Lucky Bamboo plants are one of the most unique houseplants due to their ability to grow in just water! When shaped properly, their curling stems add that little something extra to their charm and we totally understand why plant parents across the world propagate these each spring. Lucky Bamboo propagation may feel a little daunting at first but if you have a strong and healthy mother plant it can be a really simple process.
In this post we will guide you through the complete Lucky Bamboo propagation process; the various methods you can use, the dos and don’ts and some other useful tips to help you along the way
Benefits of Lucky Bamboo Propagation
There are several reasons why you might choose or need to propagate your Lucky Bamboo. Firstly, they don’t always grow how we want them to! They sometimes grow sideways, too leggy or tall. Propagating can help to keep your Lucky Bamboo in the right shape for your space.
The other benefit of propagating a Lucky Bamboo plant is that you can expand your collection of houseplants for free. They can also make great gifts if you already have too many plants.
But other than the more fun reasons to propagate your Lucky Bamboo, it might also be the only option you have to save your plant if it is dying. Although we never like this option, sometimes it’s the only way to keep at least some of the plant alive.
Lucky Bamboo Propagation Methods
There is one main method of Lucky Bamboo propagation that is successful and that is removing offshoots which you can grow in either water or soil. Below you will find a step by step guide to this method of Lucky Bamboo propagation.
How to propagate a Lucky Bamboo through stem cuttings/ offshoots
Step 1: Locate your stem cutting
When taking a Lucky Bamboo stem cutting you want to make sure that the part of the plant you are cutting is healthy to give you the best chance at success. You want to remove an offshoot of the main stalk to grow as a new plant.
Step 2: Make the cut
This is the scary part! Now that you have located the section of the stem that you want to use, you need to cut it off! Use clean scissors/ shears or a knife to make the cut as close to the mother stalk as you can. Use your tools to make a clean diagonal cut across your plant as this increases the surface area of the cutting for roots to grow out of.
Step 3: Fill up a glass with water
Next, you want to prepare a container with water to place your cutting into. You can also grow your offshoot cutting straight in potting mix, but we recommend water to begin with to help the growth of new roots. Lucky Bamboo plants can be a little sensitive to hard water, so if you can use filtered water or rainwater then go for it!
Step 4: Place your Lucky Bamboo cutting in water
Put your propagation glass in bright but indirect sunlight. Intense light will damage the Lucky Bamboo cutting and might mean your propagation isn’t successful.
Step 5: Refresh the water every few days
This keeps the water free from bacteria and stops it from stagnating which damages the delicate cutting.
Step 6: Now you wait!
Other than refreshing the water in the propagation station, there is nothing left to do but keep an eye on your cutting. Don’t worry if you don’t see anything happening for a few weeks as this process can take a while and be quite unpredictable.
Step 7: Plant your Lucky Bamboo cuttings into potting mix
Once the roots on your Lucky Bamboo cutting have started to grow, you can decide if you want to move the cutting over to potting mix. This is optional though as the great thing about Lucky Bamboo plants is that they can grow in water forever.
Lucky Bamboo Propagation FAQs
What time of year should I propagate my Lucky Bamboo plant?
Ideally, you want to propagate at the beginning of spring for the best chance at a successful propagation. This is because when taking offshoot cuttings, they need to grow new roots from scratch, so warm sunny weather will help aid this.
If you try to propagate your Lucky Bamboo in autumn or winter will mean that your Lucky Bamboo cuttings will be trying to grow at a time when the plant is usually dormant. So you won’t really see much happening at all and the risk of the cutting rotting is a lot higher.
Do I need to use a rooting gel or powder when propagating a Lucky Bamboo plant?
Whilst you can still have plenty of success without it, you can definitely use rooting gel to speed up the propagation process a little. This will help the roots grow quicker and stronger. You want to be careful with it though as too much rooting hormone can have adverse effects.
Should I fertilise my Lucky Bamboo cutting?
Fertiliser is one less thing you have to worry about as we strongly recommend staying away from it when propagating Lucky Bamboo plants. It can damage the cuttings as they will be quite delicate and sensitive to too much fertiliser can cause various issues such as yellow leaves and small growth so hold off the feed for a while.
Common problems with Propagating Lucky Bamboo
Help! My Lucky Bamboo cutting isn’t growing roots…
This process is very unpredictable and it can take many weeks and sometimes even months for roots to appear. Make sure you are changing out the water regularly and keeping your cutting(s) in a nice warm environment and you should start to see new roots growing eventually.
Why is my Lucky Bamboo cutting turning mushy?
If your Lucky Bamboo cutting is turning brown and is soft to touch, then unfortunately this suggests that it has started to rot. This can happen for two reasons, either too much of the cutting was submerged in the water or the water has stagnated. Make sure that only one third of the cutting is in water and that you refresh it every few days.
Why is my Lucky Bamboo cutting turning yellow?
If the leaves on your new cutting are starting to develop yellow patches, it may have received too much direct sunlight or the cutting has started to rot as we have mentioned above.
Check out our full Lucky Bamboo Care Guide for more information on how to look after your cuttings after propagation.
Written by Billy Dawson