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Why Does My Lucky Bamboo Have Brown, Wrinkly Patches?

Ask the Expert: Bamboo rotting?

Hi! So I have been keeping my bamboo on a high shelf in good but indirect light, and feeding it bottled water/water left out for 24hrs. Today I took it down to move it and discovered two brown, wrinkly patches at the top where it curves. I couldn’t see them before, since that part was facing the wall.

My guess is that these patches died and started rotting at some point while on the shelf, but I’m surprised because in my experience when a part of a bamboo stalk starts to die, the whole thing has died within days. It’s also usually a bright yellow, not brown.

Do you have any idea what could have caused this? Is it going to keep spreading? I\’ve successfully removed the shoot from a dying bamboo plant in the past, but is it possible to remove the dead section of the stalk and have the rest of the stalk keep living?

Thanks! Renee

(P.S. Sorry for the bad photo quality. I haven’t got access to a real camera at the moment.)

Lucky Bamboo - Rooting issues & brown wrinkles Lucky Bamboo Infected with Colletotrichum dracaenophilum

Plant Expert Reply:

Your plant has been infected with a pathogen called Colletotrichum dracaenophilum which causes a stem rot issue. This pathogen was introduce to the United States a few years ago from the over-production of Dracaena sanderiana in Asia. Lucky Bamboo that is sold in grocery stores have a tendency to carry this pathogen.

Colletotrichum dracaenophilum (a fungus) usually infects the plant during the propagation state, but it can happen at anytime. The pathogen is spread through the watering process (water touching the leaves and stems). Infected plants will have a pale green stem and yellow lesions at first and may stay in this state for sometime before displaying more prominent symptoms. As the infection progresses plants will develop a mild case of slightly raised brown patches on the stem of the plant. These patches will be surrounded with a maroon-colored border. These fungus will often kill the plant.

The only treatment I know is to remove the infected stalk and dispose of it.

If anyone has a treatment advice for this issue please add it to the comment section.


  1. Stetson Harris says:

    I am also having bamboo issues. One of the 3 stalks has developed yellow leaves and the stalk is also turning yellow and is becoming wrinkled. I have no idea what to do with it.

  2. Jeffrey Balch says:

    If your stalk is wrinkling, it sounds to me like your lucky bamboo isn’t getting enough water.