Curling Lucky Bamboo Plant?

How and where do you wind the copper wire on an indoor bamboo plant?

By Steph from Victoria, Australia

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November 23, 2009


I read a post on this website concerning the process of "curling" the lucky bamboo plant. I have one now that I am trying to work with. In a small vase, the plant sits inside a cardboard box; I cut out one whole side of the box. About 3 or 4 feet from the box is my light source, which is actually a "plant bulb". I started this process only a few days ago, so there is no reason to see any development, but am I doing this right? Or should I just cut out a small portion of one side of a box?

Mark from Ocala, Florida



It sounds to me like your method will probably work just fine. In fact, using artificial lights might actually help you speed up what can otherwise be an long process. New growth on these plants will always grow toward the light (photo-tropism), so there are a number of ways to coax your Dracaena into a serpentine shape.

  1. You can lay the stalk on its side and use an overhead light. The green shoots will turn upwards toward the light as they grow, so all you have to do it turn the stalk once in a while to coax growth into the desired direction. Obviously, this does not work with a plant growing in a vase filled of water, but it can work well with stalks planted in dirt.

  2. You can cover the stalk with a box that has a hole in the side (like you're doing) and use either natural or artificial light to coax it into curling. I'm not sure it matters whether you have the entire side of the box cut away or not, but keep in mind that only new side shoots and new top growth will follow the light. Old, hardened growth cannot be trained to curl. Turn new growth 180 degrees as needed.

  3. You can use a physical means (copper wire) to train growth to bend in the same way you would train a bonsai.

Above all, you need patience. You can expect to wait as much as 18 months or more to see stalks with an obvious curling form.

Good luck!


About The Author: Ellen Brown is an environmental writer and photographer and the owner of Sustainable Media, an environmental media company that specializes in helping businesses and organizations promote eco-friendly products and services. Contact her on the web at

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