Greenspace: Bamboo saga continues

Jim Hillibish

My story last week on growing bamboo proved its good-luck claim can be true.

I enjoyed the good fortune of meeting a number of you who have good luck growing this plant.

As usual for bamboo, the growing information is all over the place. This possibly is due to the variety of bamboo -- more than 250 types are cultivated for sale.

There’s little agreement on growing techniques. You should experiment and find what works best for your particular plant.

One writer insists total shade is best. Another finds success with bright sunlight. Others advise that using distilled or filtered water is the key.

The column unearthed a local bamboo expert, Denny Shirer, who sells Lucky Bamboo plants and pots at craft shows. Denny doesn’t let anything go without a lecture on how to maintain it indefinitely.

He’s a proponent of growing in stones without soil, actually a form of hydroponics.

“My advice is to take the plant to the water. Place the entire plant in a sink and turn on the faucet to a trickle for about a minute. Do this once a week and the plant will last indefinitely.”

No fertilizer is needed -- it gets all of its nutrients from the water. He keeps his away from direct sunlight. The goal is a slow-growing plant of good health and longevity. Denny says planting in soil thwarts this by adding too many nutrients at once. This causes rapid growth that can exhaust the plant.

Denny offers an excellent guide to growing bamboo on his Web site at: He’s at

Lucky Bamboo looks like but is not true bamboo. It’s Dracaena Sanderana, and that’s part of the Asian lily family. Its habitat is the same as bamboo, moist jungle floors.

So the bamboo saga continues.

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