Does Bamboo Need Soil To Grow? – An In-depth Look

Does bamboo need soil to grow or can you just plant it inside a glass of water and it will thrive? This answer is not straightforward. But yes, you can do this planting method for a while, but eventually, it does need some nutrients, ideally from the soil. Let us explore this topic in a bit more depth.

Bamboo refers to a large group of grass family plants in the Bambusoideae grass subfamily. There are about 1000 species spread over 91 genera, so this is a really broad and diverse group of plants. What this means, is that, if you can come up with a rule that applies to all these plants, known collectively as bamboo, that allows you to grow them in one, or another specific way, then you are a superhuman worthy of elevation to higher status! However, some bamboo-like plants are sold as novelty plants that are pretty tough and able to grow in water for a while.

Is Lucky Bamboo a Bamboo?

I like to go on about this, but common names are really bad. There is a plant called “Lucky Bamboo.” This is not actually a bamboo plant at all, but it looks a bit like bamboo. It is in fact Dracaena sanderiana.

Lucky Bamboo is often soil in little vases with water in them. Typically these are fed plant nutrients to keep them alive.  It is most likely that you found this page trying to find out how to grow lucky bamboo.

Lucky Bamboo is Often Sold in Vases Where They Grow in Water

Lucky Bamboo (which is not bamboo) is sold in these little water containers. In this regard, we will refer to both lucky bamboo and real bamboo in water in this article. Does Bamboo Need Soil To Grow

Does Bamboo Need Soil To Grow?

No. Most plants can be grown without soil – this is broadly referred to as “hydroponics”. Most plants need some sort of support for their roots and they need nutrients in the water to keep alive.

Lucky bamboo produces quite stiff roots, and these allow the plant to be able to stand up using the roots as support. In this regard, lucky bamboo is widely sold in glass containers – sometimes the plants are bent in a spiral at the base to create support. Some vendors sell bundles of lucky bamboo that can be placed in a glass vase and grown in water.

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What Type Of Nutrients Does Hydroponic Bamboo Plants Need?

Lucky bamboo plants need a small nutrient dose of a hydroponic solution such as this. Follow the dosing instructions. I generally use rainwater, or, if you cannot get this bottled drinking water – if you have tap water, it can have chlorine or quite high levels of salts that can interfere with the health of your plants. When providing nutrients to lucky bamboo growing in water, I would suggest adding 20% less than what is recommended and working the dose upwards slowly until your plants look perfect. It is easier to add nutrients than to subtract them.

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Does Bamboo Need Soil Or Rocks To Grow?

Many people who grow lucky bamboo will add pebbles to the glass vase/pot, or various other supports. If you want to make your life a whole lot easier, you can even plant your lucky bamboo in a well drained potting soil. Plants always grow better in soil, as soil supports microbial life and this supports your plants.

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Does Bamboo Grow Better in Soil Or Water?

As  a rule of thumb, most plants tend to grow better in soil. Hydroponics, is one of those hobbies that can become addictive, and hydroponics fans are always very proud of what they do. However, soil just produces better effects on plants – soil has microbial activity, organic matter, small and big particles, and it releases nutrients in a different way to how nutrients are available if we just grow plants in water.

If you can grow a plant in soil, do so. It is less stressful, a lot less fiddly and plants thrive in good soil, as they always have done on Earth, long before we arrived on the scene with crazy ideas such as “Hmm, I wonder if I can grow plants without soil?” So yes, you can grow a plant without soil, but the plant can grow itself with soil, and this means you have a lot less work to do.

Does Bamboo Grow Better In Soil Or Water


So does bamboo need soil? No. It can be grown hydroponically – in which case make sure to buy a specialized nutrient solution to mix into the water.

Change water weekly/bi-weekly to avoid it getting depleted in nutrients, or overgrown with bacteria and algae. If you get bored feeding and rinsing roots, transplant your lucky bamboo to a pot with soil and it will grow very well. It will in fact grow better in soil than in the hydroponic setup, and will take a lot less of your time.


Does bamboo grow in pots?

Yes. Lucky bamboo is actually not a bamboo, but is sold as lucky bamboo and grows well in pots.

How deep should a bamboo planter be?

For lucky bamboo, which is in fact not bamboo, you can get away with quite small pots. I tend to always like to give my plants a bit of root space, and hence would not suggest a planter of less than 2 gallons for your bamboo plant.

How big does bamboo grow?

Bamboo can get huge - but if you came to this article you are probably researching lucky bamboo that does not get very big - a few feet tall at maximum.

Does bamboo need fertilizer?

If you are growing lucky bamboo in water, it will need a bit of hydroponic nutrient. if you are growing it in soil, a little bit of fertilizer, preferably organic slow release, can help.