Lucky bamboo is what many people think of these days when they hear the word bamboo. But these easy to care for plants aren't actually bamboo at all. They are a type of plant called Dracaena, and while they are becoming popular house plants, they are actually bamboo in name only.
Lucky bamboo, which is known as Dracaena, Ribbon Dracaena, or Ribbon Plant, is generally classified as a shrub. This shrubby plant is from tropical West Africa, most notably from Cameroon. They grow as understory plants in the rainforests of the region, and are known for being excellent houseplants because they grow very well in indirect lighting.
Dracaena or lucky bamboo usually reaches two to three feet in height for a straight piece. It also can reach between 1.5 and 4 centimeters in width if cared for properly. Curled pieces have to be specially grown that way and once they are sold, any growth that occurs on a curled piece will be straight upwards unless steps are taken to ensure that it grows curled again.
Caring for lucky bamboo is very easy. Most lucky bamboo comes in a container of some kind filled with water that should be changed with spring water every week or two, and non-toxic stones much like those which can be found in fish tanks. While it is suggested that lucky bamboo grows better in soil, most people choose to grow it this way for the ease of care and novelty.
Lucky bamboo is also popular because it needs very little sunlight to grow. It is one of the few plants that will grow somewhere like an office or a bathroom, both of which are notorious for getting little to no sunlight. The lucky bamboo only needs indirect sunlight about once a week, and it will continue to flourish in its container whether it has soil or just water. Plant food can be given to lucky bamboo once a month so that it might reach its full potential. There are types of food out there specifically for lucky bamboo but if it is difficult to find in a particular area, lucky bamboo also responds well to aquatic plant food.
Originally just used as an ornamental plant, lucky bamboo is now becoming a popular gift for many occasions. Lucky bamboo is frequently used as a housewarming gift, because the plant adds something that is easy to care for, unlike other house plants which can be difficult to care for when a family has just moved. Lucky bamboo is also being used with more and more frequency for wedding favors. Because they can come in such tiny sizes, brides are choosing to have specially made little pots for their lucky bamboo favors. They are also being used as favors at other parties like bridal showers and baby showers. While lucky bamboo isn't technically bamboo at all, most people think of its curly stems and long leaves when they think of bamboo. Easy to care for and growing in popularity, lucky bamboo will be a staple in many homes for years to come.