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Fighting To Save Lucky Bamboo

Ask the Expert: Ongoing Fight to Save Lucky Bamboo Stalk

“When I was jogging about 4 years ago, I found this Lucky Bamboo stalk on the top of someone’s trash and took him home. He’s always been in a glass vase with water and sat outside in the enclosed patio in south Florida. I’ve never had a problem until a week ago when the top of the stalk became yellow.

I removed him from the water, trimmed back all of the roots, and cut the stalk about a half-inch below where the yellow stopped. I had to repeat the process a week later and then again, today, but this time, I cut it significantly beneath the yellow and quickly applied cinnamon onto the cut. I also submerged the roots in clean water with some hydrogen peroxide. The thing is that there is a smell about him, but It seems to be coming from the middle of the stalk. It he doomed? Will the yellow continue to grow from the top, seemingly out of nowhere? He did grow brand spanking new, white roots in the last few days so that seems healthy.

Here are some photos: The yellow top I cut off today, the new roots, the freshly cut stalk. (Any brown powder is the cinnamon) Thank you SO MUCH for any advice. I really want to save this guy!” Erika


Plant Expert Reply:

Stalk looks fairly healthy. A couple of questions: Is the brown towards the bottom of the stalk cinnamon? Why did you place cinnamon on the cut and do you always cut straight across?

When cutting lucky bamboo or any other plant, you should make the cut at a 45 degree angle. This allows for the plant to heal properly without creating a dieback situation. The straight cut could be part of your problem.

Are you seeing any lesions on the stalk — see the image in this post Lucky Bamboo With Fungus .

I am also concerned about submerging the roots in hydrogen peroxide. How strong was the solution? Lucky bamboo is [Read more…]

Help! I Think I Over-fertilized My Lucky Bamboo

Ask The Plant Expert:

 I over-fertilized my lucky bamboo killing the roots and turning most of the stem yellow, I put it in fresh water, is there anything else I can do? After I put it in fresh water, I looked a couple days later and the water was blue again, I must have really overfertilized it a lot. – Marina

Flower Shop Network Plant Expert Reply:

Lucky Bamboo CareBecause they do not require much fertilizer, over-fertilizing is easy to do with lucky bamboo. Unfortunately once the stem has turned yellow, especially from the roots, that part cannot be recovered. However, you might still be able to save your lucky bamboo plant!

If caught early and you notice just a small amount of yellow, change the water (distilled water) and move to a place with a little less light.

If it is worse than that, but there is still green up top, cut off the bottom and place it in a new container with fresh water. Also, stay away from fertilizing it for a while as well.

Hope this helps!

Help! Will My Yellowing Lucky Bamboo Get Better?

Ask The Plant Expert:

Will my lucky bamboo yellowing get better or do i need to cut it as not to kill the entire plant? – Mo

Yellowing Lucky Bamboo

Flower Shop Network Plant Expert Reply:

Mo, yellowing in lucky bamboo happens when stem cells to burst, causing irreparable damage. This can be caused by: over fertilization or chlorine and other chemicals in the water or too much light.

Because your bamboo shoot is still slightly green for now, try changing the water to distilled and making sure it is getting proper lighting. If the plant’s health does not improve in about a week, you will need to remove the shoot. (If it gets worse, go ahead and cut it.)

Removing the shoot: When you cut your bamboo (if necessary) you will cut the lucky bamboo about an inch from the next healthy node. (A node is the brown ring around the stalk) In this case, it would be the node close to the bottom. Your plant may be a little short, but it will make it! Refer to Not Always Lucky With Lucky Bamboo for better examples of cutting off yellow stalks.

Your Top Questions About Lucky Bamboo Care Answered

Lucky Bamboo’s popularity has significantly grown over the past few years. It is being used as great gift items and part of Feng Shui. However, some don’t know where to begin when taking care of this plant, or what to do if they notice a change. So, we’ve compiled all of your most asked questions and listed them here as a how-to guide on lucky bamboo.

How do I take care of lucky bamboo?

Caring for your lucky bamboo (Dracaena sanderiana) can be an easy. You just need to find the right lighting, figure out a watering schedule, and your plant can pretty much take care of itself.

First off, what did your lucky bamboo come to you in, soil or water? It can grow in either. However, it doesn’t like to be switched around. For example, if you received it in water, leave it in water and add some rocks or pebbles if you like, but not necessary.

How To Water Lucky Bamboo

Multiple Stems of Lucky BambooIf your lucky bamboo is in only water, it should be kept clean and fresh. Keep your water level consistent; it’s a good idea to make a mark on where you like the water to be, which can be different for everyone. Once you have your water level, make sure you keep an eye on it. Whenever it reaches the halfway mark below your level, fill it back up. Every two weeks change the water with fresh, either distilled or tap water, whatever your plant is used to. Let your water sit out overnight in an open container before mixing it to your current water.

However, if your plant is in soil, the soil should always feel slightly damp. Test it with your finger; if it’s not damp, add a little bit more water.

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Best Lighting For Lucky Bamboo

Your lucky bamboo should be placed in an indoor location with bright, indirect light. They also do well under artificial lighting since too much sun can cause burning.

Remember that there are such things as too much and too little sunlight.

  • If there is too much sun, it can cause your leaves to burn.
  • If it gets too little sun, you will receive weak growth, stretching and poor coloring.

The solution for too much sun is changing out the water and not fertilizing for a couple of months. Move the plant into a bright area without direct sunlight. Too much sun can cause yellowish leaves and splitting, which can be fixed with trimming them off at an angle. [Read more…]

What Is The Proper Care For Small, Twisted Bamboo?

Ask The Expert: What is the proper care for a small bamboo twisted? It is planted in gravel ( or small stones) if I water it the leaves and stems turn yellow.  If I don’t it, starts looking leathery.  I have taken out of the little pot and dried the roots and gravel. Help!! -Mary

Flower Shop Network Plant Expert Reply: Mary, does the container that the lucky bamboo is planted in have a water reservoir? Lucky bamboo that is planted in water should be kept at a constant water level. The leaves don’t need to be watered, although you could mist them. Instead the water reservoir should be kept filled with distilled water.

Response: No it does not have a water reservoir.  Just pebbles in a small container approx 2″ X 3″.  Thanks for answering, Mary.

Why Is My Lucky Bamboo Turning Yellow? How Can I Save My Other Plants?

Ask The Expert: I am at a loss.  I’ve done a lot of research and I can’t figure out why the leaves on my plant are turning yellow.  She’s a lucky bamboo. I have 10 plants – all except this one are doing very well.  I only give them distilled water and change their water every 10 days.  They get a good amount of light, but never direct sunlight.  Can you help?? There are three stalks, the main stalk still looks good, hasn’t turned yellow.  There are a few brown spots on the one stalk where the leaves are turning yellow. Is there anything I can do to prevent my other seven plants from getting fungus?

Flower Shop Network Plant Expert Reply: Watch the area for the next couple of days and see if they spread. It looks like it may be the start of a fungus. The only way to get rid of it is to remove the diseased stalk. If the top looks good you can propagate a new stalk. Fungus is usually air borne. Keep the water clean and the plant out of stress and the fungus should be a problem. Also remove all plants with fungus away from healthy plants.

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Need Help With Lucky Bamboo

Ask The Expert: We have had 6 bamboo in a vase for about 2 years in an office. The air isnt so great, since some of our white paper signs on cabinets have gotten brown twice during that period. The bamboo have been great, but during the past month two stalks, one thick and the other a thin one, just developed yellowed and wilted leaves. Unfortunately we have not been good about changing water, but the roots seem fine, although rusty. There are small brown papules, like measles on the small one, and on one other. At the prior water line, there seems to be a brown blemish, but not soft or rotten on each of the stalks with several yellow leaves.

All the stalks appear dehydrated, with vertical palpable striations we think are due to shrinkage of the stalks. Others in other areas are smooth and plump. What is this due to, if their leaves are green and OK otherwise?

We changed the water, put the two with yellow leaves aside. Going to distilled water only.
Do you think it is a good idea to cut the stalks with yellow leaves at the bottom above the two blemish areas, assuming they are infected?
Do you have any suggestions re anti fungal ideas as a precaution?

In general, what fertilizer is best for bamboo? How often? Michelle

Flower Shop Network Plant Expert Reply:

It does appear that you plant is developing a fungus. I don’t know of a good fungicide for lucky bamboo. I would do the following thing:

1. Cut the damaged part off. To do this you will basically have a section the has no roots and a section that has no leaves. Not a problem. On the section with no leaves – you will need to make the cut well below the compromised section. On the section above the [Read more…]

What To Do With Heart-Shaped Bamboo

Ask The Expert: What do i do with a heart shaped bamboo that has no roots?  Do i just put it in water?  Do i need to cut it first? One stalk is turning yellow … Why?

Flower Shop Network Plant Expert Reply:

The stalk is turning yellow because it is stressed. When you cut lucky bamboo from it roots you need to dip it in rooting hormone, let the hormone dry and then place in water. This will help the stalk produce roots. You need to re-cut the stalk and dip in rooting hormone which you can get at your local nursery garden center. Then place back in water. In a few weeks it should have formed new roots.

Watch the stalk if it becomes yellow and mushy, you have lost that particular part of the plant and it will need to be removed and discarded.

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Is It Possible to Rejuvenate Lucky Bamboo?

Ask the Expert: Lucky Bamboo – Stalk turning yellow
My daughter’s “lucky bamboo” plant (about 2-3 years old) has started yellowing from the base upward. Leaves and upper stalk are stilll firm and green, but lower stalk is yellow and beginning to give under gentle pressure. Is there any way to save the plant? Can the top (apparently healthy) portion be removed and re-rooted; or can the lower portion be rejuvenated in some manner? I’m assuming the problem is our water source (water quality fluctuates and contains both salts and chlorine to varying degrees)–so will be changing the water supply and also increasing the plant’s light source. Joy

Flower Shop Network Plant Expert Reply:Yes and No. You will only be able to save the healthy green top – the bottom will need to be discarded.

Please read the article written about how to propagate lucky bamboo. In the article Jamie discusses where to cut your lucky bamboo and how to get it to produce roots thus giving you a new healthy lucky bamboo stalk.

However, don’t put it in too much light. Lucky bamboo prefers a indirect bright light. Too much direct light can also cause the lucky bamboo to yellow. As for water try using distilled water or bottled water. If you must use tap water, place the water in an open container for 24hours before you use it in the lucky bamboo container.

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Lucky Bamboo Yellowing From Bottom Up

Ask the Expert: Lucky Bamboo

Lucky Bamboo Yellowing From Bottom Up

Lucky Bamboo Yellowing From Bottom Up

I’ve only had my Lucky Bamboo for 2 weeks, and they already seem to be taking a bad turn on me. A pet knocked it over, spilling the original water, and I mistakenly used tap water to refill it. I’m assuming that’s what’s causing the yellowing, so I’m going to try refilling it with distilled water.

My question is, how would you suggest I handle each of the stalks? I’ve attached a photo here. The curled stalk seems to be the healthiest with green ends, so I wasn’t sure if I should wait and see if it survives. The tall stalk seems to be mostly yellow with almost no green on either end, besides the bigger leaves at the top. The short stalk still has some green at the top, but is mostly yellow and wrinkly throughout the middle, and the leaves look a bit faded.

Thanks for your help! Pat

Flower Shop Network Plant Expert Reply: Unfortunately when stalks turn yellow from the bottom up there is little you can do. You did the right thing by changing the water and there is a slim chance that the stalks will be ok. I suspect that since you have only had the stalks for 2 weeks, the damage was done before you got them. They were probably over fertilized.

I recommend starting new stalks from the green healthy parts of the lucky bamboo.

To propagate your lucky bamboo cut the stalk off about an inch above one of the nodes. The nodes are the raised rings that grow on the stalk. Let the cut part of the stalk (on the stalk with the roots) dry for a couple of days; then mist the top to encourage new growth. Take the top of the stalk (the part you cut-off) and dip it in rooting hormone (garden centers carry this product) and let it dry over night. Then set the stalk in one or two inches of water and in a week or two you will have roots.

The blog has several posts that explain in further detail how to do this:
Turn Your Lucky Bamboo Top Into New Plant
We Are not always Lucky With Lucky Bamboo