15 June 2009
Think you have a black thumb? All of your houseplants die? How about trying hydroponic plants? These are plants grown in water with no soil. Let your imagination go wild with Bamboo!
The 'Lucky Bamboo' is marketed and grown basically as a hydroponic plant, in a decorative container with rock, marbles, polished stones (or sea shells) to keep the plant upright, and water in the bottom. No soil. (I buy mine from a Chinese grower.)
I have seen some very creative ways Bamboo is sold, even in grocery stores! My favorite is a pirate ship made from Bamboo Canes. It is large and breathtaking!
This Bamboo is a member of the Dracaena Family - sort of a cousin to the Dracaena Massangeana ("corn plant"). The canes are harvested and cut into much smaller lengths just as many Dracaenas. The tops are waxed off to help stop the entry of fungus or rot. The canes are then grouped together creating some unique looks.
So what can you do specifically or what should you be aware of in caring for your Bamboo?
Most Dracaenas can have fluoride problems that cause the edges to turn brown, and where do most of the fluoride problems come from? Our water! Use good clean pure water, not tap water. If you are going to use tap water, let it sit out over night to allow the chlorine to evaporate. It won’t remove the fluoride but the chlorine can also damage the plants. Change the water weekly.
High salts can burn the leaves of Dracaenas. Most of our salt buildups come from adding fertilizer to the water. You’ll also find salts in your city water. Stay away from fertilizing these plants altogether!
From all my growing experience and observations, the Bamboo does best in good lighting but not direct sun. (I have mine in the dining room and bathroom. The one in this photo is on my dining room table.)
How about when the plant grows too much and you want to take a cutting or cut the cane? Place the new cutting in a small pot with some rock and keep it in water until roots appear.
These plants are gorgeous, and if you use brightly colored rocks in the water (match your room's decor), they look very sophisticated!
Try one Bamboo and keep the water is clean. Then, when it doesn't die, buy another one! I have several in my home, and I love them all. Set them on some beautiful china, plant them in gorgeous heirloom pots, just let your imagination go with Bamboo Plants!
(c) 2009 April Lorier
April's 25 years in the horticulture business qualify her to give you advice on houseplants.