Monday, 1 June 2009

Lucky you.

Lucky bamboo seems to be sold everywhere at the moment. Why they call it lucky escapes me. Why they call it bamboo escapes me too. It is in fact a member of the Dracaena family: Dracaena sanderiana. In its popular houseplant form, D.sanderiana has white or gold stripes along the leaves and grows in a bush like shape. When used as ‘lucky bamboo’ the plain green variety is usually used in a variety of forms and shapes.

One type of arrangement comprises three or four concentric circles of stems in a decorative style dish or bowl, the outer circle being the shortest and the inner circles increasing in height towards the middle. This method can be taken to extreme as shown in the picture!

Other arrangements are lattice shaped and woven style in numerous permutations. The forming of lattices is relatively simple and can usually be achieved in a short space of time but when it comes to spiral ‘lucky bamboo’ the turnaround time is a bit longer. It can take up to six months to form one loop of the spiral!

There are two factors that determine the spiralling in the stem. Firstly, the Dracaenas are encouraged to grow towards the light by the use of strategic shading. Secondly, the plants reaction to gravity is utilised. The Dracaenas always try to grow perpendicular to the Earth. I have seen this happen when large Dracaena stuedneri plants used in office displays have been laying down in the back of a company vehicle. They were too tall to stand up in the vehicle if you were wondering. If left for 2-3 days, the top six to eight inches of foliage turns at a right angle to the original stem. When taken out of the vehicle and placed upright, the angled stem turns back towards the heavens leaving a little kink.

The lucky bamboo doesn’t often flower but when it does, it forms a little flower spike or inflorescence. I wanted to explain exactly which type of flower this is but couldn’t decide between determinate inflorescence with acropetal maturation and determinate inflorescence with divergent maturation. So I didn’t bother.
Draceanas are favoured by interior landscapers as they are very tolerant of low light levels. I have often seen flower spikes on the aforementioned D.stuedneri in offices. They last for around three weeks and when open, they smell exactly like hyacinths!

No comments:

Post a Comment