Dracaena braunii is a species of the genus Dracaena. It is also known as Dracaena sanderiana —after the German-English gardener Henry Frederick Conrad Sander (1847-1920)—, Ribbon Dracaena, Lucky Bamboo, Belgian Evergreen or sometimes Ribbon Plant.
D. braunii is one of a group of small, shrub by species with slender stems and flexible strap-shaped leaves that grow as understorey 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.
Cultivation and uses
Dracaena braunii and related species are popular houseplants, with numerous cultivars sold. It can survive in many indoor conditions, but indirect lighting is best as direct sunlight can cause the leaves to turn yellow and burn.
Although it grows better in soil, it is often sold with the roots in water. The water should be completely changed every two weeks. The water should be bottled water, soft tap water with very little fluoride, or even water from a filtered, established aquarium. It does best in bright, indirect lighting and temperatures from 15 to 25 °C (59 to 77 °F).
Yellow or brown leaf edges may be caused by too much direct light, crowded roots, or fluoridated or chlorinated water, the latter of which can no longer be prevented by leaving tap water exposed to the air as chloramine has largely replaced the more volatile chlorine in water treatment. Salty or softened water can also cause this.
Twisted shapes can be produced by rotating the plant with respect to gravity and directed light sources. This is difficult to achieve for most home users, but not impossible with a lot of spare time and a lot of patience.
Often in large chain pet shops it will be sold as an aquatic plant. While it will live for months like this, it will eventually rot unless the sprouts are allowed to grow above the surface.
- Dracaena braunii is toxic to pets.
- Dracaena braunii can flower in autumn, winter, and early spring.
It is marketed in the developed world as a Chinese decorative plant "Lucky Bamboo" (although unrelated to Bamboo and not native to Asia), propagated from short cuttings, usually in water. Dracaena braunii has long been associated with the Eastern practice of feng shui. Lucky bamboo is believed to be an ideal example of the thriving wood and water element, with the addition of a red ribbon sometimes tied around the stalks which is believed to "fire" the positive flow of energy or chi in the room. The number of stalks also has meaning: three for happiness; five for wealth; six for health. (Four stalks are avoided since the word 'four' in Chinese sounds too similar to the word for 'death'.)
Keeping lucky bamboo inside house and business places is believed to bring happiness and prosperity and this belief has promoted a huge sales of lucky bamboo shoots grown in decorative pots. In India, the plants are usually imported from China and Taiwan and resold in attractive pots and the plant has become most popular indoor plant in certain parts of India.