In recent years, the lucky bamboo plant has gained popularity the world over, even in non-Asian households. This is not only because it can be maneuvered into various formations, but also because it is a relatively easy plant to grow and care for.
Traditionally, this plant is presented as a gift to loved ones or friends as a token of good fortune and luck, hence its name. It also has air purifying properties, which is a quality that is especially appreciated in indoor plants.
Lucky bamboo is very versatile, even with regard to its growing medium. It can grow in soil, water, and even on rocks.
In this article, we will discuss how to repot your lucky bamboo plant in rocks, as well as why it is important to repot the plant in general.
If you are considering repotting your lucky bamboo in rocks, or if you simply want to learn more about repotting it, then keep reading.
Why is it important to repot your lucky bamboo?
A lucky bamboo plant needs repotting when its current growing conditions have become unfavorable. Often, replacing the potting medium and the container can help fix the problem.
The first reason your lucky bamboo may need to be repotted is to provide it with fresh growing medium that can provide it with its essential nutrients and minerals. Doing this will maintain the plant’s overall health.
Another time that repotting can be helpful is when you are trying to bring a pest infestation under control. If you think your lucky bamboo may be infested with aphids, termites, mealybugs or bamboo mites, you can repot it in fresh soil, alongside your other treatment measures, to prevent further damage and ensure that the plant’s growth is not stunted.
If your lucky bamboo is kept in a container that has become too small, you will need to repot it to a bigger container to give its roots more space to grow into. Remember that lucky bamboo grows very quickly, so it will not take very long for it to outgrow its container. The roots can become suffocated and a change of container and growing medium will be necessary for it to continue growing optimally.
Basically, your plant’s pot needs to increase in size along with the plant itself. Think of it like a child’s shoes. Children’s feet grow much faster than most parents anticipate, and they are constantly buying new shoes that are a size bigger than the old ones. The same is true for your plants, and it is important not to disregard their needs.
How to repot your lucky bamboo in rocks
Before repotting your lucky bamboo, there are several things you should have to hand. These include your new pots, some water, a dusting cloth or an old towel, and the rocks that you plan to use.
A lucky bamboo’s ability to grow well with little attention starts with proper potting, so it pays to give some time and attention to this process.
First, you will need to prepare a clean workspace to perform the repotting, and ensure that the knives or scissors you may need to trim the plant are sterilized, so that there is no risk of contamination. If you want to be extra careful about possible contamination, you can also wear gloves.
Wash the rocks with running water until all the soil and dirt have been removed. There might have been pathogens in this soil and dirt which could infect the lucky bamboo, which is why washing them is important. Then, rinse out the new pot and fill it to about one third with rocks.
Next, place the pot under the tap and fill it with water until about halfway. If you have access to rainwater or filtered water, all the better. As much as possible, use water that contains neither chlorine nor fluoride. If your water does contain chlorine, place it in a container and leave it out for at least a day so that the chlorine evaporates before using it.
If a lucky bamboo plant is left for many weeks in water that contains fluoride and chlorine, it may die, so avoiding these is a must.
Once the new pot is prepared with the rocks and water, you can remove the lucky bamboo from its old pot. Do this as slowly and gently as possible so that minimal damage is done.
After removing the plant, check the stalks for any yellow parts, and check for dead or damaged roots. Remove any unhealthy looking stems and roots using your sterilized tools.
Next, place the lucky bamboo in the new pot so that the roots are almost touching the bottom of the pot. Rearrange the rocks if you need to make space for the plant, or to provide support so that the plant stays upright.
When the plant is secure, place the pot in an area where it can get lots of sunshine, but make sure it is not direct sunlight because that can burn the plant.
Check the water level every day to ensure that the water is always covering the rocks. The stalks of the plant do not need to be submerged; only the roots need to have contact with the water.
Change all of the water in the container once a week so that the container and the rocks can stay clean.
How to care for a lucky bamboo plant in rocks
Unlike most plants, a lucky bamboo growing in rocks will not need to be watered because it is, of course, already growing in water. Just make sure that the water never gets any lower than the rocks so that the roots are not at risk of drying out.
The rocks help to make sure that the water is distributed evenly among all the plant’s roots.
Change the water in the pot every seven to ten days to avoid the growth of algae. During the winter you may only need to do this every ten to fifteen days.
Remember to use filtered water or rainwater. If you have to use tap water, leave it out in the sun for a day to let the chlorine evaporate before giving it to your plant.
Lucky bamboo plants do not need direct light and will do just fine indoors. The leaves will burn if the plant is left under direct light, even for just a few hours.
Just place the plant in an area where it can get four hours of indirect sunlight every day.
In the winter, you can place it where it gets brighter light than normal, because the low temperatures can cause the plant’s leaf tissue to freeze if it does not stay warm enough.
If light is very scarce, you can also support the plant by placing it under a grow light.
Lucky bamboo grows naturally in humid parts of the world, so it appreciates higher humidity than most plants. The good thing about growing the plant in rocks is that this setup is already quite humid, and provides almost perfect conditions around your humidity-loving plant.
Since the plant already gets most of its nutrients from the rocks and the water in the pot, you rarely need to fertilize it. Feed it three times a year and no more, because too much feeding can do more harm than good.
Use a water-soluble fertilizer so that you can just add it to the plant’s water in the container.
The most commonly observed pests in lucky bamboo plants are mealybugs and spider mites. You can manually remove these pests, or you can use rubbing alcohol to wipe the plant down and kill the pests. If there are any pests on the rocks themselves, remove the rocks from the pot and clean them with soap. Make sure to wash the soap off properly before putting the rocks back in the pot.
Lucky bamboo plants can grow in soil, water, or even rocks. They are some of the most hardy plants, and need little attention provided they are given optimal growing conditions.
You will need to repot your lucky bamboo if its roots are crowded or if the plant itself is too big for the old pot.
To repot the plant in rocks, place clean rocks in the new pot, up to about a third of the way, and then fill the pot about halfway with filtered water or rainwater. Remove any damaged foliage or roots from the lucky bamboo before placing it in the new pot.
Change the water in the pot every seven to ten days in the summer and every ten to fifteen days during winter. Make sure the plant only gets indirect light, feed it only three times a year, and always keep an eye on the plant to know when it needs repotting again.
Image: istockphoto.com / josh-r