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Lucky Bamboo: Fungus & Mushy Stalks

Ask The Expert: I have been reading about the bamboo plants, I had a coworker tell me to wash mine and rinse out the rocks, so I did. But after reading your info.. I am afraid mine is fungus!! That can’t be good to breathe in!! Most of the stalks around the outside are black and mushy.. the coworker thought if I cleaned them they would be OK.. now I am afraid I set mold up into the air!!! Deana

Flower Shop Network Plant Expert: I wouldn’t worry too much about the fungus going into the air. However, any lucky bamboo stalk that is mushy has a problem. I recommend topping the lucky bamboo and starting new plants. Then discard the black mushy part of the stalk. Wash the rock and container with hot soapy water and rinse thoroughly. Then fill the container with distilled water and place the tops in the water. They should start to form new roots in a couple of weeks.

To learn how to root new lucky bamboo stalks read the following:
Turn Your Lucky Bamboo Top Into A New Plant
Topping Lucky Bamboo
What Is A Lucky Bamboo Node

Yellow Lucky Bamboo Leaves Are A Sign Of Too Much Cold & Light

Lucky Bamboo With Yellow LeavesAsk the Expert: I have some problem with my lucky bamboo.

Dear expert, I have some problem with my lucky bamboo. Leaves turn yellow. they are perfect three days ago. I have put them under the sun for 2-3 hours everyday for two days since this winter in Sydney is cold. It turns out like this. What can I do about it? is the problem assiciated with sun shine? please help me~ Ann

Flower Shop Network Plant Expert:

Winter sun can be very strong despite the cold. The combination of too much light and cold temperatures are causing the problem. The rapid changes in temperature can also be a problem for lucky bamboo. Instead of moving the plant in and out of the cold, find a place inside with a sufficient light source.  Choose a room with some natural light. For a long time, I kept my lucky bamboo in a small bathroom with a little window.  It received filtered light for about 4 hours a day and did very well.

The yellow leaves probably will stay yellow and may even fall off. Once your lucky bamboo has stabilized, it will produce new leaves. These leaves should be healthy and green.

Can You Make A Lucky Bamboo Stalk Branch?

Ask The Expert: I have several tall Lucky Bamboo plants. Most only have 1 limb sprouted. How can I get more branches from these plants. Thank You, Chef Harry Grow

Flower Shop Network Plant Expert: The nature of lucky bamboo is to grow a single stalk. However, you can make al lucky bamboo stalk branch by cutting the top off. If you top the lucky bamboo stalk, two new branches will appear on the side of the stalk just below the cut. You can then root the top to start a new stalk. Read Turn Your Lucky Bamboo Top Into A New Plant post to learn how to root the top.

Can Lucky Bamboo Go From Yellow To Green?

Ask the Expert: About my lucky bamboo
If the thick stem of my lucky bamboo has turned yellow is there any way to get it green again?  The plant is about 2 1/2 feet in height.  Thanks you. Patsy

Plant Expert Reply:

Once a lucky bamboo stalk turns yellow it will not turn back to green. If the stalk is staying firm, you can leave it be.  However, I usually remove the yellowing stalks from a container holding healthy green stalks.  You can propagate new stalks from the yellow one if it still has green parts.  Our blog post We are not always lucky with lucky bamboo details the process of propagating lucky bamboo.

When Should Lucky Bamboo Be Transplanted Into A Larger Vase

Ask the Expert: When to transplant
I have a Lucky Bamboo plant that is getting really big.  It is in a small vase.  How do I know when I should transplant to a larger vase? Kathryn

Plant Expert Reply:

A good rule of thumb  is to transplant lucky bamboo when it becomes top heavy or is 1 1/2 times taller than the container it is in.

What To Do With New Shoot From Lucky Bamboo

Ask the Expert: Lucky Bamboo Plant
I have a new shoot coming out at the root base of one of my Lucky Bamboo plants, how do I take it off and start a new plant.

At the same time, do I trim any of the roots from the three Lucky Bamboo plants that I have in my container?

Wanda Graham

Plant Expert Reply:

If the shoot has it’s own set of roots, you can gently detach it from the main stalk. You now had a new lucky bamboo stalk that can reside in the container with your original stalks or you can place it in its own container.  If it doesn’t have it’s own roots you would treat it the same way as propagating lucky bamboo.

As for the roots, you can trim them. I only trim mine if they are excessive and growing out of the container. Don’t cut to much of the roots off.

Lucky Bamboo With Rotting Roots

Ask the Expert: Yellowing Stem- Plant

I got a lucky bamboo three months ago, and about a week ago the stem started yellowing. As you can see from the picture, the roots kind of turned brown/black-ish. The leaves are still very green, and the stem is yellowing but still strong. In picture 1 you can see its about half green/half yellow. I had a few questions, though. 1. I saw that you usually recommend to cut off the yellow parts and start with green, but is that ALWAYS the case? Is it possible for the bamboo stem to recover and turn green again, or is it “once yellow, always yellow?” 2. Although the bottom of the rooms look black/brown, I see some new white (healthy?) roots budding from it. What does this mean? Could I just cut off the brown part entirely, and have new roots grow from the yellow stem? Is there any disadvantage to a wait and see approach?

Thank You,

Plant Expert Reply:
The wait and see approach can work for yellowing stems, but only if the roots are still healthy. The yellow stalks usually don’t turn back to green but can survive if the stalk doesn’t become soft and mushy. However, your roots do not look healthy. This is what I recommend: Cut the healthy top off the lucky bamboo stalk and start a new plant in a new container. Then cut the black roots off and see if the stalk will produce new roots and come out of the yellowing. The disadvantage to the wait and see approach is:
1) If multiple stalks in one container the issue can spread.
2) If you wait to long, you might not have a healthy piece to start a new one.

If you try my recommendation, you can essentially have your cake and eat it too. Good luck and keep me posted.

Could Lucky Bamboo Yellowing Be Caused By Spider Mites Or A Fungus.

Ask the Expert: Lucky bamboo leaves turning yellow

lucky-bamboo-yellow-tipyellowing-lucky-bambooI’ve had my bamboo for four years and it was doing great. I suddenly noticed a lot of yellowing on the leaves on one of them. The 2nd stalk has some yellow dots on the leaves. The 3rd one is doing fine. It is starting to spread rapidly. I have 3 stalks. The roots of all 3 are entangled. I have always had them in a glass container with water. I have never used a fertilizer and they were fine without it and were extremely healthy. I always use purified drinking water. I change the water every two weeks, clean the stalk and roots by just running water on them. Please help..I need to save them.  Aparna

Plant Expert Reply:

Since you haven’t fertilized the plant or I assume changed the location of the lucky bamboo, the top two reasons for yellowing have been eliminated — too much fertilize and too much light.

Now we have to check for attackers. The pale yellowing could be a sign of a spider mite infestation. Spider mites are very small insects that will attack the lucky bamboo. You will need a magnifying glass to see them. If your plant has spider mites, you will need to spray it with an insecticide. You local garden center nursery will be able to tell you which insecticide to use.

The spot on the leaf could be a fungus or a bacterial problem. You will first need to determine which it is. If you send me an up close picture of the spot I should be able to determine what it is and then your local garden center will be able to determine which fungicide you need.

Brownish Circular Spots On Lucky Bamboo – What Gives?

Ask The Expert: Hello I have a quick lucky bamboo question for you if you have a second. I’ve had my lucky bamboo (two stalks) for about 4 years now and its grown very well up until this point (its currently about 4.5 feet tall). Last week I noticed that one lower leaf on each of the stalks was turning yellow. I ran it under some tap water for a bit and then hoped it would get better but those leave just became more yellow. Today i noticed that the more yellow of the two appeared to have some type of infection. there were brownish circular mold spots inside the leaf so to try and prevent it from spreading, I took an blade and carefully cut just those leaves from the stem. Unfotunitly, it looks as though I might have acted too late and now the other leaves are starting to get a little yellow as well. Any thoughts on how I might save it?

Thank you,

Plant Expert Reply:

Your lucky bamboo seems to have some type of  leaf spot.  It could be Phyllosticta maculicola which is characterized by irregular small browish spot with yellish margins. It is spread by water. So, wetting the leaves will cause the damage to spread. Normally prevention is the best course of action. Remove infected leaves and don’t wet the foliage.  As long as the stem stay healthy you should be ok.

If the damaged areas are circular raised and reddish brown lesions with yellow halos, the lucky bamboo (Dracaena sanderiana) has been infected with Fusarium Leaf Spot (Fusarium moniliforme).  This is a fungus that may need to be treated with Daconil (a fungicide that you can get at your local garden center).  I still recommend removing the damaged leaves.

If you use scissors or a knife to remove the damaged leaves dip them in a solution of bleach and water between cuts.  Mix the solution at a 3 to 1 ratio — 3 parts water to 1 part bleach. This will keep the fungus from spreading as you remove the damaged leaves.

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Cool Temps Can Cause Yellow Leaves On Lucky Bamboo

Ask the Expert: Lucky Bamboo leaves turning yellow

Greenings !!!

I was gifted [Housewarming] a Lucky Bamboo Plant about 3 weeks ago [December 22, 2009]. The arrangement of the stalks, are four concentric graduated circles “Crown/Mountain Like” in appearance.

It was sitting in my driveway when I got to my “New” house [West Oakland CA]. It had been “outside for about 3 days [slight amount of rain]. The Lucky Bamboo plant is growing in water [with those type of iridescent glass “Heart shaped” stones surrounding the plant].

It did not come with a “Plant Care Card”, So I looked up on the internet to see what I should do. Following the directions I found on several sites. I put it on a table with a slight amount of  “Early Morning Sunlight” mostly “Indirect Bright Light”

When I noticed a few days ago that it leaves were turning yellow.  So I “Moved It”. To a place with “No Early Morning Sunlight” [Indirect Bright Light Only]. But the leaves are “Yellowing” at a faster rate and the tips are drying out !!!

It still has plenty of water covering the roots [so far it has not needed any watering] . My house is not heated so it is cold at night [ as low as 35-40 degrees lately ] Could Cold Temperature be the cause of it’s problems?

I am usually pretty good with plants [at least 5 green thumbs] and being that it is a gift from my family  > I do so much want my so far :Unlucky Bamboo” to recover. Your advice will be much appreciated

Thank You Lichen I

Plant Expert Reply:

I would say the root of your problem is temperature related.  Dracaena as a whole prefer temperatures above 40 degrees.  The exposure to the cool temperature during a period of transplant shock could cause the leaves to turn yellow.

Place the lucky bamboo in the warmest room of your house.  Add water (distilled if possible) to the container as needed to keep level constant.  Do not fertilize.  As long as the leaves are yellow and the stalks are healthy and green, the lucky bamboo should recover. In a week or two, you should start to see new growth.  However if the stalks start to turn yellow or become mushy, you will need to act quickly.  You might need to remove the unhealthy part of the lucky bamboo or start new ones.  Keep me posted and I will try to help you maintain a healthy plant.