The original distribution area of the lucky bamboo is in Cameroon and in tropical West Africa. Lucky Bamboo came to Europe in the 19th century, where the plant found admirers. The lucky bamboo bears the Latin name Dracaena braunii, which indicates that it belongs to the dragon tree genus. The plant is therefore not a bamboo, but related to the palm-like dragon tree. Often other dragon tree species with a similar growth form are also offered as lucky bamboo.
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Dracaena braunii develops evergreen leaves that appear to be alternate. The leaf shape is reminiscent of the shape of a reed leaf, because it is not divided into leaf blade and stem. The leaf blades do not narrow towards the base, but rather merge into the leaf sheaths. Due to the alternate arrangement, the leaf sheaths form a kind of trunk. The elongated leaves are light green in color and have a smooth surface. They are lanceolate and shaped with entire margins. Your leaf nerves are parallel to each other.
The lucky bamboo develops salver-shaped flowers with six bracts that are white in color. The inconspicuous flowers sit together in semicircular panicles and have short stems. The individual flowers are hermaphroditic and give off a light fragrance. As is typical of the dragon trees, the lucky bamboo blooms at night. They have specialized in certain pollinators that are active at night. This adaptation means that the plants do not have to invest any energy in developing eye-catching flower shapes and colors.
It takes several years for a plant to flower. Most dragon trees bloom once in order to reproduce. Then the plant dies. In the case of the lucky bamboo, only wild specimens have been observed in bloom so far. The flowering period extends over the summer months. In indoor culture, the plants do not bloom.
The natural growth form is upright and shrub-like. The lucky bamboo grows slim and forms several side shoots at the base. This makes the plant grow very wide. The cultivated forms form long stems that are twisted spirally at the top. There are also sprouts that are currently growing and that form a happiness pyramid with different heights. The lucky bamboo that you can buy in stores is actually a rooted cutting. It is grown permanently in water or in hydroponics.
The bred specimens reach a stature height of 100 centimeters. They can be between 60 and 100 centimeters wide.
This plant has symbolized luck, health and success for around 4,000 years. It is given away on various occasions in modern times, so that it brings the recipient a good life. The lucky bamboo is considered a tough plant, which led to associations with longevity. In Hong Kong, the plant decorates almost every office. Here the lucky bamboo is often adorned with red ribbons, which represent wealth.
The lucky bamboo is offered as a single stem or as a pyramid-shaped arrangement of several cuttings. There are hardly any limits to the design, as the plants do not need a deep planter. They can be cultivated in a shallow bowl and arranged crosswise, overlaid or in a fence-like arrangement. The number of cuttings plays a role. Three stems symbolize luck, five stems stand for energy. Seven rungs bring health and eight good luck and wealth.
The lucky bamboo embellishes:
- Winter gardens
- Top package arrangements
- Window sills
Is lucky bamboo poisonous?
The plant parts of the lucky bamboo are considered to be slightly poisonous. This classification is based on the ingredients. Dracaena braunii contains saponins which, in high doses, can have negative effects on the organism. Symptoms of poisoning rarely occur, because the bitter taste naturally discourages consuming large quantities. The intestines normally absorb saponins very poorly. If the intestinal wall is inflamed, saponins can enter the bloodstream and dissolve the red blood cells.
Is lucky bamboo toxic to pets?
The toxic effect is similarly low in animals. Cats and dogs that have eaten large amounts can develop diarrhea. Saponins are just as toxic to fish as surfactants. However, there is only a risk of poisoning if these secondary plant substances get directly into the water or if the fish eat the plant parts. This is usually not the case when keeping a lucky bamboo in the aquarium.
Which location is suitable?
Dracaena braunii prefers a bright location all year round, which should not be too sunny. You can influence the growth of the plant through the brightness. If you put your lucky bamboo in a darker place, it will grow more slowly. However, the permanent lack of light is harmful to health. High humidity improves vitality. If you cultivate your plant on the windowsill directly above the heater, there should always be plenty of water in the planter. Otherwise the leaves will dry out easily due to the dry heating air.
The ambient temperature should be at least 18 degrees Celsius. The plant is sensitive to cooler temperatures by stopping its growth. Avoid drafts and a cold floor. In summer, the plant will thank you for an outdoor location with partially shaded conditions.
What soil does the plant need?
You can plant your lucky bamboo in a loamy substrate that has been enriched with sand. The plants prefer a substrate rich in humus. Commercially available potting soil, which you loosen up with sand or perlite, is ideal. The cuttings can be grown in pure hydroponics. Expanded clay (€ 17.50 at Amazon *) or clay granules are suitable for this. If the plant has not yet developed a pronounced root system, you can place the plant in a vase filled with water.
Propagate lucky bamboo
The easiest way to propagate the lucky bamboo is via side shoots. These are cut from healthy and strong stems with a sharp knife. Remove the lowest leaves from the side shoots and place them in a container filled with water. Place the vase in a bright place with indirect sun for a month. You should change the water weekly. After about 30 days, the side shoots will have developed enough roots so that they can be planted or grown in hydroponics. Ideally, the side shoots have reached a length of ten centimeters.
Propagation via the seeds is almost impossible, as the cultivated specimens do not come to flower. Should it still succeed, the actual sowing is very easy. The seeds germinate on potting soil under high humidity. The planter should be in a bright location.
Another form of propagation is cutting from cuttings. Here, a trunk is divided into several pieces that should be about ten centimeters long. Always cut the pieces just above a knot. The cuttings will sprout again later at these points.
Dip the top interface in liquid soy wax, which is free of color and fragrance. The candle wax seals the interface so that no pathogens and fungal spores can penetrate the wound. Then the cuttings are put in water and placed in a warm and bright place.
If you want to plant the lucky bamboo in soil, you should choose a sufficiently large container. The pot diameter should be two inches larger than the plant. A terracotta container is ideal, as the material ensures optimal air and moisture circulation. Make sure that the vessel has a drainage hole. A mixture of normal soil, peat and sand is suitable as a plant substrate. Put the lucky bamboo as deep in the earth as it was in the water before. This gives the plant stability.
Pour lucky bamboo
If you are hydroponically cultivating the lucky bamboo, the roots should always be covered with water. Give the plant enough water so that the lower end is two to three centimeters in the water. If the shoots grow in soil, regular and economical watering is recommended. The substrate should be moist but not wet. Make sure that excess water can drain away.
If the Lucky Bamboo is in pure water, you should maintain the water level and change the water weekly. This will prevent the formation of algae. This removes dirt and debris.
You should use soft water for watering, because lime is harmful to the plants. The water should be at room temperature so that the roots do not get a cold shock from cold tap water. Regularly spray the leaves with water from a flower sprayer. This measure increases the humidity.
Fertilize lucky bamboo properly
The plants have a high nutrient requirement and are grateful for regular fertilization. Make sure you dose it sparingly, as an excess of nutrients will damage the plant. Give the lucky bamboo a special hydroponic fertilizer that you add to the irrigation water every ten days. When cultivating in the substrate, no additional fertilization is necessary. The plant draws nutrients from the substrate.
Cut the lucky bamboo correctly
Dracaena braunii does not need to be cut. You can encourage certain growth forms by pruning back and direct your lucky bamboo. To develop a crown, the lateral shoots are cut off close to the trunk. Also cut off the new shoots. The plant will keep developing fresh side shoots, which gradually condense into a crown.
Dead plant parts can be cut off regularly. They often arise in winter when the room air is too dry. Rotten and diseased leaves and parts of the shoot must be removed generously so that the healthy part is not affected.
The ornamental plant can reach considerable heights in the course of its life, so that the vessel becomes too narrow at some point. As soon as your lucky bamboo gets too high and the vessel can no longer provide stability, you can treat the plant to a larger pot. Choose a heavy and stable bucket with sufficient volume. If the plant grows in the substrate, it should be transplanted every year. Before planting the plant in fresh soil, the roots should be cleaned thoroughly. That prevents diseases.
How to transplant the lucky bamboo:
- Knock depleted substrate from the roots
- Fill the new pot with a little soil
- Insert the root ball and fill it with substrate
- Press down the soil and water well
The lucky bamboo preferably spends the winter at constant temperatures, which should not drop below 18 degrees Celsius. Since the air is particularly dry in winter due to the constant heating, you have to spray the plant with water more often. Protect the plant from drafts. Intermittent ventilation for a maximum of ten minutes is not a problem.
The lucky bamboo is rarely afflicted by diseases. Damage can often be traced back to incorrect maintenance measures or suboptimal site conditions. If no care errors are apparent and the trunk turns yellow in spots, the yellow rot may be a cause. It is suspected that bacteria or molds are possible pathogens. You save the plant from rotting by generously cutting off the damaged piece. Use gloves and a disinfected knife.
A yellow color of the trunk, which extends upwards from the base, indicates an excess of nutrients in the substrate or water. Rapid transplanting helps against this.
In winter, the dry heating air often leads to pests. During this time, the plants are weakened by incorrect site conditions.
They settle on the underside of the leaf and the sprouts and feed on the sap. If the pest infestation is low, you can remove the scale insects with a sharp jet of water. Plant protection sticks help the plants that are cultivated in soil. With hydroponics, the pests are eliminated with summer oil. After this treatment, you should rinse the plant thoroughly with clean water.
The pests multiply in dry conditions, leaving fine cobwebs between the leaves and bright speckles on the top of the leaves. As a first measure, it is recommended to shower the plant with a hard jet of water. Make sure the humidity is high to suppress the pests.
If the leaves of the lucky bamboo turn yellow, this indicates a lack of water or suboptimal lighting conditions. Dracaena braunii needs a bright location that is protected from direct sunlight and sufficient water. If the water is too calcareous, limestone edges appear on the stems in addition to the yellow leaves. Chlorine in the water also causes the leaves to turn yellow. Change the water or plant the crop in fresh substrate. Make sure that the irrigation water is low in lime.
The lucky bamboo is offered in various forms. The shoots are intertwined, twisted upwards to form a screw or arranged in a pyramid shape. A white lily goes perfectly with this plant. The arrangement is harmonious and calming.
- Stedneri : variety of the species Dracaena fragrans. Individual shoots that are drawn out in a spiral. Forms long stems, reaches heights of up to 30 centimeters.
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