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Why Do I Have Cloudy Water In My Lucky Bamboo Container?

Ask the Expert: Cloudy water in bamboo

I have read a bit about the bamboo, including a question from another person, but am still in the dark.
I have had several bamboo pieces for three years now, and just recently the leaves started to turn brown and the water was smelly and cloudy.  I have cleaned the stems and roots, as well as the rocks and containers, but they still turn the same.  This has never happened before.  I feel horrible that I have to throw one out because it has grown to over 3 feet!  Please help!  Alexis


  1. Alexis,

    Don’t give up on your lucky bamboo just because the leaves turned brown. Browning is caused by too much fluoride in the water or dry air. In the winter the air becomes dry, so you need to mist your lucky bamboo occasionally. This will help with the brown leaves. As long as your stems are still firm, you should throw them away.

    The cloudy smelly water can be caused by one of two things insects or algae. With both you need to clean the container and lucky bamboo as you have done. However, if you have an algae problem you might need to change containers. Algae needs light to reproduce. Clear glass containers can create a perfect environment for algae. If this is the case, find an opaque container or move your glass container farther from the light source.

    With a cloudy water problem, multiple cleanings many be need. Good Luck and keep me posted.

  2. I had this problem as well. No matter how much I cleaned it the cloudiness would not go away. My bamboo was in a clear glass container. I moved it to a non-transparent container and it seems to have improved.

  3. Stephanie says:

    This has happened a few times with me but the bottom of the stalks tends to get Squishy it’s not brown yet but it’s a little wrinkly is is it on its way out or is there something that can be done. it’s happened many times with me and I’m trying to see if I can keep these alive I live in a basement with not a lot of light so that’s not an issue I water regularly (I keep them in a container filled with water) so that’s not an issue I’m trying to pinpoint exactly what my issue is.
    Thank you so much