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Lucky Bamboo Dying

Ask The Expert

I have a bit of an emergency. I don’t have a green thumb. My wife is out of the country for a month and she has several lucky bamboo plants in vases. There’s one in particular (the twisted set) that needs intensive care due to leaf discolorations and the plants itself doesn’t look healthy. I change water everyday because it smells (stinks) and the roots easily come off when I put the plant under the taps. The water don’t get changed much and is probably the reason why. I want to know if I can bring this to a florist who can help (some kind of plant hospital would be swell). Or I can treat it at home. I’m in Central LA. Any help is appreciated. Thanks in advance.


  1. Horace,

    I am going to suggest something drastic; cut the lucky bamboo bottom off and start new plants from the tops. Some how you have developed root rot and the roots will continue to deteriorate and die. The tops can be rooted to form new plants. First you new to purchase distilled water, some times tap what contains chlorine and fluoride which are harmful to lucky bamboo. If you must use tap water put it in an open container for 24 hrs. The chlorine will evaporate and can then be used in the lucky bamboo container. Clean the lucky bamboo container before you replace the water and lucky bamboo. Use can use a little beach to clean the container. Triple rinse it before you place the distilled water and lucky bamboo in the container. In a few weeks your lucky bamboo will have new roots.

    Typically you change lucky bamboo water about every two weeks and fertilize it only every couple of months. You can add water to the container every couple of days without changing it completely.

  2. Horace Friend says:

    Hi Jamie,

    Thank you very much for the reply. I will do as you have suggested although I will have to ask someone to do the cutting for me. I do have a follow-up question in connection with the water. I have a water ionizer (w/ a 2-filter system) for personal consumption and therefore I have source for alkaline water (from 7.5 to 10) and acidic water (up to 5.5). Can I use alkaline water on the lucky bamboo? Is it safe to use? The reason for my query is that I’ve seen my wife occasionally use alkaline water on the plants. Again, thanks.


  3. Horace,

    You should be able to use the ionized water. Lucky bamboo likes a ph of 6.1 to 6.5

  4. Donna Meddock says:

    I have had so many bamboo plants and they always die. I love them so much people keep buying them for me. I would love to be able to keep them alive. I have a green thumb for most anything else. It came straight from the store. And it’s already turning yellow. It’s in a container you can’t see thru. Lots of rocks. It’s all twisted together and I am afraid to take it apart. I’ve learned not to much light and not to use tap water. But I used tap water to begin with. Now parts are yellow. I would love to have a healthy bamboo plant. Please help me. Or am I destined to be bamboo poor?

  5. Aynsley Broom says:

    Hi Donna,
    We have some great tips throughout our site on how to care for Lucky Bamboo! I don’t think you’re destined to be bamboo poor. With yellow parts, you might be able to save it. Here are a few links with tips on Lucky Bamboo Care:

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