Is there a way...

mesopogi92(6)November 9, 2011

Is there a way to make lucky bamboo stalks thicker? Or do they stay the same size forever?

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tapla (mid-MI z5b-6a)

How fast the stalk thickens is directly proportional to the plant's photosynthesizing surface area and the amount of light it receives. The more foliage, the greater the photo-intensity and the longer the photo-exposure - the faster the stems will thicken. To be technically accurate, I should note that increasing photo-intensity and photo-period offers a return only to a certain point (photo-saturation), after which returns are diminishing.


    Bookmark   November 9, 2011 at 5:19PM
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rhizo_1 (North AL) zone 7

Meso, Dracaena sanderiana is a very slender plant, and even at its best, will not have a thick stocky cane like many of the other Dracaena species. I'd say that the typical cane (stalk) is about the thickness of one of your fingers.

Another point worth mentioning is that these terrestrial plants do their best in a good, fast draining potting medium and not in water.

    Bookmark   November 10, 2011 at 7:47AM
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IS there a way to make LB thicker?

Yes, purchase one w/a thick

This LB's diameter branch was/is at least 2" thick.

BTW, this pretty LB no longer looks pretty. My 172lb Mastiff knocked it down half a dozen times. The last time did the trick. It broke in sections.
It's still in water, but no longer has shape.

I have two other D. Sanderianas also growing in water. One is approximately 1" thick, another which is older than the the other two, is less than .25". All three have been in water for years, getting very little sun.

If you see a thick-stalk LB at a store, including Walmart, go for it. Toni

    Bookmark   November 10, 2011 at 11:37AM
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@rhizo_1: I grow my lucky bamboo in cactus soil..

@tapla: What do you mean by returns? And i thought lucky bamboo doesnt do well with high light?

    Bookmark   November 10, 2011 at 12:56PM
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tapla (mid-MI z5b-6a)

'Returns', = 'what you get back' for the increase in light. It's an understory plant, so it does best in very bright, filtered light. More foliage with a given amount of light will always hasten an increase in the diameter of the stems; but more and/or brighter light will help increase the caliper of stems/branches only up to the point of photo-saturation. Beyond that, additional light is not helpful and can even be a limiting factor, which speaks to the diminishing 'returns' I alluded to.


    Bookmark   November 10, 2011 at 2:24PM
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ohhh!!! All these years i thought they liked dim lighted places

    Bookmark   November 10, 2011 at 7:46PM
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So did

Well, come to think of it. I have one at work that sits in high light and the leaves are dark green and held tighley together. Rather bushy.

The one at home in the kitchen on the sink that gets light from a distant East facing window is tall and leggy!lol

Just goes to show you. I never gave it much thought until it was pointed out.


    Bookmark   November 11, 2011 at 9:08AM
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Tiffany, purpleinopp GardenWeb, Z8b Opp, AL

There are a couple factors at work regarding confusion about "low light" plants. The first is location. When someone in Eucador says their plant can't handle direct sun, that same plant in Chicago would need a lot more light due to the weaker strength of the sun rays at such a high latitude. Then there are the values congruous to this, such as window direction, trees near the window, amount of cloud vs. sun, distance from glass, etc...

The other thing is that some plants can stay alive for a really long time - years - with much less than optimal lighting so they get a reputation for tolerating it that then gets morphed into a reputation for that plant being unable to handle any sun.

As much light as a plant can handle without sunburn is my definition of the best amount of light. BUT there is a lot of wiggle room into lower light situations until the point of slowly killing the plant from insufficient light.

To your original question, I copied this from Wiki: D. sanderiana is one of a group of small, shrubby species with slender stems and flexible strap-shaped leaves that grow as understory plants in rainforests. It is native to Cameroon in tropical west Africa. It is an upright shrub growing to 1.5 metres (5 ft) tall, with leaves 15-25 cm (6-10 in) long and 1.5-4 cm (1-2 in) broad at the base. It sounds like this one doesn't have the potential to make a fat trunk, it just gets taller.

May I ask what motivated your question? Maybe we can find a solution...

    Bookmark   November 11, 2011 at 10:27AM
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tapla (mid-MI z5b-6a)

While waiting for more from our OP, I'll add that growers often confuse the effects of heat build-up with the plant's inability to to tolerate the photo-intensity associated with a particular site - say in front of a south window. Most indoor plants would tolerate indoor sites in full sun if there is sufficient air movement to disrupt the boundary layer of air surrounding leaves. A fan works for plants in the same way it works for humans. Moving air over our skin disrupts the boundary layer of air that traps heat against our body and cools us - even when we're not sweating. Operating a fan in a room full of plants reduces the effects of solar gain (heat of the sun) dramatically. We need to apply some common sense here. I'm not suggesting that growers site their "low light" plants in front of a southern bank of windows and hope for the best. I was simply making the point that indoor sun isn't as bright as we think and most plants will tolerate it if you have adequate air movement.

For the record, sunburn and overheating are two different things. Sunburn involves the release of an O- radical as molecules excited by the sun return to a less excited state. These radicals are the same O- radicals found in the bleaching agent H2O2 (hydrogen peroxide) and they attack and oxidize chlorophyll and other pigments. This usually NEVER occurs indoors in acclimated plants. What DOES occur is, plants get overheated and can't keep up with water needs. This can usually be combated simply with air movement (a fan) in most cases.


    Bookmark   November 11, 2011 at 2:01PM
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@purpleinopp I have a 4 foot tall lucky bamboo plant and it is kinda skinny...i just wanted to know if it could get thicker because I've seen some lucky bamboo with thicker stalks

    Bookmark   November 11, 2011 at 11:52PM
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mesopogi9, Dracaena sanderiana is a monocot and is not capable of stalk-thickening in the same manner as a dicot is. Optimum growing conditions like fertilizer and light will maximise the plant's potential. Such conditions are best adopted from the very start because, if introduced suddenly, may cause the stalk to split longitudinally between the internodes. I admit to not knowing as much about this Dracaena as I should and I do not know if this splitting occurs as it does in the "Janet Craig" var.

    Bookmark   November 12, 2011 at 5:30AM
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