What Is the Meaning of Lucky Bamboo Plants?

Updated April 17, 2017

Bamboo plants have been considered a sign of good luck by many cultures throughout Asia for thousands of years. This "lucky" plant is featured in the creation stories of several countries, including the Philippines and Malaysia. The Lucky Bamboo plant also symbolises friendship in India, while China sees the plant as a symbol of both luck and wealth. There are several "meanings" of the bamboo plant and reasons that it is so revered, including the important role it plays in the ancient art of Feng Shui.

Creation Stories

Bamboo plays a central role in the mythology of cultures in Asia. In the Philippines creation story, both man and woman emerged from a bamboo stem. The Malaysian creation story tells us that the man fell asleep under the shade of a bamboo tree and dreamed of a beautiful woman. When he awoke, he "opened the bamboo tree and found the woman inside." Similarly, the creation tale in the Andaman Islands (an island group in the Bay of Bengal) involves the first people emerging from bamboo stems.

Feng Shui

Lucky Bamboo is closely linked to the concept of Feng Shui. Feng Shui is an ancient Chinese art and science, "based on the Taoist vision of understanding nature," and the belief that nature is a living entity, filled with energy. This ancient practice involves the uniting of the elements of fire, earth, wood, water and metal. Modern Feng Shui practitioners work with exterior and interior design, as well as the placement of objects, to promote positive energy and repel the negative. Because the Lucky Bamboo plant thrives in many environments, many people use it within the context of Feng Shui, as it "promotes positive energy flow or "chi."

Lucky Stalks

In Chinese tradition, the number of stalks on the Lucky Bamboo plant have great significance and can bring different benefits to your life. According to "The Gardener's Rake" and "Nature Perfect" Web sites: Three stalks bring Fu (happiness), Lu (wealth) and Soh (longevity). Six stalks brings prosperity and favourable conditions. The number "six," pronounced in Chinese, sounds like the word "luck." Seven stalks represents good health. Eight stalks represent growth. The Chinese word for "eight" sounds like the word "fah," which means "to thrive." Ten stalks represents perfection. Twenty-one stalks is a powerful blessing.

Alternative Stalk Meanings

According to the "Lucky Bamboo Shop" Web site, the number of stalks can have other meanings. These include: Five stalks for good health (instead of seven) Six stalks for harmony Eight, eighteen, twenty-eight or thirty-eight for prosperity.

Lucky Bamboo Towers, Trellis, Sculptures and Canes

Lucky Bamboo can be used beneficially with Feng Shui; however, they can also be used in various structures to create even more positive energy. One such structure is the Lucky Bamboo tower. According to the "Lucky Bamboo Shop," "two-tier or three-tier towers anchor Feng Shui and light up the future." Trellises made of braided bamboo "prevent bad energy flow" and are symbolic of advancement." Lucky bamboo can also be braided into pillars and sculptures, as well as double-braided and triple-braided canes, which "bring good news and development in business life."

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About the Author

Todd C. Ruzicka is a writer, musician and educator. He has an English B.A. degree and a minor in mass communications from Minnesota State University Moorhead. Ruzicka's work has been published in Dagobert's Revenge magazine, online music periodicals and various college newspapers.