Dracaena Sander, or “Bamboo of Happiness”
The cultivated plant, Happy Bamboo, which has spread around the world under this unpretentious name, besides a similar appearance, has nothing to do with bamboos. At first glance it is difficult to guess one of the dracenas in the plant, but this amazing culture belongs to the family of the most popular indoor “palm trees”. Is “Bamboo of Happiness” Really (Lucky Bamboo) attracts luck, happiness and blessings - a moot point. But this plant is beautiful, original and changes the atmosphere in any room. Easy to grow, unpretentious and hardy, pseudo-bamboo deserves the title of one of the easiest pets to care for.
Dracaena Sander (Dracaena sanderiana) - a species of plants of the genus Dracaena (Dracaena) of the Iglitsovye family (Ruscaceae).
"Bamboo" appearance of an ultra-hardy "palm"
Under the name of bamboo of happiness, a charming and not so rare kind of dracaena - Dracaena Sander, or Sanderian (Dracaena sanderiana) has spread throughout the world. But this sweet nickname caused a lot of confusion: even in flower shops, experienced consultants are most often confident that this culture is indoor bamboo. But be that as it may, this plant differs from the legendary bamboo, and from the familiar dracaena both externally and by growing technology.
It is so widespread that it has long erased the usual boundaries and is a kind of cultural phenomenon. Lucky bamboo owes so much popularity to feng shui, with particular trepidation regarding its ability to attract good luck and bring happiness. Dracaena Sander is now sold not only as a houseplant, but also along with ordinary fresh flowers, as a souvenir and in gift shops.
From the point of view of botanical classification, the species Dracaena Sanderiana is currently synonymous with the species Dracaena brown (Dracaena braunii). Both names may be indicated in the literature.
Dracaena Sander is an unpretentious evergreen perennial with both shoots and foliage equally attractive. The outward resemblance to bamboos is indeed capable of being misleading. On sale, lucky bamboo is most often represented by small "columns" of stems with a bunch of leaves at the top, a specially formed "spiral" or with numerous side branches-processes. Each “trunk” of “bamboo of happiness” below ends with powerful tufts of roots.
Whole figures are formed from small dracaenas in indoor plant shops, planted in a dense row or circle, creating a kind of “stockade”. The height of Dracaena Sander can reach 1 meter, and its leaves grow up to 20-25 cm in length. The shape of both the stem and leaves is very similar to real bamboo. The leaves are dense, glossy, elongated-lanceolate, up to 3 cm wide.
In addition to the basic type with a uniform light, light green color, there are varieties with original light, yellow or dark borders and stripes on the leaves. In indoor culture, Dracaena Sander does not bloom.
Conditions for growing Sander dracaena
The main trump card of a happy bamboo is considered to be endurance. This unique plant is the only one of dracaena, and indoor crops in general, capable of growing simply in water. Out of the soil, bamboo of happiness is most often sold here, although it is possible to grow Sander dracaena according to standard, familiar agricultural technology in the substrate.
Sander Dracaena Growing Strategy:
- in water or hydroponics with decorative pebbles instead of soil;
- in the ground like an ordinary houseplant.
On a note. Spirals on the shoots can be formed artificially, but only on an industrial scale: at home it is almost useless to try to bend the stems with wire or single-sided lighting.
Lighting for bamboo happiness
Dracaena Sander, like all dracaena, prefers bright locations with diffuse drainage. And the most attractive foliage of the plant looks in good light. But the unique adaptability of this plant can be safely attributed. A lucky bamboo will not only survive, but will look good even in rooms in which there are no sources of natural light at all, and artificial lighting is switched on only periodically.
The variegated varieties of Sander dracaena will lose their characteristic color, leaves and stems in the shade will become lighter and longer, but such conditions will not cause any other changes. That is why it is recommended to use happiness bamboo for interior decoration: there is no need to exhibit it on window sills, you can safely enter it into the room decor and use it as an original decorative accent. It is better to protect happy bamboo from direct sunlight.
Problems with the selection of comfortable temperatures for Dracaena Sander will not arise. This plant is thermophilic, does not like lowering even to 17-18 degrees and feels good all year round in the usual room temperature range. Lucky bamboo grows well in temperatures from 20 to 35 degrees Celsius.
What bamboo of happiness will not refuse is the fresh air. The plant adores frequent airing, tolerates drafts well. Under the open sky or on balconies it is not necessary to take it out, but it is better to take care of the access of clean air to the rooms with Sander dracaena specially.
Humidity for Dracaena Sander
Dracaena Sander perfectly tolerates even the driest air and does not impose any requirements on its humidity. Happy bamboo does not need spraying, installation of humidifiers, and if it grows in water, it will favorably influence the conditions for all neighboring plants, playing the role of a kind of living “humidifier” of air.
Caring for Dracaena Sander at home
Watering Dracaena Sander
Dracaena Sander is much more hygrophilous than her brothers in the family. This dracaena is not afraid of stagnation of moisture and easily transfers life in the "water" mode. If the plant is grown in the substrate, then watering is carried out as the soil dries up, maintaining medium-high humidity and preventing the soil from drying out deeper than 2-3 cm.There should never be a complete drying of the earthen coma for a happy bamboo.
When grown in water, it is critical to keep its level stable. No matter what capacity the bamboo of happiness is in, water should not go beyond 2-3 cm above the upper roots of the plant (the total water level is limited to 6-8 cm). Too high a level of water can lead to decay of the shoots. You need to add water with a frequency of 1 time per week, more frequent procedures are not needed.
Of critical importance when growing Sander dracaena is water quality. This plant can be watered or kept in distilled or filtered soft water. Its temperature should correspond to the air temperature in the room where the lucky bamboo is located.
Care should be taken about the purity of the leaves of the plant. Dracaena Sander will not refuse to regularly wipe the leaves with a damp cloth or sponge, which will help get rid of dust and maintain an external “gloss”.
Fertilizers for "bamboo of happiness"
The feeding strategy for growing in water should be completely different. Sometimes florists do not recommend feeding such bamboo at all, but if you do not use fertilizers at least periodically, due to a lack of minerals, the leaves will gradually turn yellow, and the whole plant will lose its decorativeness and slowly, but surely wither away (let the process stretch for almost years) .
To maintain the attractiveness of Sander dracaena, it will be enough to periodically add a mixture of fertilizers for dracaena to the water (complex fertilizers can also be used, but it is better to purchase special preparations).
It is also better to use special fertilizer mixtures for bamboo dracenes growing in the soil.
In both cases, Dracaena Sander prefers the same frequency of top dressing: 1 procedure in 3-4 weeks will be enough, but for plants in water, the standard dose can be slightly reduced. Fertilizers for happiness bamboo are applied from spring to mid-autumn.
Pruning Dracaena Sander
Both in water and in soil, Dracaena Sander does not stop growing. If the stems stretch too much, the plant begins to lose its decorative appearance to young specimens or does not fit well into the aesthetic design of the rooms, then the bamboo can be “shortened”: cut off its top and root it in water, and then replace the old “sticks” with a new plant.
Transplant, water change and substrates
A transplant of happy bamboo, regardless of its growing strategy, is carried out annually. For plants growing in water, “transplantation” is carried out when signs of deposits appear. The capacity in which bamboo grows does not need to be changed, but simply carefully remove the plant in clean water and utensils, carefully clean its permanent “vase” and then put the bamboo back.
Decorative pebbles, in which lucky bamboo grows, also need washing and periodic cleaning (the hydrogel is changed with the frequency recommended by the manufacturer). For pseudo-bamboo growing in the soil, transplanting is best done in early spring.
When planting in water, the plant, in principle, does not need any substitute for the substrate, but to fix thin shoots, resistance, it is better to put Sander dracaena not just in a container with water, but in special decorative substrates - glass pebbles, pebbles, and other types of decorative soil.
Please note that individual pebbles or fragments are best chosen with rounded edges, without sharp cuts and sides. Perfect for a happy bamboo and coarse colored sand, and granulate, and a special hydrogel for hydroponics.
Tanks for happy bamboo grown outside the soil are also chosen in a special way. For dracaena, Sander usually uses transparent vases, glasses, decanters, flasks or original vases and vessels that fit well into the interior.
When grown in a substrate for Sander dracaena, it is most important to lay a thick, powerful drainage layer. It should completely cover the height of the roots of the pseudo-bamboo, be from 1/4 to 1/3 of the volume of the tank.
Rounded stones, pebbles, coarse sand can be used as a drainage layer, decorative stones can be used in transparent containers. The upper part of the substrate can be replaced with sand, a mixture of peat and substrate, or use the usual earth mixture for dracaena from among the finished compounds.
Diseases and pests of Dracaena Sander
Lucky bamboo in room culture is usually not sick. Only in a very neglected state, with water pollution and deviation from the usual care strategy, in the vicinity of the affected crops, can mealybugs, red spider mites annoy him. Pests can be controlled with insecticides, but it is easier to replace the crop with new plants.
Common problems in growing Sander dracaena:
- drying the tips of the leavesthe appearance of a brown dry edge over the entire sheet plate with insufficient humidity, low air temperature;
- yellowing of the lower leaves - a natural process (if they turn yellow slowly) or in the absence of top dressing;
- leaf curl in a cold room;
- dry spots on leaves in direct sunlight.
Reproduction of Dracaena Sander
An amazing plant is propagated only vegetatively. New generations of Sander dracaena can be obtained:
- cuttings up to 15 cm long, which use shoot tips (they are simply rooted in very moist soil or water);
- stalk segments of 6-8 cm with at least one sleeping bud, rooting according to the same principle.
To root stem and apical cuttings, warm conditions are needed - the temperature is from 23 to 25 degrees Celsius.