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Need Help With Lucky Bamboo

Ask The Expert: We have had 6 bamboo in a vase for about 2 years in an office. The air isnt so great, since some of our white paper signs on cabinets have gotten brown twice during that period. The bamboo have been great, but during the past month two stalks, one thick and the other a thin one, just developed yellowed and wilted leaves. Unfortunately we have not been good about changing water, but the roots seem fine, although rusty. There are small brown papules, like measles on the small one, and on one other. At the prior water line, there seems to be a brown blemish, but not soft or rotten on each of the stalks with several yellow leaves.

All the stalks appear dehydrated, with vertical palpable striations we think are due to shrinkage of the stalks. Others in other areas are smooth and plump. What is this due to, if their leaves are green and OK otherwise?

We changed the water, put the two with yellow leaves aside. Going to distilled water only.
Do you think it is a good idea to cut the stalks with yellow leaves at the bottom above the two blemish areas, assuming they are infected?
Do you have any suggestions re anti fungal ideas as a precaution?

In general, what fertilizer is best for bamboo? How often? Michelle

Flower Shop Network Plant Expert Reply:

It does appear that you plant is developing a fungus. I don’t know of a good fungicide for lucky bamboo. I would do the following thing:

1. Cut the damaged part off. To do this you will basically have a section the has no roots and a section that has no leaves. Not a problem. On the section with no leaves – you will need to make the cut well below the compromised section. On the section above the damaged area, you will need to well above it. If you click into the pictures, I have detailed what to do for each section.

2. Clean your container and marbles with hot soapy water and rinse well. Use distilled water or tap water that has set out for 24 hours in an open container to refill the container. Then place the marbles and the lucky bamboo back in the container.

3. Don’t fertilize for quite some time. When you do use a water soluble fertilizer, dilute it at 1/100th of it strength. Lucky Bamboo (Dracaena sanderiana) doesn’t require much fertilizer.

4. Since your environment is not ideal, I would get on a once a month water changing schedule. Don’t just change the water wash the container and marbles. Temperature, light and air moisture are also important. Make sure the temperature stays above 55 degrees. Keep the light bright but indirect. If the air is dry, mist the air around the plant occasionally.

I am not sure about the change in stalk texture. It could be just a simple decline in the plant or the beginning of another disease. I would do everything mentioned above and then apply a wait and see

This lucky bamboo was brought to you by the local florists in Chatanooga.

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