While the answer may surprise you, do you know the difference between lucky bamboo vs bamboo? There are multiple distinguishing features that you can learn in order to tell these two plants apart, but what might some of those things be? And how can you learn how to properly care for either of these plants if that is something you are interested in doing?
In this article, we will compare and contrast bamboo and lucky bamboo so that you can fully understand these two plants. We will go over their physical descriptions, no matter how similar they might be, as well as what these plants are typically used for. Finally, we’ll go over the best zones to plant these plants in case you are interested in having them in your home or garden. Let’s get started!
Comparing Lucky Bamboo vs Bamboo
|Thin green stems end in delicate leaves, though the stems may not be entirely straight. Can manipulate the stems into curly shapes and designs, and can grow up to five feet tall on average. Distinct rings on the outside of the stems.
|Thin, woody trunks that end in long and delicate leaves. Can grow up to 90-100 feet tall, depending on the species, of which there are roughly 1200! Comes in a variety of colors, including green, gray, black, and red. Stems or trunks are typically hollow, with visible rings around the outside to show their growth.
|A popular houseplant around the world, prized for its ability to be trained into unique designs. Often given as a gift for good luck and friendship, and very popular in Feng Shui uses.
|Dozens of uses, including furniture, paper crafts, culinary applications, home building, accessories, home goods, decoration, and more. Also utilized medicinally in many cultures, and you can make musical instruments too!
|10-11; indoor houseplant only
|Water and Light Needs
|Indirect light to partial shade, but grows faster in full light. Can be planted in water (change weekly), or keep soil slightly damp.
|Depends on the species, but often needs at least 5 hours of bright, indirect light per day. Needs an inch or two of water per week, but don’t let the roots sit in water.
Key Differences Between Lucky Bamboo vs Bamboo
There are many key differences between lucky bamboo vs bamboo. For example, bamboo belongs to the Poaceae bambusoideae species, while lucky bamboo belongs to the Dracaena sanderiana species, making them unrelated to each other. In addition, bamboo grows much taller than lucky bamboo. While both have a long history and are used for many things, bamboo has far more uses compared to the humble houseplant, lucky bamboo.
Let’s take a look at all of these differences and more in detail now.
Lucky Bamboo vs Bamboo: Classification
One of the most shocking facts to unveil when looking at lucky bamboo and bamboo is that they are not at all related. Lucky bamboo is a houseplant that looks strikingly similar to traditional bamboo, but they belong to very different plant families. Bamboo belongs to a family of grasses and there are roughly 1200 different varieties, while lucky bamboo belongs to the asparagus family.
Lucky Bamboo vs Bamboo: Description
The physical appearance of bamboo and lucky bamboo may look similar upon first glance, but there are a number of differences. For example, bamboo grows much taller than lucky bamboo, reaching as tall as 90 feet compared to the humble 5-foot-tall lucky bamboo. In addition, bamboo comes in more colors compared to lucky bamboo, such as red, brown, black, or gray.
While both of these plants grow on skinny stems and end in delicate leaves, lucky bamboo can be shaped into spirals and a variety of designs, while traditional bamboo maintains straight lines. However, both of these plants have unique exterior rings that illustrate their age, and they are both hollow as well.
Lucky Bamboo vs Bamboo: Uses
Bamboo is used in far more applications compared to lucky bamboo. While both plants have been utilized for thousands of years, lucky bamboo has always been a type of houseplant used in Feng Shui, while bamboo has always been used in countless manufacturing and hobby capacities.
For example, bamboo is popularly used in home and furniture production, paper making, culinary applications, and more, while lucky bamboo is a popular gift for friends to give one another. While lucky bamboo has a long history of luck, as the name implies, there are a number of attributes associated with bamboo as well.
Lucky Bamboo vs Bamboo: Hardiness Zones
You may have already guessed this, but lucky bamboo and bamboo have very different hardiness zones that they can live in. In general, lucky bamboo is indeed a houseplant, thriving in zones 10-11 only, while there are so many different bamboo species that it can live in zones 5-10. This is significant, especially if you are hoping to plant some bamboo in your yard!
Lucky Bamboo vs Bamboo: Water and Light Needs
A final difference between bamboo and lucky bamboo is their plant needs. Lucky bamboo can be grown in a shallow dish of clean water, while bamboo must be planted in the ground. Additionally, bamboo requires a decent amount of sunlight per day, while lucky bamboo can survive in the shade. However, if you want either of these plants to grow taller, at least 5 hours of bright, indirect light is best!
The photo featured at the top of this post is © Nik Waller Productions/Shutterstock.com
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