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amylyann01

Need help with new lucky bamboo shoots in soil

9 years ago

Hi! I recently cut off a few of my hydroponic LB shoots and let it establish roots hydroponically. Once it had a few roots, I planted it in my tiny plastic pot with soil (which seems to have bark in it and is from holland, can't read the language to find out what it contains but i bought it from ikea). The pot is really small, about 3 inches diameter and 4 inch in height, with holes at the bottom, the excess water flows out at the time of watering. And now the leaves don't seem to grow! I can see the new leaf blade that was already there when i broke the shoot off, but it doesn't grow! The plant looks bright green and healthy however!

The reason I let it root in water before planting in soil is because I previously tried cutting/breaking the shoot and directly planting in soil....it stayed green with no new leaves and finally died out after about an year. So I thought of letting it root first.

My mum does this all the time...and her new shoots (directly planted into soil) grew 6 feet ultimately...and she had 2 ceramic giant pots full!! I don't know what I am doing wrong? She was planting into much larger pots though (about 8 inches or more in height). Is it the pot.....do the roots needs more space...more free soil below? Should i switch to a clay or terracotta pot? I'm watering twice a week...the soil stays wet most of the time. I also mist once a day.

Thanks!

Comments (19)

  • 9 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    "soil stays wet most of the time" I think is your biggest problem. But lets go back to the tiny pot with bark from Holland. Could this be a pot for orchids? Probably not the best if that is the case. Its still alive and its still green so far so good. Not sure what to say about an orchid mix, if that is what you have, as it is designed for very fast drainage. How long has this cutting been in the new pot? How large a cutting is it? Basically, you need to think differently about this plant as water grown and soil grown are a bit different. In the soil, it is very important that the soil not be soggy nor stay damp too long. You should treat this plant like any other Dracaena (Your plant is a Dracaena sanderiana). Allow the top of the soil to dry a bit before watering again. Not knowing what your pot is or its contents, I would plan on getting some potting soil and some perlite. terracotta or plastic? how large are the holes in the current pot? Dracaena like bright indirect light and moist soil which you allow the top to just dry before watering (less water in winter, but remember its not a cactus). If it is in an orchid mix you might have to water it 3x per week (but that is a guess).

  • 9 years ago

    oops they are now called Dracaena braunii. there is an interesting current thread on houseplant section about lucky bamboo keeps yellowing. the discussion is turning toward planting in soil near the end of the thread


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  • 9 years ago

    Thank you! I will try to get some pictures and post them here, maybe you can get a better idea. I don't water the plant that often as I can still find the soil wet, but after 3-4 days of not watering, I get a bit scared. The soil feels wet for about a week if I don't water it. I will try to look for some perlite. In the meanwhile, I bought a slightly bigger terracotta pot (since I read it allows water to evaporate easier) to give it more depth, but my concern is that this new pot has only 1 hole and right at the bottom. I will probably looks for small rocks to make a bottom layer before adding soil, would that be a good idea? Will post pictures soon and will go through the thread you mentioned.

    I have 3 tiny shoots currently in this tiny pot, which I potted with roots 2, 3 and 6 weeks back each.

  • 9 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    In the past the best advise was to place stones in the bottom of a pot for drainage. Today, the experts recommend that you DO NOT put stones in the bottom for drainage. Why the change: they came to realize that the soil just above the layer of stones or pebbles actually only drains the super saturated amount of water which once this drains away leaves the soil for an inch or 2 above the pebbles wet and airless (aerobic) which kills any roots in that zone. Think of a sponge: add water to it till it is so wet that the water runs off it. Stop watering the sponge and once the excess drains off you have a soaking wet sponge. So, just put a stone or clay shard over the hole so the dirt doesn't pour through. In plastic pots I don't even do that. Just put your soil mix in the pot. As for the "small hole" It should be OK and if your soil doesn't pour out that hole you don't even need a stone.


    After you read the thread we discussed, you might look up care of Dracaena. The trick will be transitioning your little guys from water to soil. The roots are going to have to adapt to the different conditions. Roots grown in water are usually more fragile than the ones grown in soil, but they should be fine with the gentile tough your about to give them. Your doing this at the right time of year, which helps too! Any question just ask!
    Fred

  • 9 years ago

    As for the current pot: you say it stays wet for a week? If it is still wet after a week let it go a couple of more days and check the soil again before watering. Most people will tell you never water on a schedule, I water my plants on the weekend, but I check the surface of the soil before watering and I know roughly what my plants require as I've been taking care of them for quite a while. I do err at time too. I check my heavy drinkers on Wednesday too
    and any one that did not get watered on the weekend. Never water a plant just because it is watering day. Do some kind of check: finger in the dirt, lift the pot to feel the weight even
    just a visual inspection is better than just giving the plant water.


  • 9 years ago

    OH, "after 3-4 days I get a bit scared": not to worry it is not a cat or dog that needs daily feeding. You want the soil to dry out slightly, not cactus dry, the soil should retain some moisture. Remember these plants are just establishing roots, so they are not doing a lot of heavy drinking.


  • 9 years ago

    oh...your advice is great!! I feel relieved!! I have started touching the soil before watering now. I still haven't made the move but I will in 2-3 days to the terracotta pot. I'm glad I don't need to look for stones now...I never really got that logic anyway! Now i feel, that might be the reason my dumb cane died when i moved it to a bigger pot, I added stone layer anyway and the roots just rotted away. I am so new to this!! (i have of course thrown away that soil)

    I tried but couldn't find the topic "lucky bamboo keeps yellowing", I read similar posts but couldn't find much about soil. If its not asking too much, would you be kind to post the link to the one you are referring to.

    Btw, I stay in Dubai...I am not sure if there ever is a good time since its always hot. But my plants are indoor with good filtered sun light and the room temperature is always between 23-26 degrees. My hydroponic bamboos are doing great...but i really want to make these work in soil!!

  • 9 years ago

    http://forums2.gardenweb.com/discussions/3013008/lucky-bamboo-started-to-turn-yellow-after-cutting?n=44

    Remember not to put your plant in a pot that is too big for it, you want the root ball to have an inch or so around it for growth. Too large a pot and the soil never dries out enough.

  • 9 years ago

    How long did it take you to root?

  • 9 years ago

    Gardener, Not sure if your asking Amyly or me so, I can't remember it has been several years since I last rooted a Lucky Bamboo. It will depend on temperature and light. The warmer the
    faster it will root I should think (within normal temperature ranges that is, LOL!)


  • 9 years ago

    the new shoots were sufficiently rooted to plant them into the soil (in my opinion) in about 2 weeks in water.

    Sans2014, sorry for the delay, but here are pics now. I have recently transferred to shoots to my new terracota pot. As you can see, there are 3 shoots. One of them is quite deep because the roots were upto that point, so i felt it was best if the root have developed from a point...to let the soil be upto that point. Thats why the bigger pot. The leaves still don't seem have improved, however the roots looked healthy when I transplanted the shoots to the new pot. More roots have also developed. Should I do anything to improve this pot? do I need to add more soil and bring the shoots more up?



  • 9 years ago

    My only concern at this point is how dense that soil looks. There should be some perlite or such to help with drainage. Other wise things look good.
    Would (event though I hate to suggest disturbing the plant) any chance you could add perlite (which would require gently re-potting the plant yet again, sorry). Am I just not getting a good look at the dirt, maybe it has soil amendment in it to keep it lose and well draining? It looks like it is dirt based potting soil?


  • 9 years ago

    you are quite right, the soil is dense. I will look around for some perlite, hope I can find it easily. The soil has some fibre, coir type stuff mixed in it (looks a bit like the coir from coconut). Since all the components of the soil are dark, I can't get a clearer picture. I will try to spread some soil from my packet and take a pic. That is how far I can describe it unfortunately. :(

    Currently I water only as much required (about 1/3 or a cup), so it doesn't remain soggy for too long. I have noticed the soil dries in about 4 days and I re-water. Is that fine or shall I search for perlite?

  • 9 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    I would still recommend you look for perlite. It is good that the top of the soil is dry in 4 days, we still have to be careful that the bottom of the soil is drying out too. You could pick up the pot and check the dirt at the bottom through the hole. A pot this size you can gauge moisture by feeling the weight of the pot. To do this you will need to water the plant till water comes out the bottom (note: little sips of water is not a good idea in general as it leaves some dry pockets and some watered area, also you get mineral salt build up that too. Watering fully or said another way till water comes out the bottom helps to flush out some of that mineral salt build up). Once the plant has stopped dripping and after letting the plant absorb some of the excess water (10 to 15 minuets), you lift the pot to drain the saucer so note how heavy the pot feels. Once the top of the soil lightly dries and you are about to water it again, first lift it to feel the weight of the pot. After awhile you'll get to know dry weight and wet weight by feel.

    Now back to perlite: Just before you water again, I suggest that you test the soil at the bottom of the pot through the hole, if dry good if wet we need the perlite for sure. Regardless, we need to make sure that the soil remains relatively loose and fluffy, that it doesn't compact down like clay. I realize it is hard on the plant and inconvient for you, but I would feel better with some perlite in that mix. The picture show soil that looks too dense for my liking. I don't think you have to rush out right this minuet, but I do think it would be better sooner than later. Maybe your new picture of the soil will give me a different perspective .
    Fred

  • 9 years ago

    Amyly Ann, here are some care instructions on found online. Lets not even think about fertilizer right now, the plant doesn't need it yet as it has to recover from all the messing around were are doing to it, and it is in new soil so it is fine on fertilizer right now.


    http://houseplants.about.com/od/typesofhouseplants/a/LuckyBamboo.htm

    Caring for Your Lucky Bamboo

    Light: Lucky bamboo prefer bright, filtered sunlight, such as found under a rainforest canopy. Avoid direct sunlight as it will scorch the leaves. They are more tolerant of too little light than too much. If the plant begins to stretch, however, or the green fades, provide more light.

    Temperature: Lucky bamboo likes warmer temperatures of between 65ºF and 90ºF. Do not place the plants in front of air conditioning or heating vents.
    Potting Media: In addition to water, lucky bamboo can be grown in a well-drained, rich potting soil. Keep the soil moist, but not soaking. Water as you would any Dracaena species.



    The Dracaena genus has provided some of the sturdiest houseplants available today, including the every-popular D. deremensis. These plants, which are native to Africa, have been used as houseplants since at least the mid-19th century and are still popular because they possess the single most important quality in a houseplant: they’re pretty and fairly hard to kill. D. deremensis work as single windowsill plants or as part of a mixed group, with their various leaf patterns complementing and overlapping one another.

    Growing Conditions:

    Light: Low light is fine, but they like it a little brighter. New leaves will narrow if there isn’t enough light.
    Water: Keep evenly moist, although if you have to err, do so on the dry side. (But keeping it too dry will result in brown leaf tips.) Use non-fluoridated water as they are sensitive to fluoride.
    Temperature: Keep above 50ºF if possible. They do best in the mid-70ºs to low 80ºs.
    Soil: Loose, well-drained potting mix.
    Fertilizer: During growing, fertilizer with slow-release fertilizer or use a 20-20-20 liquid fertilizer at half-strength every month.

    Propagation:

    They root readily from cuttings. Push tip cuttings into warm soil and keep moist. They will usually root readily without use of rooting hormone. They should root within a month.

    Repotting:

    Repot annually into larger pots with fresh, free-draining potting soil.

    Grower's Tips:

    D. deremensis is a great plant for low-light conditions, but beware of low humidity. If the humidity drops below 40 percent for an extended time, the tips of the leaves can turn brown. Try misting the plant every day to provide humidity. It’s also sensitive to fluoride and excessive salts, so try to use nonfluoridated water and flush monthly to remove fertilizer salts. Growth may cease completely below 70ºF, but will resume when warmer weather returns. Iron deficiency can result in yellowing leaves between the veins—treat with an iron drench. They are susceptible to thrips and mealybugs.

  • 9 years ago

    Thanks Fred,

    I have been reading on the same lines and will keep these advice in mind. Will now just try to look for some perlite.

  • 9 years ago

    Hi! So I being in Dubai....I looked around a lot...and did not find perlite in all places accessible to me. Is there an alternative I could use?

  • 9 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    Amyly Ann, lava rock or pumice maybe "river sand". Regular sand is too fine. The river sand I'm thinking of is like tiny small gravel. Aquarium gravel? You want stuff that is the size of BB's or pepper corns. (not saying to use bb's or pepper corns LOL). Pea gravel is too large. Not sure what is available in your location. Let me know what you find or if you can't find anything like the suggestions.
    Fred

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