By Assunta Ng
Northwest Asian Weekly
Asian cultures believe lucky bamboos can bring prosperity. However, I have these cute plants in my home for more important purposes.
In the past, I used to give flowers to my friends as gifts, before I realized I was competing with many other flower givers on those special occasions. No one remembered my gift. And flowers die too quickly.
So I switched it up. Lucky bamboos have become my favorite gifts. They last for years. A friend told me her lucky bamboo lasted for 12 years. My bamboo plants have been with me for over five years, still growing strong and tall. I like the fact that they don’t take up a lot of space, especially if you live in a small apartment. They are also inexpensive. Considering their longevity, these bamboos are good deals compared to other houseplants or flowers. Generally, the small ones with pots and pebbles, which cost close to $20, are my preferred size. In my opinion, little lucky bamboos are much prettier than the big ones. Those with twists are even more appealing.
I don’t live in a house, so I don’t have a yard. Those bamboos provide me with much needed oxygen in my home. If you live in a densely populated area and don’t have much time to take care of houseplants, the lucky bamboo is for you.
I have a confession. I am lazy when it comes to housework. And lucky bamboos are easy to care for.
Basically, you just need to water them. I give each plant two ice cubes every week. When I water them, I enjoy looking at them, and I thank them for cleansing the air and creating positive energy. Sound silly? Not really. For me, it’s an enjoyable and de-stressing ritual every week to get away from computers and cell phones. It’s just another way of smelling the roses and living in the moment. Watching them grow just lifts my spirits.
Lucky bamboos are a beautiful enhancement of your space in your office or living rooms (but not bedrooms), especially in boring corners. The Chinese believe that those darling bamboos can bring you wealth if you design them with feng shui elements, such as tying a red ribbon around the bamboo. This is said to add the fire element to increase energy. Some people place the plant side by side with interesting artifacts. Whether or not you add anything is entirely up to you. You don’t have to arrange them together with lavish things. I paired one of my lucky bamboos with oyster shells I brought back from Hawaii. It reminds me of my trip to the Big Island vividly and fondly.
By the way, lucky bamboos are not real bamboo. It only resembles bamboo. Unlike real bamboo, which require lots of sunlight, lucky bamboo cannot be placed under direct sunlight. It will kill them instantly. If your bamboo turns yellow, you should throw it away as Chinese culture preaches that any dead plant will bring you bad luck.
Bamboo plants are prized by many Asian gardeners and nursery owners, who distribute these greens to Asian grocery stories and mainstream retail outlets. When I buy bamboos, I am supporting the Asian community. I am the publisher of an Asian medium. So, I always look for ways to support the community.
Have the bamboos brought me luck so far? I can’t really answer that. It’s hard to verify how someone gets lucky. One thing is certain, my lucky bamboo gives me bliss — and we can never have enough!
Assunta Ng can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.