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We Are Not Always Lucky With Lucky Bamboo
Every week I get at least one lucky bamboo question. Yesterday I received a call from Stephanie who was having trouble with her lucky bamboo. During our conversation I ask if she could send me some photos of her lucky bamboo. She was gracious enough to do so and below are the photos she sent.
So often I have to explain the how to correct problems with lucky bamboo with out the benefit of photos. With Stepahanie's photos I am going to walk through the procedures and reference the photos.
First Stephaine was having a common problem - Yellow stems. Lucky bamboo stems will turn yellow for a couple reasons -- too much fertilizer or too much light.
When lucky bamboo is in this advanced state of yellowing it will not come back. So it is best to cut the yellow parts off. If there is any green part to the stem then there is the possibility of starting a new plant. For example in the next two pictures, we can find a place where we can cut the lucky bamboo and start new plants.
In the photo above, we could cut the lucky bamboo about an inch from the node (see the raise brown ring to the right of her thumb that is called a node - see the red line cut it there). I am guessing that the section with this node is attached to the roots. If we leave the section with the roots in water and start misting the cut end three days after it has been cut, new growth will form. In the lucky bamboo picture below, the end attached to the roots is unhealthy so we will have to cut the plant and encourage root growth. For example, I would make a cut an inch above the first node on the green stem (this will be to the left of the index finger in the picture - see the blue line cut it there). You will need some rooting hormone (the one we carry at our nursery & garden center is called Greenlight root tone but other brand have the same product just make sure it is in powder form). After you cut the stem dip it in the rooting hormone and let it dry overnight then place it in a container with water (use distilled water or let the water sit overnight to release the chlorine). In a few weeks you will see new roots form.
In the lucky bamboo photo below, you can start a new plant in several placed. The key is finding a node and making your cut an inch above it following the procedures above. Stephanie was a little concerned with the paleness of the stem which could be caused by too much light or a little too much fertilizer. In a case like this I would put it in fresh water and move a little farther from the light source. Watch the stem if it starts to turn yellow you are losing the stem and will need to start new plants before it is too late.
In the next two lucky bamboo pictures we are concerned with the blackness of the cut end and the paleness of the stems. The black is not really a concern except that is accompanying a yellowing which indicates a problem. I would create two new plants from this one which will already have roots and another which will need to form roots. Cuts should be made an inch above the node at the bottom of the picture and will follow the same procedure as the first cut instructions above (this one will have roots already and will new to form new growth). The second cut will be made at the first node of the part that is growing form the curve piece at the top of the photo. This plant will need to form new roots and will need the rooting hormone treatment.
I hope these will clarify some of the issues with lucky bamboo. If anyone else has lucky bamboo pictures that you want discussed just go to the ask the expert page and upload your photos.