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How To Get Lucky Bamboo to Grow New Shoots

Lucky Bamboo (Dracaena sanderiana) is said to bring good fortune into the home, so more leaves and stems must be better! Unfortunately, they aren’t naturally ‘bushy,’ but there are some tricks you can use to thicken it out and increase your prosperity.

Cutting the top of your Lucky Bamboo will stimulate the growth of new stalks, often resulting in two or more new stems where there was only one. You can also propagate removed heads by incorporating them into the arrangement to give the appearance of thicker growth.

Cutting The Top Off

Lucky Bamboo is a Dracaena, a group of plants that grow from their crowns. It means you can manipulate the growth by completely removing the crown. It appears dramatic, but Dracaena suffers from this in no way.

The old point of growth will dry out once it is lopped off. Then, just below the scar, the Bamboo will sprout new nodes. It’s not unusual for a healthy plant to make two or even three fresh leaves.

Root The Top to Start A New Stalk

Don’t throw away the Lucky Bamboo’s severed crown. That part of the plant is still alive and well and can easily be rooted and grown into a new one.

I like to root the top of the Bamboo and replant it with the original Bamboo. This creates the appearance of a thicker, more lush plant.

It is straightforward to do with water-propagated Lucky Bamboo. Many of the more expensive store-bought arrangements are made up of many individual plants that have been artfully bound together.

It’s straightforward at home, and the process benefits the older plant. It’s a great time to refill its water, clean the gravel, and trim away dead leaves.

You can also root directly into the ground. The success rate is lower than when rooting in water, but with the right conditions, the difference is negligible.

It also gives your Lucky Bamboo a better long-term environment. While they will grow in water, the soil is required for genuinely long-lasting plants.

How to Root Lucky Bamboo Cutting In Water

You will need the following:

  • Lucky Bamboo Plant 
  • Shears or garden scissors
  • Rubbing alcohol
  • Clean water
  • Clear vessel – a repurposed jar or drinking glass is fine.

Step 1: take your cutting

Remove the Lucky Bamboo’s top, leaving at least 4 inches (10cm) of stem below the lowest leaves.

To ensure a clean cut, wipe down your cutting tool with rubbing alcohol before pruning cleanly across the branch.

Step 2: Dry out the Cutting

Allow the cut end to dry slightly. Between 6 hours and overnight is ideal for Lucky Bamboo.

Step 3: Place the cutting in a clean water vessel

Water quality is critical when growing Lucky Bamboo, especially for new cuttings. Water must be free of chlorine or fluoride, which can harm emerging roots, so use filtered, distilled, or rainwater.

Because spring water is high in mineral salts in many areas, I do not recommend it for this purpose.

Step Four: Ensure Enough Light

Place the Lucky Bamboo in a warm location with plenty of indirect light.

While Lucky Bamboo tolerates some early morning sunlight, direct sunlight on water vessels is habitually warming and overheating roots.

Step Five: Transfer to Pot

Roots will appear gradually, taking a month or more to develop fully. You can transfer it to the same arrangement as the parent plant once it is two or more inches (5cm) long.

I’d recommend that you use this opportunity to refresh the entire display. Rinse any gravel or river stones with clean water after emptying the vessel. Remove any yellow or brown leaves.

Then it’s just a matter of reintroducing all of the Bamboo into clean water and relocating it. Be gentle when covering new roots if you’re growing with gravel or river stones.

Rooting Lucky Bamboo Cutting In Soil

You will need the following:

  • A Lucky Bamboo
  • A small pot of potting soil
  • Rubbing alcohol
  • Garden shears or scissors
  • Small shovel or trowel
  • Chopstick or small garden stake
  • Soft ties
  • Cinnamon powder

Step One: Take the Cutting 

The more stem you can provide, the better – after all, some will be below the soil. Finally, cleanly cut without leaving any ragged edges after sterilizing your shears.

Step Two: Allow Callus Formation

Allow the cutting to the callus to keep it from rotting in the soil. This method works best when done overnight.

Step Four: Use Rooting Hormones

Sprinkle cinnamon powder over the bottom of the cutting. The cinnamon powder contains natural hormones that promote root growth. It’s also a robust natural fungicide that will keep the cutting’s base from rotting.

Step Five: Make your potting soil

Dracaena are closely related to succulents and require a free-flowing, organic-rich growing medium. A good option is a high-quality cactus and succulent mix.

Step Six: Insert the Cutting Into the Soil

Insert an inch or two of your cutting into the pot. If necessary, stake it upright with a chopstick or small garden stake and gently tie it in place.

The parent plant should show signs of new growth in the coming weeks. Seeing any recent change from your potted propagation may take a month or two, but those roots are growing. Once established, they will begin to fuel the growth of fresh leaves.

How Do I Make My Lucky Bamboo Bushier?

  • Remove tops to encourage new shoots.
  • In the same container, grow groups of water-propagated Lucky Bamboo.
  • Temperatures ranging from 65 to 90°F (18 to 32°C) and plenty of bright, indirect light are ideal growing conditions.
  • For your Lucky Bamboo, change the water regularly and avoid tap water.

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