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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.

Now, if you’re bamboo is going through the opposite, you can move it into a brighter area to try to solve the problem, but not into direct sun.

Can I Replant Lucky Bamboo?


The answer is yes. Normally the Dracaena sanderiana family is seen in water, but if you want it in soil you can experiment with one of your stalks. It’s honestly best to leave it alone. However, if you must, here is how you can replant it.

What Type of Container To Use For Lucky Bamboo

Make sure your container has a  2” diameter greater than your bamboo stalks. Wash out the container thoroughly before placing the bamboo in it to kill any bacteria.

Photo of Healthy lucky bamboo planted in soil.Can I use My Own Marbles? As far as beads and marbles go, you can use pretty much anything that does not dissolve to support your bamboo stalks. Just remember to wash them thoroughly.

How to replant Lucky Bamboo From Soil To Water

If you are wanting to take it from soil to water, place it in a container 2” greater than the stalks. Lucky bamboo likes to be crowded, so place them together and go with a container 2” from that size. Next place rocks or stones in the bottom, followed by the stalks and top it off with distilled water. Don’t forget to let the water sit uncovered overnight before using it with your plant.

How To Replant Lucky Bamboo from Water To Soil

Transfer the lucky bamboo from water to soil into a container with a 2” diameter or greater. Place stones in the bottom of the container for drainage. Fill the container with fast draining soil, make a whole with your finger and place the stalks in it and surround them by dirt. Keep the soil very most until the stalk can get used to being planted in soil.

Troubleshooting Lucky Bamboo Problems

Why is my lucky bamboo turning yellow, brown or is droopy?

It is a common problem with the lucky bamboo for the leaves or stalks turning yellow, brown or is slightly droopy.

Lucky Bamboo Yellowing From Bottom UpSeveral things can cause this:

  • It could have gotten too much light
  • Over fertilized
  • Fungus
  • Changing location
  • Caused by the container

Ask yourself questions like:

  • Have I fertilized lately?
  • Has it been moved it to a different location?
  • Have I been watering properly?
  • Is there a smell coming from the plant?
  • Has my lucky bamboo traveled with me recently?

Over fertilizing and too much sun can cause the plant can cause it to turn yellow.

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, just 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.

However, if you’re whole plant is yellow, it will continue to die and there is little you can do.

Notice how you are watering your bamboo. Again, maintain a constant water level and make sure your water sits out overnight before you mix it in with the plant. Too much fluoride, chlorine or salts can cause the leaves to yellow.

Lucky Bamboo With FungusIf you see insects or signs of fungus, that can be the cause of your yellowing plant. A brown, cottony substance is an indicator of spider mites or cottony scale problem. If this occurs, you will need to spray it with insecticide. However, if you notice that it’s still there after sprayed, you may need to wash the stalks and remove the infected stalks.

If you have smells coming from the water, plant or in the container, this can be the cause of a fungus or algae. Consider going with opaque containers since clear containers can cause algae with the light shining through them onto the water. Don’t forget to wash the container, rocks and stalks before putting them in as well.

Traveling can also put your lucky bamboo in shock, which can cause the yellowing of the plant, just give it a few days.

Root Problems With Lucky Bamboo

You can come in contact with several issues involving your lucky bamboo’s roots. Trimming, tangles, root rot, fungus and other issues can occur.

What do you do if your lucky bamboo’s roots have root rot? You will need to cut off the healthy tops and re-grow them. Whenever you are cutting, be sure to cut off an inch above one of the nodes, which are the raised ridges that grow around the stalk. Dip the cut ends into a rooting hormone, (which can be found at your local garden center) let dry and place them in water. Now, what if you notice that your lucky bamboo has acquired fungus on its roots? Well, you follow the same process as if your bamboo has root rot.

What if your roots are tangled? If you notice that your roots are tangled, it won’t hurt to trim them up a bit. You can also try untangling them yourself. Just run your fingers through the roots just like you would through hair to untangle it. If you want to cut them, cut as far as possible away from the stalk to ensure that it has plenty of root to sustain it. So, if you need to trim your roots for any reason, just trim from the end.

Topping Lucky Bamboo - Red Line Indicates Node - Yellow line indicates where to Make CutWhat if my lucky bamboo is too tall, how can I provide support?

The best way to provide support to your bamboo stalks is to start a new plant. These plants can be pretty flimsy, and the best way to stabilize it is to trim the top off the plant. Bamboo stalks will eventually grow to be too tall, therefore. You can trim it off and start a new plant. Just cut 1″ above the node and place it in water that has set overnight. You can use a rooting hormone found at a local garden center to encourage faster rooting.

How do I propagate my lucky bamboo?

The easiest way to do this is to cut 6” off the top of the plant, or an inch above the nod, which are the raised things that grow out of the stock to start a new one. Take the top that you cut off, dip it into rooting hormone and let it dry overnight. Then set the stalk in one or two inches of water and in a week or two you’ll have root. Continue to grow the plant the way you have been, in water or soil.

Lucky bamboo plants are great for any house. Just remember that it needs the right attention.


  1. Jamie Woods says:

    Wow! You have had some great luck with your lucky bamboo! Usually when the bamboo becomes so tall that it can no longer support itself, you should top it and begin new plants. You are correct that introducing the sticks, even natural ones, is not the best idea. This can introduce unnecessary bacteria that you do not want. Also, definitely start using distilled water. The film and crust sound like a fungus could be starting. You will have to rinse and thoroughly clean your vase with hot, soapy water, and rinse the roots of your bamboo. Do you use any type of rocks or pebbles in your vase? Feel free to send pictures to jamie.woods@flowershopnetwork.com.

  2. Thank you for your help, Jamie. I emailed you a couple of days ago with several photos, please let me know if my email didn’t go through (the images were large). I will rinse my plant’s roots and vase again today and refill with distilled water. Is there a fungicide or other product I should add to the water? I’m especially worried about some stalks that are now starting to yellow at the bottom. :-(

  3. Hi Jamie,
    Another update: as I write, I am showering my plant’s roots in the shower stall. I will send upclose photos presently. Regarding the stalks that are turning yellow, can I cut the stalk above the yellow part and expect new roots to grow? If I do, should I put anything on the new end to promote root growth? I’m also concerned about pulling out the rotting stalks, as the roots are very much intertwined. Will my healthy stalks suffer from having their roots disturbed? You will see in my photos that most of the root ball is black — should I trim ALL roots to ensure there’s no bacteria harboring in there? Sorry for so many questions, really anxious to save my plant. Thank you!

  4. Jamie Woods says:

    Hey! I sent you an email back, and hopefully, it will help! Also, you can trim the roots on your bamboo. This is not an issue. Just trim them starting at the ends, and don’t cut them all the way off.

  5. I have been inserting nursery water with my bamboo because where I live there is to much chlorine in our water and was killing it. I think I have found just the right lighting for it just babe to work on watering properly now. I have 2 in one vase and I’m trying to get this straight. They need their roots spate from each other? I have been going up and down with this thing? I got it givento me cause I was going to put a fish in wroth it but I have been struggling to keep it alive I was scared to.

  6. Jamie Woods says:

    The roots should be fine if you leave them. Distilled water is the best, but you can use tap water as long as you let it sit out in the open for 24 hours to allow the chemicals to evaporate.

  7. Shiyanna Coomer says:

    What do i do if i accidentally broke off the first knot looking thing under the leaves

  8. Jamie Woods says:

    Hi Shiyanna,
    If you have broken your bamboo, it could go into shock from the trauma. To help it heal, I would make an even cut under where the stem was broken. There isn’t really much else you can do, other than to continue taking care of it in the same way you have been. Let me know if you have any more questions!

  9. Sheena Maningas says:

    Hi! I bought some lucky bamboo and it didn’t have roots. The dealer gave us a bargain and said that it should be fine, is this true?

  10. Jamie Woods says:

    Hi Sheena,
    Lucky bamboo can be started from cuttings that do not have roots. I would trim the bottom off of the bamboo and dip it in rooting hormone. Let it dry for 24 hours, and the place your bamboo in distilled water. It should begin to grow roots in a couple of weeks.

  11. What is rooting hormone and where can I get it? How much should I cut off? Will it grow taller?

  12. Jamie Woods says:

    Rooting hormone is a powder that helps stimulate root growth in plants. It can also help the plant produce stronger roots than it would naturally. You should be able to find it at your local garden center or nursery. You will want to cut your bamboo about an inch above a node (ring around the plant). You will know the roots are forming if you see little knots forming on the cut end, but is can take several weeks for the roots to form. Your bamboo will grow taller, just the same as if you had bought one with roots. This article has some pictures that will show you where to cut your bamboo: https://www.flowershopnetwork.com/blog/we-are-not-always-lucky-with-lucky-bamboo/

  13. Hi Jamie Wood,
    I technically don’t have an issue with my lucky bamboo, I love as it is but I do have a concern. I been lucky to have the bamboo growing for about 7 years now through yellowing and now it’s very big. Should I trim it back? I like how it is but I’m not sure if I should be worry about it’s size and growth. I can sent pictures of it if you want to show. jose.navarrete90@yahoo.com

  14. Jamie Woods says:

    Hi Jose,
    You don’t have to trim your lucky bamboo, but if you feel like it’s getting too tall, you can trim it and even use those cuttings to start new bamboo plants. Check out this article for how to top and root your lucky bamboo.

  15. My lucky bamboo plant was cut from an upper stalk and is now getting tall with all it’s leaves on it, How do I trim or cut its healthy bottom leaves to make it look more like a lucky bamboo plant with a revealed bottom stalk? Or do I leave it and wait for the bottom leaves to die?

  16. I have a plant that’s about five years old now, and it seems to have suddenly growing roots from the stalks and shoots, which are at least three inches above the water, but I see roots growing as much as six inches above the water. I’ve been googling it and I’m still not sure what’s happening. They’re the same reddish color as the roots, and always on the underside. Also only on the oldest parts of the plant. Is it actually roots, or is it some weird fungus or something? I’d hate to lose my plant. I’ve been homeless, lived in shelters for a year, and moved for or five times, and this little sucker survived. I’d hate to lose it now!

  17. Jamie Woods says:

    Hi Pi,
    The new roots may be your plant’s way of telling you that it needs a trim! Since they are occurring on the oldest part of the plant, it could be a good time for you to start a new plant from the old one. You can also trim these roots off if you’d like, but if your bamboo starts yellowing, you should probably start a new plant before there’s any permanent damage caused.

  18. Jamie Woods says:

    Hi Shawna,
    You can trim the leaves back to create the look you want. Trim them at the base of the leaf, flush with the stalk. Use alcohol to sterilize the scissors or knife that you use to make sure you don’t introduce any bacteria to your lucky bamboo.

  19. Bryan S. Williams says:

    I bought my lucky bamboo at the local home depot and it was in soil and very damp soil so I am transplanting it back into another vase, my question is I bout miracle grow potting mix, will that harm my plant or do I need to go get some regular potting soil without fertilizer. I love these plants. And don’t want to kill it. Any advice would be helpful please thanks.

  20. Jamie Woods says:

    I would not use the Miracle Grow soil. Use a soil without fertilizer. Lucky Bamboo is very easy to over fertilize, and it will already be going into shock from the transplantation.

  21. Jennine Fleming says:

    I’ve changed my plants from soil to water. All are doing well except one which has developed root rot. What should I do? I really want to save it as it’s a lovely plant. Can I trim the stalks and start again and will the leaves servive? Help!!!!

  22. Jamie Woods says:

    Hey Jennine,
    Yes, you can cut the rotted roots off and start a new stalk. This article will walk you through propagating a new plant: https://www.flowershopnetwork.com/blog/we-are-not-always-lucky-with-lucky-bamboo/

  23. Hi Jamie, my bamboo plant is one (1) stalk with one (1) shoot growing out of it, but the shoot is getting pretty tall. I’ve had the plant for about 2 years. Can I cut the shoot to start a new plant even though there is only one? I don’t want to kill my stalk.

    If I can cut it, will the stalk grow new shoots even though no other ones have ever grown besides the one it has?

    Also, will the shoot I cut off grow a new stalk or will it just remain as leaves that will grow new roots?

  24. Jamie Woods says:

    When you top bamboo, you cut it at a node to start a new stalk. I wouldn’t cut the shoot to start your new plant. The stalk should grow new shoots. Misting your bamboo will help encourage growth.

  25. Secilia Peraza says:

    I originally bought my lucky bamboo plant with 6 stalks. A couple of months later I noticed two of the stalks completely rotted. I didn’t think much of it so I kept them in there. I’m not home often but I always made sure my house plants were watered. My lucky bamboo plant has grown at least two feet since I purchased it. Two years later those two rotten stalks completely broke off, making my lucky bamboo plant with four stalks. Is there any reasons behind why those two stalks would rot on their own? The rest of the plant is completely fine and healthy. Since I started reading on lucky numbers I decided to split the plant so I wouldn’t just have a lucky bamboo plant with four stalks.

  26. Jamie Woods says:

    Hey Secilia,
    There could be several reasons why those stalks ended up dying, what is surprising is that the other four were not affected. If you want to keep your plant together, you can always propagate new stalks from your remaining four, or just keep them separated. If the remaining stalks are healthy and growing, I would not worry too much on what caused the damage to the other two, but if you notice any of the others with damage, it would probably be best to remove them before they rot completely.

  27. Hey, I just brought two lucky bamboos, one looks healthy, but the other one looks sickly (it would have been the last one, and looked so lonely on the shelf) the top part is yellow, and withered towards the top. I know how to deal with the roots if I have to, but would it be a safe call to cut the top part off that’s yellow, and seal it with wax to prevent fungal growth through the top (like how some grower do)?

  28. Jamie Woods says:

    Hey Amber,
    I think that is a good idea. Even if you don’t seal it with wax, the yellow parts need to be cut off before it spreads to the rest of the plant.

  29. Hello,
    I have grown my lucky bamboo plant for 4 years in water with rocks.
    and now I’m seeing a change one stalk it is starting to wrinkle and there is maybe two roots now. There is also some brown spots here and there on the stock it self and tips of leaves are browning.
    The other stock seems to be ok for now.
    Both are green/light green.
    An the rocks be the cause?
    Do I have to use a root hormone? Or can it grow on it’s own?
    Should I remove all rocks to see if they will grow new roots?
    Should I plant in soil as is? Or wait till more roots come out before planting in soil?

  30. Hello, I need some help with a little lucky bamboo plant i got from a craft fair a few months ago. I had no idea how to care for one of these so for a while it was left without water or with too much water. I recently put it in a new container with some decrative rocks, and started using distilled water for it and the right amount. Sadly the plant seems to be in bad shape. The color is very pale in some places, the stalks look wrinkly, theres a cut on one if the stalks that looks like it has a soft white “scab” on it, and at the tops of the stalks, they are turning a very dry and brown color. New leaves are growing though, and the roots are spreading fast. Any help is appreciated.

  31. Kevin Woods says:

    We have a very tall Lucky Bamboo plant in a tall maybe 2-3 inch square heavy glass vase. It is planted in water only and the roots are very dense, It is STUCK in the vase!
    Want to move it to a bigger vase. Been pulling on it, tried sliding a clean knife down along the sides. No luck. Would prefer to not break vase. Any suggestions anyone? Thanks.

  32. Jamie Woods says:

    This is a tricky one! I think your best chance will be to continue to try to loosen the bamboo from the vase. It sounds like your bamboo is pretty fond of its home, so you may have to leave it in that vase. You can always trim the tops of the bamboo and propagate new stalks as well.

  33. Jamie Woods says:

    You can try removing the rocks and cleaning them. If your bamboo has been happy for 4 years, it most likely is not the rocks that are the problem. You do not have to use a rooting hormone, but it helps. I would not transfer it to soil.

  34. Jamie Woods says:

    Your plant may not be getting enough light. You want to make sure it is in bright, indirect light.

  35. Archana says:

    I ordered 38 stalks lucky bamboo,but got 37 stalks.Is it ok to keep 37 stalk at home?

  36. Jamie Woods says:

    That should be fine.

  37. William Thomson says:

    Hey, I was wondering how the lucky bamboo spreads, because I know it is not part of the bamboo family. Since this is the case, do the roots spread with shoots, or does it flower seeds after a while.

  38. Jamie Woods says:

    You can propogate new shoots with cuttings.

  39. Sushma Venigalla says:

    Hi! I cut the stalk and washed both the pieces. Put the unrooted stalk in fresh water container. Rooted part tip I waxed but the tip was wet. Will it survive?

  40. I have a 10 year old bamboo plant that has outgrown the glass vase it’s in. The roots have basically filled the entire base of the vase. Seems like the only way to move the bamboo is to break the vase. Any alternate options? Thanks, Jon.

  41. Jamie Woods says:

    It can take some time for roots to appear, but it should be fine.

  42. Jamie Woods says:

    If you are able, slide a knife down the sides of the vase and attempt to loosen the roots. It is also safe to cut the roots without damaging the bamboo. If you can get the bamboo out of the current container, I would definitely consider trimming the roots prior to repotting.

  43. good in details of this problem happen ….good to prevent then cure.

  44. I have a lucky bamboo shoot and it has 1 really long shoot. It’s about 2 1/2 foot long. Can I propagate this shoot several times? Or do I have to cut it as I’ve seen on the videos ONLY? I don’t want to kill this beautiful shoot, can you advise?

  45. Miroslava Casiano says:

    We would recommend that you do as you’ve seen on videos of people following the process. This would definitely be your best bet!

  46. Hiya, I’m really glad I’ve found this info. Today bloggers publish just about gossips and internet and this is actually irritating. A good blog with interesting content, this is what I need. Thank you for keeping this web-site, I will be visiting it. Do you do newsletters? Can not find it.

  47. Miroslava Casiano says:

    Thank you so much, Catherine! Here’s the link to our newsletter —> https://www.flowershopnetwork.com/blog/newsletters-signup/

  48. I found it SUPER EASY to grow and care for bamboo!

    I basically have taken small plants (from any store) and thrown them in a vase of water. Both clear glass and opaque have worked equally well. I prefer clear containers because you can easily keep an eye on the water level.

    I rarely clean the container, unless the leaves start to turn yellow or the water looks gross.

    If any leaf or stock looks yellow/brown, like it will never grow a green thing again, I just snip it (like most any other plant with dead leaves).

    I’ve had success with low level filtered sunlight, and a bright (but still filtered) sunlit room (like wicked bright. Two walls of windows bright. Man I miss that place…).

    Occasionally I will change the water and the vase (every few months). I typically wait as long as I can between water changes/vase cleaning. Why do anything to a plant that looks healthy?! I am, however, very prompt at and dressing yellow leaves or stocks. I imagine if I let it sit then it may kill the bamboo faster since my water is older, but that is speculation.

    If I am doing a water change or vase cleaning I quickly spray the leaves because I am near the sink and it’s convenient. This is for aesthetic’s. You don’t have to mist the leaves.

    I am very picky about any plants buy, unless it’s a $.50 half dead creature that I want to take on as a personal challenge. Hey, why not give myself the best odds?!

    Good luck!! (Ba-dum-bum-CHING!)

  49. greath content!

  50. I just got some single stalks of lucky bamboo a few weeks ago and I’ve been growing them by the back door with the blinds drawn for diffused lighting. I looked a little closer today to water and I noticed that there are some tiny seedlings growing right next to one stalk and then towards the edge of the pot at some other spots. I have 4 stalks in one good sized pot, but I’m not sure if I need to remove these new small growths or if I should try to move them to their own pot so they can grow?

    There aren’t any other plants in the place besides these as I got them when I moved in.

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