Top 10 FAQ for Lucky Bamboo

Table of Contents

1. Soil vs. Water

Lucky Bamboo grows in soil or in water alone. If grown in soil, keep the soil slightly moist and water when the top 1 inch of soil is dry to the touch. If grown in water, keep the roots covered with water at all times.

2. Fertilize

Dilute an all-purpose houseplant food to 1/10 the strength directed on the label. Apply every three months for Lucky Bamboo grown in water or every month for Lucky Bamboo grown in soil.

3. Yellowing Leaves/ Yellowing Stem

If the stem turns yellow from the base of the stalk up, then plant may have been over-fertilized. Change the water immediately and do not fertilize the plant for a couple months.

If the entire stem and leaves suddenly turned yellow, then your plant may have been sunburned. Make sure it’s not located in direct sunlight.

Minerals and fluoride in tap water can cause yellowing of the leaves. To avoid leaf yellowing, use distilled water or rainwater.

4. Repotting

Multiple stalks can be split into more than one container, if desired. When bamboo shoots are restricted by the current container or if the roots are restricted inside the pot, then you should transfer your plant to a larger pot.

5. Trimming/Pruning

Lucky Bamboo plants require minimal maintenance. Simply remove dead or yellowed leaves, as needed.

If the plant becomes top heavy with too many leaves over time, use sterile scissors to trim off side shoots one inch above the base. Cut the offshoots only, not the main stalk.

6. Light Requirement

Set Lucky Bamboo plants in a bright location, but not directly in sunlight. Too much direct light will burn the leaves. If the leaves turn yellow overnight, move the plant further from its light source.

7. Water Change

When the plant is grown in water alone, dump the water and refill with fresh water every two weeks. Use distilled water or rainwater, to prevent the fluoride in tap water from turning the leaf tips brown.

8. Start a New Lucky Bamboo

If the plant is getting too tall, cut an offshoot from the main stem one inch above the node. Set the newly cut stalk in two inches of water and wait for roots to grow. In a few weeks, the new plant is ready to continue growing in water alone or potted in soil.

9. Green Water

Sunlight eventually causes algae to grow in water. It’s a natural occurrence and a sign the water is due to be changed. Replace the water, plus scrub and rinse any rocks submerged in the water. To limit the water from turning green, move the plant to a less sunny spot.

10. Brown Stem

This is a sign of the roots rotting from over-fertilization or over-watering in plants potted in soil. It’s a drastic situation and the plant may not be savable, but it doesn’t hurt to try. Cut off the unhealthy, brown stem and attempt to start new roots by setting the remaining healthy stem in water.

If you’d like to add mood-boosting plants alongside your lucky bamboo, here’s a list of 10 Indoor Plants for a Healthier Office.
Lucky Bamboo in Water, Lucky Bamboo Growing in Stones, Lucky Bamboo Planted in Soil


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2 thoughts on “Top 10 FAQ for Lucky Bamboo”

  1. Margaret Trezza

    I’ve kept my 2 year old lucky bamboo in bottled water, changing every week. Your info is most helpful and I see that the water should be in distilled water. 1) Could that be why my bamboo is dark grey for about 1 inch up the stalk from the bottom? Today I purchased distilled water.
    2) Do you recommend that I clean off the darkness with Dawn soap? Plain water doesn’t remove the dark area. Thank you!!

    1. Hi Margaret,
      If the darkened area is firm and isn’t spreading, and the remainder of the stem is green, and the plant is producing healthy roots, then you could probably just let it be. It could just be a natural symptom of the stem aging. If the dark area is mushy, that could suggest stem rot. In that case you would want to cut the stem off above the darkened area leaving only healthy green tissue. Sanitize the container using a mix of one part bleach to nine parts water and rinse it thoroughly before refilling with water and putting the stem back in the container. We do not recommend washing the plant with dish soap.

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