How to Propagate Lucky Bamboo (2 Ways)

Plus the tools you'll need to ensure successful indoor propagation

bamboo rooting in jars

The Spruce / Letícia Almeida  

If your lucky bamboo is healthy, you'll notice that it will outgrow its original shape. Instead of maintaining the twisted corkscrews or interlocking patterns, new shoots tend to grow straight up. Attractive at first, they will eventually result in an unbalanced plant. Fortunately, those unbalanced offshoots can be put to use in creating new plants.

When propagating lucky bamboo, remember that the new plant won't have the same distinctive stalks and growth habit of the parent. It'll still be a pretty and resilient houseplant, with narrow green leaves and straight stems, but it won't look like a professionally shaped lucky bamboo.

The simplest way to propagate lucky bamboo is by taking cuttings, which can be trimmed off the parent plant with clean scissors or gardening shears. Place these cuttings directly in water until new roots have formed. Bamboo can also be propagated by planting the cuttings in fresh, moist soil with plenty of drainage.

Here's how to propagate lucky bamboo plants in both soil and water.

What You'll Need

To propagate lucky bamboo, you'll first need a mature plant with offshoots. You'll also need small, sterile pruners or scissors to take the cutting.

Materials to propagate in soil:

  • Rooting hormone (optional)
  • Small container with drainage holes
  • Well-draining potting mix

Materials to propagate in water:

  • Small glass
  • Distilled water

Taking the Cutting

The first step in propagating lucky bamboo either in soil or water is to take a healthy cutting. Here's how:

  1. Cut an offshoot that's around 4 to 6 inches long using your pruners or scissors. Make your cut as close to the parent stalk as possible. 
  2. Remove the leaves from the lower half of the cutting. But make sure to keep at least one set of leaves at the top. 

It's a good idea to take multiple cuttings at once. That way, if one doesn't end up forming roots you'll have some backups.

How to Propagate Lucky Bamboo in Soil

Apply a rooting hormone to the end of your cutting if you wish. It's not essential, as lucky bamboo should readily root, but it can help to make the process more efficient. Then, here's what you need to do for propagation in soil:

  1. Plant the cut end in a small container with drainage holes that’s filled with a well-draining potting mix. Cactus soil is a good option. The cut end should be a couple inches down into the soil to keep it stable with at least one node (from which roots will grow) under the soil line. Gently firm the soil around it.
  2. Place the container in a warm spot with bright, indirect light.
  3. Water to lightly moisten the soil. And continue to water as needed to keep the soil moist but never soggy.

How to Propagate Lucky Bamboo in Water

Many people prefer propagating lucky bamboo in water because it's easy and effective.

  1. Simply place your cutting in a small glass filled with a few inches of distilled water. If you have multiple cuttings, you can place them in the same glass. Just make sure the remaining leaves are above the water line, so they don’t rot. 
  2. Place the glass in bright, indirect light.
  3. Refresh the water at least once a week, and always be sure to replace it with distilled or bottled water. Any chlorine in the water can negatively impact the cuttings. 

How Long Does It Take to Propagate Lucky Bamboo?

Your lucky bamboo cutting should start to form roots within a month. You'll be able to see that happen when propagating via water. For soil propagation, new leaf and stem growth is a sign of root formation.

At that point, you can either pot the new plant in soil or put it in a more decorative vase of water and pebbles to continue growing.

new growth from a bamboo rooted in water and pebbles
The Spruce / Letícia Almeida