Would you like to expand your collection of lucky bamboo? Or perhaps you’d like to give a loved one a thoughtful gift. Whatever your reason, you don’t have to have green thumbs to propagate these plants. Read on for everything you need to know about propagating lucky bamboo.
Propagation By Cuttings
Lucky bamboo (Dracaena sanderiana) is easiest to propagate by cuttings, and this is how most of the plants you will find were grown. This plant typically grows from a bare, cane-like stalk with one or more leaf-bearing shoots growing from it.
You can make cuttings from both the stalks and the shoots, which makes propagating new plants that much easier.
What You’ll Need
- A healthy lucky bamboo plant to take cuttings from
- A sharp, clean pair of pruning shears or heavy-duty scissors
- A pot of soil or a vase containing bottled water and at least an inch (2.5cm) of aquarium gravel or similar
- Rooting hormone powder (optional)
Taking Shoot Cuttings
Before taking cuttings from your lucky bamboo plant, make sure your scissors or pruning shears are sharp and sterilized. Using a dirty cutting tool can spread unwanted bacterial or fungal infections between your plants. To do this, simply wipe down the blades with isopropyl alcohol or alcohol wipes.
Now that your tools are prepared, start by cutting off the shoot. Take note, it is the shoot that should be cut and not the stalk. Your cut should be close to the stalk for a neat finish.
The cut shoot will be covered in foliage, and the bottom few leaves should be stripped off to create a section of bare stem at the base of the cutting. Leaves that are left at the bottom of the cutting will only rot if planted in the soil or water.
Taking Stalk Cuttings
If you have a tall, healthy parent plant, you can take both shoot and stalk cuttings, to make two new plants. Cuttings from bare, healthy stalks root well and will grow new shoots from the upper node. For the best results, make sure your cutting has at least 3 nodes.
Sealing With Wax
Sealing the cut stalk with candle wax can prevent drying out and infection from bacteria and fungi. You can use plain, unscented candles, or paraffin wax. Simply heat the wax until it becomes liquid and dip the top end of the stalk where it was cut.
The original stalk will grow a new shoot from the node below the cut, and if you’re lucky, maybe a second shoot from a lower node, creating a denser-looking parent plant.
Planting The Cutting
You can grow your lucky bamboo cuttings in either soil or water. Your cuttings can be placed individually in the growing medium, or if you’re growing them in water, you can tie them together in a bundle using wire or elastic bands.
For growing in soil, simply push the cuttings into the soil to a depth of about 2 inches (5cm). In water, you will need some river pebbles or aquarium gravel to keep them in place. Dipping the ends of your cuttings in rooting hormone powder will improve rooting and speed up the process, but is not strictly necessary.
An important point to remember about lucky bamboo is that these plants are sensitive to the chemicals in tap water. To be on the safe side, always use distilled, bottled, or reverse osmosis water for these plants.
How Long Does Rooting Take?
Rooting happens very fast with this plant and results can be visible in as little as 2-4 weeks. Once the roots have developed, you can move your cuttings from water to soil, or leave them where they are in soil or water.
The only thing better than a healthy lucky bamboo plant is 2 lucky bamboo plants, and the more the merrier! Propagating these wonderful houseplants from cuttings is easy to do at home by following the simple tips in this article. Don’t forget to see more lucky bamboo care tips on our blog.