Lucky Bamboo + Sand?

ryushibladeMay 14, 2009

Hi all!

About four months ago I bought a very large (15" stem) LB plant. It was cheap, but too tall, so I cut the stem in half and tried to root the top half and promote shoots in the bottom half. Neither worked! The bottom half never had even an inkling of shoots forming anywhere on the stem. So my first question is: How long does it take for offshoots to grow after cutting the stem?

But, most importantly, I'm wondering about my recent decision. After a week, the bottom half grew black and was overtaken by a fungal infection (the origins of which I have no idea). I cut the offshoot and successfully rooted it, without root hormones, in plain water. In the four months since then, it has grown a nice, strong root structure. I recently moved it from growing in a cup of water (suspended with rubberbands, no less) into a small jar filled with white sand and water.

Will the sand be harmful to this little LB? Will it promote faster growth compared to plain water? All I know for sure is it definitely gave the little thing a sense of stability!

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rhizo_1 (North AL) zone 7

Sand could cause problems down the road. If you want stability, switch to a much larger substrate, like pebbles or small stones. OR, plant your Dracaena into a good, porous potting soil...with a container that drains properly.

You might be able to grow your Dracaena in sand, but only with proper watering and fertilization. Sand and water is mucky, and your plant will not be able to properly access oxygen, an essential element for growth and development.

    Bookmark   May 15, 2009 at 11:37AM
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The sand should not be harmful unless it is treated with some kind of chemicals. For some reason LB not grown in soil is sensitive to chemical exposure.

    Bookmark   May 15, 2009 at 9:15PM
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rhizo_1 (North AL) zone 7

Growing plants in dry sand which will be watered appropriately is entirely different than growing something in water that has been saturated with sand. This scenario will create a situation that is neither terrestrial nor aquatic; the plant will find it very difficult to adapt.

Water-borne root systems are quite different from those which are designed to be successful in soil. A sand saturated plant will find it difficult to access oxygen, to give off CO2.

Try something like fish tank gravel as the smallest particle. Then, the plant will react like an aquatic, and develop substantial water-borne roots, which are able to take dissolved oxygen out of water.

    Bookmark   May 19, 2009 at 10:19AM
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Interesting Rhizo. I am not sure I can follow you exactly though. Lucky bamboo is not a truly aquatic plant, it normally grows in soil. So when you you speak about water borne roots, do you mean the root develop with a different structure because of the medium it is planted in?

    Bookmark   May 20, 2009 at 9:04PM
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rhizo_1 (North AL) zone 7

Exactly, evonne.

When rooted in water, plants have to develop roots that will be relatively efficient in getting dissolved oxygen out of the water. Oxygen becomes the limiting factor. When grown in a solid medium, roots will need to form that will be able to access water AND air in quite a different manner.

What the original poster proposed, I think, was to add sand to the jar of aquatic experiment gone awry. If the particles were BB sized, rather than sand sized, it would be quite a different story.

Does that make sense?

    Bookmark   May 26, 2009 at 1:11PM
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It makes sense to a certain extent Rhizo. Thanks for responding.

With my experience in taking the plants from water to growing them in soil, I have done quite well. The plants seem to grow much better for me that way in a very short time.

I have not personally grown lucky bamboo in sand, but I have seen them potted up in decorative sand with water. But if roots are unable to access air and water when growing in sand, that would seem like nothing would grow in sand ever. Some plants do grow anchored in sand. In the aquatic environments (fish tanks), some people will use sand for the base although I hear it can be difficut on the filters.

I am still interested Rhizo! Where does your information come from? The aquarium forum might need to hear from you. :)

    Bookmark   May 27, 2009 at 9:55PM
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Well, after two years of growing my (thriving) Lucky Bamboo in water+fish gravel, I have just placed it into some quick draining soil. I sure hope the roots are up to the task!

My other lucky bamboo cutting has been growing in sand for two months now and is doing just fine. Even after leaving it out in the sun and mild burning the leaves it is still doing fine!

Likewise, anyone interested in lucky bamboo and sunburn will be happy to note my considerably larger bamboo took most of the sun damage while providing shade to the smaller cutting and reducing the damage done there. So despite the rather severe burn, I cut away the brown parts of my large lucky bamboo and it has been doing absolutely fine--this thing is nearly unkillable!

    Bookmark   July 7, 2009 at 11:00PM
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Thanks for the update! Check back in awhile and let us know how that sand grown LB is doing.

    Bookmark   July 13, 2009 at 8:04PM
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I just purchased 4 18in. stalks of lucky bamboo. My vase is a bit shorter. The shoots are near the top of stalks. I would like the roots anchored so I propose putting 6 inches of playground sand in the bottom of the vase and then filling it water. Will let u know how it turns out later.

    Bookmark   February 21, 2011 at 8:00AM
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