Lucky bamboo is beloved amongst houseplant owners for its notched green stalks and distinctive leafy growth. Despite its name, it does not belong to the bamboo genus but is a member of the dracaena family.
It is easy to care for and highly versatile––it can grow be grown in soil, in a water-filled vase, or in a terrarium. Lucky bamboo can also be trained into beautiful shapes that add feng-shui to any living space.
Because of lucky bamboo’s versatility, there are a number of reasons why you might want to transplant or repot it.
You might already be growing lucky bamboo in a soil-filled pot and now need to transplant it into a bigger pot because it has become rootbound.
Alternatively, you might be looking to propagate a cutting or transfer an established stalk from its current vase to a soil-filled pot. Whatever your reasons for doing so, it is important that you repot your lucky bamboo correctly.
How to repot lucky bamboo
Choose a pot or container with a diameter that is at least 2 inches wider than the stalks you are re-planting. Fill the bottom of the pot with stones of gravel to improve the drainage of the soil. Place the stalks close together and hold them in place with more of the stones or gravel. Fill the rest of the pot with a fast-draining compost mix.
Repotting from a vase to a pot
If you have been growing your lucky bamboo in water-filled vase, and holding them in place with a substrate, such as smooth stones or gravel, it is usually best to leave your stalks in water.
They have now become accustomed to growing in water and will be most happy if allowed to continue doing so.
However, there are certain circumstances in which it may prove extremely advantageous to move lucky bamboo stalks from a vase to a soil-filled pot.
One such situation is when the stalks of your lucky bamboo have begun turning yellow. While there are several reasons why lucky bamboo turns yellow, a distinctly yellow stalk is almost always the cause of overfertilization.
If you suspect you have overfertilized your lucky bamboo, it is a good idea to transplant it from a vase to soil, because soil will help neutralize the effects of fertilizer and can prevent some of its more harmful effects.
If you decide to move lucky bamboo from a vase to a soil-filled pot, make sure you wash out the pot carefully to avoid the risk of any bacteria that may be lingering in the pot finding its way into your plant.
After you have washed the pot, you can begin by placing stones or gravel at the bottom. Place the bamboo inside and then make sure the stalks are close together and are being held in place safely.
Fill the pot with soil around the stalks and water your lucky bamboo thoroughly.
You should aim to water a little more than you usually would over the course of the next few days. Your lucky bamboo will be used to having constant access to water, so always keep the soil very moist to reduce transplant shock.
After two to three days, you can scale back your watering and aim to always keep the soil just gently moist.
Be aware of the dangers of root rot! While you do need to water lucky bamboo thoroughly during your transplanted plant’s first few days in new soil, make sure you don’t continue to give it that volume of water for more than a few days.
Lucky bamboo can develop root rot if it is left sitting in waterlogged soil for too long. If it does, you will need to take steps to save your plant from root rot.
Repotting from pot to pot
If you are repotting from one pot to another because your lucky bamboo has grown, you can follow standard repotting guidance, as your plant will already be used to living in soil.
Select a pot that is approximately 2 to 3 centimeters larger than the pot your lucky bamboo was previously living in. Fill the bottom with stones and cover this with a layer of a fast-draining houseplant soil.
Take your stalks out of their current pot and crumble away as much of the soil around their roots as you can without damaging their root systems.
It is common for lucky bamboo to become quite root-bound. Don’t fear, you can gently pull apart its roots as much as you can without damaging them. Even if the root system stays entangled, it should not cause you concern. The roots will continue to grow outwards once they have been planted in a pot with more space.
Position the stalks close together and fill the remainder of the pot with the soil.
Water your lucky bamboo thoroughly after transplanting. After an initial deep water, you can return to your regular watering schedule.
Planting a propagated cutting
Lucky bamboo is a very easy plant to propagate.
To do so, you will first need to take a cutting of the plant using a disinfected pair of clipping shears or houseplant scissors. Cut the stalk at a diagonal angle for maximum exposure to new organic matter or water.
You can either choose to place the cutting in water until roots begin to grow, before then planting it in the soil, or you can plant the stalk directly into moist soil.
If you decide to plant the stalk directly in soil without first letting its roots grow in water, make sure you are keeping the soil just a little moister than you normally would until new growth emerges. Once new shoots have begun to emerge from the tops or sides of the stalks, you can revert to a watering schedule that keeps the soil just lightly moist.
Transplanting into a terrarium
Another reason you may be transplanting lucky bamboo is that you are making a terrarium.
If you have purchased young lucky bamboo stalks and are about to transplant them into the soil of a new open terrarium, follow the same general guidelines for replanting in a soil-filled pot.
Be aware, however, that terrariums do not have drainage holes, so you will need to be mindful not to give the plant too much water.
Marcel runs the place around here. He has a deep passion for houseplants & gardening and is constantly on the lookout for yet another special plant to add to his arsenal of houseplants, succulents & cacti.
Marcel is also the founder of Iseli International Commerce, a sole proprietorship company that publishes a variety of websites and online magazines.