The popular house plant, the lucky bamboo, is not a bamboo. It is a species of Dracaena, a tropical plant often grown for indoor purposes. Bamboo, on the other hand, belongs to the grass family. The lucky bamboo (Dracaena sanderiana) also goes by other popular names such as Ribbon Dracaena and Ribbon Plant.
Dracena sanderiana is native to Cameroon in West Africa and Congo in central Africa. The species, unlike the real bamboo, grows only three feet tall, and thrives under the canopy of large trees in the rain forests. The stems are slender and finger sized. As a house plant, it is mostly grown as a hydroponic plant, that is, in water. You often find the lucky bamboo in houses and in offices, in a decorative container, with rock, stones, or marbles to keep the stems upright.
The Chinese art of Feng Shui has contributed immensely to the popularity of the lucky bamboo. Because the Dracaena stems look like the bamboo and because they are verdant green in color, the associations with good fortune, growth, and positive energy are abundant.
The lucky bamboo is also a low-maintenance plant. Grow it in any part of the house or office where there is diffused lighting and the lucky bamboo should be fine. The trick is to keep the water in the plant container clean and fresh at all times. Every now and then—two months or so—the water can be fortified with a diluted houseplant liquid fertilizer. Instead of chlorinated or fluoridated water, it is important to use distilled, bottled, or spring water. If that is not possible, simply keep some tap water in a bowl and let stay overnight to disperse the chemical.
All in all, if you want the look of bamboo around the house or office, the lucky bamboo is a viable, inexpensive, and low-maintenance option.