Lucky bamboo is a favorite among houseplant owners because of its elegant, notched stalks and thick, flat leaves. It is often used to balance out the feng shui of a living space and is frequently trained to grow into elegant shapes.
Despite its name, lucky bamboo is not actually bamboo plant but is a member of the dracaena genus. As such, it must be cared for like a dracaena.
Lucky bamboo is a highly versatile plant and can grow in any number of environments, including water-filled vases and more conventional soil-filled pots.
Because lucky bamboo prefers moist, warm conditions, an open terrarium also offers a highly hospitable home for it.
How to grow lucky bamboo in a terrarium?
Lucky bamboo can be grown in an open terrarium, which is a glass container with no lid. Fill the terrarium with your preferred combination of sand, moss, gravel, stones, soil and activated charcoal. Then propagate or purchase a young stalk of Dracaena Sanderiana and plant it in the soil in your terrarium.
The basics of growing lucky bamboo in a terrarium
Terrariums can be either open or closed. Closed terrariums are usually sealed glass containers that become self-contained microclimates. Open terrariums, which are not sealed off, also offer a wide range of benefits for plant growth and health, particularly for succulent and succulent-like plants.
Lucky bamboo is best suited to growing in an open terrarium.
Open terrariums have the additional benefit that they offer more aeration and are therefore less likely to see the plants they house develop fungal diseases than those that live in closed terrariums.
Open terrariums also make beautiful decorative statement pieces. They help balance the feng-shui of any living space and can even contain lucky bamboo that has been trained into elegant shapes.
Creating a terrarium requires more than just throwing any old combination of organic matter into a glass container and hoping for the best.
When deciding how to put together the base of your terrarium, you need to take the specific needs of the plant it will be housing into consideration.
Lucky bamboo is happiest growing in a well-drained potting soil that is kept consistently moist. However, even though it can also thrive when grown in a glass vase with an inch of water, it is susceptible to root rot, and so should not be left in wet soil.
Because your terrarium will not have a drainage hole, it is important not to create a base for your terrarium that will not cause your lucky bamboo to have to sit in soaked soil for long periods of time.
Designing your terrarium is a balance between designing a beautiful miniature landscape and creating a functional growing environment. You can even investigate how to shape lucky bamboo if you want your terrarium to contain a specially shaped plant.
A step-by-step guide to making your own terrarium
The first step is to choose the container that you will use for the terrarium. You can invest in a glass fishbowl, or else use any other open glass container, for example a large mason jar.
Once you have your container, it is time to fill it with organic matter. It is often a good idea to begin by placing freshly picked forest moss at the bottom.
This will help absorb the run-off water, given that the terrarium has no drainage and therefore is at risk of causing your lucky bamboo to begin turning yellow because of root rot or overfertilization.
If you have been able to get your hands on activated charcoal, spread a thin layer across the moss. Activated charcoal is excellent at keeping water fresh and fungus at bay.
Next, add a layer of gravel, sand, or smooth stones, and then cover this with another layer of forest moss. Now, either add a layer of potting soil, or else create a concentration of potting soil in one area of your terrarium.
After you have transplanted your lucky bamboo into the soil or stones of the terrarium, you can use the remaining terrarium ingredients to create a beautiful forest-like environment on top of the soil.
Planting your lucky bamboo in a terrarium
For best results, choose a young lucky bamboo shoot for your terrarium. Purchase a new, young plant, or else propagate an offcut of an existing plant by slicing new growth diagonally and then keeping it in water until its roots begin to show.
Next, you will want to plant your stalk into the organic matter that you have chosen for the base of your terrarium. Choose a corner with soil or pebbles to dig a small hole and carefully transfer the lucky bamboo shoot into the terrarium, taking care not to damage its roots.
Make sure that your plant is not touching the sides of the terrarium, as this may cause the plant to burn if the terrarium is exposed to too much sunlight.
How to care for lucky bamboo in a terrarium
The basic care requirements for lucky bamboo remain the same, regardless of how you are growing it. Lucky bamboo is a perennial shrub that requires filtered sunlight, chemical-free water, humidity, very occasional feeding with fertilizer and warm temperatures.
If you are not quite sure what it means that your lucky bamboo requires filtered sunlight, read this guide that offers an explanation of houseplant light level requirements.
While caring for a lucky bamboo plant in a terrarium is roughly the same as caring for one in a vase or soil pot, you will need to be aware of the ways it will differ. Living in a glass will amplify the amount of sunlight and warmth your plant gets.
This means that your lucky bamboo’s leaves may scorch more easily, and that you will need to keep your plant further away from a light source than if it were growing in a pot.
Water it in small increments when the top of the potting soil is almost dry to the touch.
Lucky bamboo is famously one of the best houseplants for your bathroom, so you might consider putting your terrarium in a room with a shower.
Frequently asked questions about growing lucky bamboo in a terrarium
What are the advantages of using a terrarium to grow lucky bamboo?
In addition to their beautiful aesthetic, terrariums ensure that lucky bamboo plants get enough warmth and humidity. The inside of a rounded glass container gets very warm throughout the day as it absorbs sunlight. If there is moist organic matter at the bottom of it, this will help create a humid environment, which is perfect for lucky bamboo.
Should I fertilize my lucky bamboo if I am growing it in a terrarium?
Even when it is not growing in relatively closed-in environment, lucky bamboo requires very little fertilizer––usually a drop of liquid fertilizer every four to six weeks will do. However, because terrariums do not have drainage holes and the fertilizer will not be rinsed out over time, you can scale back your fertilizing schedule to a drop of liquid fertilizer once every two months in summer and once every three months in winter for best results.
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Daniel has been a plant enthusiast for over 20 years. He owns hundreds of houseplants and prepares for the chili growing seasons yearly with great anticipation. His favorite plants are plant species in the Araceae family, such as Monstera, Philodendron, and Anthurium. He also loves gardening and is growing hot peppers, tomatoes, and many more vegetables.