather than soil. Furthermore, lucky bamboo cuttings can be rooted either with or without rooting hormones. Make liberal use of rooting hormones on the cut ends of your cuttings.

Fill the container with distilled or filtered water to wholly submerge the bottom of the lucky bamboo cuttings. It is never a good idea to root lucky bamboo with tap water.

Because tap water may contain chlorine, fluorides, and other harsh chemicals found in city-treated water.

5- Provide Optimum Propagation Conditions

Keep an eye out for red roots emerging from the joint nodes and ensure the water is always fresh and clean. Encourage root growth by providing bright, filtered light and slightly warmer temperatures.

6- Transfer your Rooted Lucky Bamboo

In about four weeks, you should see orange roots grow from the bottom nodes of the lucky bamboo cuttings. If you used high-quality rooting hormones, that time could be even faster.

After the roots have formed, you should place your lucky bamboo in a clean vase with fresh distilled or filtered water. Fill the container with decorative pebbles for added support and aesthetic appeal.

However, keep in mind that a water-rooted and grown lucky bamboo will not have the same growth habits, qualities, and distinct stalks as the store-bought parents.

So, although your lucky bamboo in water will still have straight stems and narrow green foliage, you don’t have to worry about it.

How Can I Make My Lucky Bamboo Grow Faster in Water?

Your lucky bamboo may be wondering how to grow faster and thrive better once it has been established in water. Here are some helpful hints:

Lucky Bamboo Growing in Clean Water
Lucky Bamboo Growing in Clean Water

Change Water Weekly

Your lucky bamboo’s primary source of trouble is contaminated water. It would be beneficial if you changed the water once a week to prevent the growth of harmful microorganisms, odors, and diseases.

Proper Lighting

When lucky bamboo sits in bright, indirect sunlight, such as that found under canopies of native rainforests, it will grow faster and become healthier. So avoid placing your lucky bamboo in dark corners or exposing it to direct sunlight.

Proper Humidity and Temperature Control

As expected, this evergreen will benefit from average humidity and temperatures ranging from 65 to 90°F (18 to 32°C). Of course, you keep it away from drafts, both hot and cold. Also, keep it away from drafty windows, heating vents, and air conditioners.

Fertilize Occasionally

Fertilizers designed specifically for lucky bamboo are available, mainly ready-to-use liquid feed (Check the latest price on Amazon here). However, only when the leaves turn yellow should you use a very weak liquid fertilizer to stimulate growth. (Source: North Carolina State University).

Proper Water Supply

As a reminder, you should always use distilled, bottled, or filtered water whenever possible. If you don’t have any other choice but to use tap water, leave it out overnight or for 24 hours to allow the chlorine to evaporate.

Rotating Your Lucky Bamboo

Turning or rotating your lucky bamboo in front of a window or source of light will encourage its shape and growth. This causes your lucky bamboo to naturally grow upwards and all the stalks to grow consistently.

Use Rooting Hormone When You Are Propagating

The red roots on lucky bamboo stem cuttings can take up to 30 days to develop. However, a rooting hormone is required if you want it to root and grow more quickly.

Common Problem of Money Plant Growing in Water

While lucky bamboo grown in water is relatively hardy and easy to care for, there are a few issues to be aware of:

Lucky Bamboo Leaves Turning Yellow

Lucky Bamboo Turning Yellow
Lucky Bamboo Turning Yellow

Yellowing leaves indicate that your plant is receiving too much sunlight or that you have applied too much fertilizer. Move your lucky bamboo to a shadier location and reduce the fertilizer.

Lucky Bamboo Dying in Water

Lucky Bamboo Dying in Water
Lucky Bamboo Dying in Water

Many factors can contribute to the death of lucky bamboo in water, including diseases, poor water quality, and even air pollution.

In most cases, you can save your lucky bamboo by replacing the pebbles in the container and changing the water. However, propagation may be your only option if the disease is too severe.

Lucky Bamboo with Black Roots

Lucky bamboo roots are naturally red or orange when submerged in water. They can, however, turn black for a variety of reasons.

Trimming the black roots and changing the water are the best solutions.

How Long Can Lucky Bamboo Survive in Water?

In water, lucky bamboo can live for 1 to 2 years. However, you can extend the life of your lucky bamboo by planting it in rich, well-draining soil.

Can Lucky Bamboo Go in a Fish Tank?

Yes, lucky bamboo can be submerged partially or wholly in a fish tank or aquarium.