Bamboo is a symbol of strength, fortitude and rapid growth in Chinese culture. Lucky Bamboo, as it turns out, isn't bamboo at all. The Lucky Bamboo plant is actually the Dracaena Saderiana, a member of the Lily family, and grows in shaded areas of the tropical rain forests of Southeast Asia and Africa.
The basic principle of Feng Shui is to bring the natural elements of earth, water, air, fire and metal in balance with the environment. Lucky Bamboo is said to be a thriving example of the elements of wood and water and when tied with a red ribbon or string, the element of fire is drawn in. Fire is believed to increase the positive flow of energy or chi into a room.
When give as a gifit. Lucky Bamboo is said to be at its luckiest. It is specially popular as housewarming gifts and for the opening of a new business. If you pruchase Lucky Bamboo for yourself, think of it as a gift to the home.
Chinese tradition imparts meaning to the number of bamboo stalks given as a gift. For instance, two stalks represent love, three or six stalks represent happiness, and a gift of five or seven stalks imparts health. The more stalks, the more generous the blessing of luck. For example, eight stalks conveys the luck of wealth, nine stalks - the luck of good fortune and twenty-one stalks is considered to be the luckiest of all blessings. The Chinese never give four stalks of Lucky Bamboo, because the word for "death" in Chinese sounds very much like the number four and is considered unlucky.
Lucky Bamboo is extremely hardy and grows well in water alone or in potting soil. Because of the hardiness, its beauty and the Feng Shui blessing it bestows, it is a popular gift for all occaisions.