How To Save Lucky Bamboo

How do you provide water for your dracaena? If you’re a gardener like many others, the water is usually tap water.

The issue with tap water is that it can include chlorine, which might cause your lucky bamboo’s leaves to turn yellow and ultimately kill the plant.

There are two ways to make sure you don’t add chlorine to the pot or bowl of your lucky bamboo any longer. The first step is to have your tap water ready. Put the same amount of water that you would feed your plant in a cup or basin. The chlorine will be lost by evaporation. This process takes all night, so prepare the water before going to bed and pour it when you wake up.

You can also convert to filtered water much more quickly. This is something that will help both your family and your houseplants, so it is definitely worth thinking about.

Can the lucky bamboo resurrect?

Lucky bamboo (Dracaena sanderiana), which may be grown outdoors in U.S. Department of Agriculture plant hardiness zones 10 and 11, is most frequently grown indoors. Although it is impossible to resurrect plants, you might be able to salvage struggling lucky bamboo plants. Plants with brown and yellow leaves are more likely to survive than those with yellowing stems.

How can I revive a lifeless lucky bamboo?

There is too much shade, which prevents the growth of lucky bamboo. Lucky bamboo grows best in direct, strong light, which gives the plant ample energy to produce new growth. For optimum growth, make sure the temperature range is between 60F and 75F (16C to 24C).

Place the lucky bamboo in your brightest room, but keep it away from direct sunlight to prevent scorching of the leaves, and make sure the temperature is preferably between 60F and 75F. (16C to 24C).

Even if the temperature is within the desired range, try to prevent rapid temperature changes because they might stress bamboo and inhibit growth.

Place your lucky bamboo away from drafty sections of the house and away from sources of indoor heating.

Replace the water in lucky bamboo plants grown in water about once a month, and add a small amount of all-purpose fertilizer once a month in the spring and summer to encourage growth.

Because lucky bamboo is extremely sensitive to fertilizer, don’t use excessive amounts or apply it frequently as this can cause the leaf tips to turn brown or yellow.

Take into account the fact that lucky bamboo normally doesn’t grow all that much in the winter because of the reduced light.

Key Takeaways:

  • Too much direct sunlight is typically the cause of death. Rather than full sun, lucky bamboo is adapted to thriving in bright, indirect light. The lucky bamboo’s leaves become yellow and white and look to be dying, and too much sunlight also causes the stalk to become yellow and wrinkly.
  • Chemicals in tap water, low humidity, and excessive sun exposure can bleach the leaves and stalks of lucky bamboo, rendering it white. To prevent the leaves from turning pale and white, lucky bamboo needs bright, indirect light and should be hydrated with rainfall.
  • The high levels of fluoride and chlorine in tap water are what cause the tips of lucky bamboo leaves to become brown. Lucky bamboo should always be irrigated with rainwater, distilled water, or bottled water to avoid the leaf tips from becoming brown because it is highly susceptible to contaminants in tap water.
  • The overwatering of fortunate bamboo is frequently the cause of its browning. Only the roots should be buried while growing lucky bamboo in water since the stalk cannot withstand being submerged in excessive amounts of water, causing the leaves and stalk to become brown and appear to be dying.
  • Lucky bamboo typically doesn’t develop since it doesn’t get enough light. For the lucky bamboo to have enough energy to flourish, bright, indirect light is required.
  • Moving the plant to a place with bright, indirect light, only watering with rainwater, maintaining a temperature range of 60F to 75F (16C to 24C), and pruning any dead leaves to encourage the growth of healthy, green leaves are all ways to revive a dying lucky bamboo.

How can a bamboo plant be revived?

Bamboo is one of the plants with the quickest growth rates (and is occasionally invasive), and it can grow in a variety of climate zones. According to Mel Brasier, Garrett Magee, and James DeSantis, A.K.A. the Manscapers, it may make a lovely hedge and help offer a green wall and privacy to any place (opens in new tab).

Bamboo doesn’t require a lot of maintenance, but because of how quickly it grows, you must give it special attention, which includes regular trimming and upkeep. The best advice for maintaining and revitalizing a bamboo plant is provided below…

Why is my blessed bamboo fading away?

The leaves of your lucky bamboo may scorch and appear to be dying if it is exposed to the sun directly throughout the day. They frequently have a yellow appearance and could split in too much sun. The plant’s growth may also be hampered by a lack of direct, bright light.

Can yellow bamboo revert to green?

Is there a method to restore the thick stem of my lucky bamboo if it has become yellow? The plant is approximately 2 1/2 feet tall. I’m grateful. Patsy

Plant guru response:

A lucky bamboo stem won’t revert back to green once it turns yellow. You can leave it alone if the stalk is holding strong. However, I often take the green, healthy stalks out of the container and discard the yellowing stalks. The yellow stalk can produce new ones if it still contains green sections. The procedure for growing fortunate bamboo is described in our blog post We are not always lucky with lucky bamboo.

How can a bamboo stem that is going yellow be revived?

I frequently receive inquiries about how to maintain fortunate bamboo and how to address potential issues like yellowing.

So, in this comprehensive guide to caring for fortunate bamboo plants, I have made an effort to compile and address all of your questions.

What kind of light does lucky bamboo need?

Lucky bamboo thrives in areas with indirect sunlight that are bright. You could either put your plant in front of a sunny window with a sheer drape to block the light or close to, but not directly in front of, a bright window.

Both soil-grown and water-grown fortunate bamboo have the same lighting needs.

I keep my lucky bamboo in the kitchen, far from the window but in a location that receives a lot of indirect light from the wide sliding glass door and window adjacent. It has been there for two years without experiencing any issues.

Lucky bamboo may also acclimate to low-light or shaded areas, but it must do it gradually if it was previously used to a location with intense light. The plant may start to yellow if there is a significant shift in the environment.

To do this, relocate the plant once a week to a spot that is marginally more shaded than the previous week, doing this until it is in the desired spot.

Even though fortunate bamboo is adaptive, it still requires some light to survive, even if it’s artificial.

Your lucky bamboo probably needs more light if its dark green leaves begin to turn light green or yellow. Additionally, the plant may begin to appear stretched out or lanky, and its growth may slow down.

Avoid overcompensating by bringing the plant into direct sunlight and burning it if this is the case. Instead, relocate it to a room with more light and your issue ought to be resolved!

Remember that you won’t see the results until there is fresh growth. Any broken leaves can be cut away rather than repaired. To avoid infecting the plant while pruning, use clean, accurate trimming shears.

Simply wipe the blades of your trimming shears with a clean paper towel or a cloth that has hydrogen peroxide or rubbing alcohol on it to sanitize them.

How do I water my lucky bamboo?

But how much and how frequently you need to water your lucky bamboo plant WILL fluctuate depending on the growing medium you select.

If you grow your lucky bamboo in water, make sure the water only comes up to the level of the roots.

The roots will dry out if they are exposed. However, if the water level is too high and too much of the green stalk is submerged, there is a possibility that the stalk would rot.

Your lucky bamboo is decaying and dying if the stalk begins to become yellow and spongy or if you notice black spots.

If that occurs, I’ll go through how to preserve the portions of your lucky bamboo that are still green later in this essay.

Additionally, you should clean the container and replace the water about once a month. Algae and/or bacteria can develop in the container over time and harm the plant.

Use a non-clear pot or container if you wish to stop or reduce the formation of algae in your water container. Vases and pots made of clear glass let in a lot of light, which encourages the formation of algae.

If you plant your lucky bamboo in soil, make sure the earth is kept moist but not drenched. Interestingly, fortunate bamboo does NOT enjoy sitting in extremely damp, muddy soil (even though it can be grown in water).

Before you rewater, let the top inch or so of soil dry off. You can determine if the soil is wet or dry by putting your finger into it.

Make sure your soil has adequate drainage as well (and your pot has a drainage hole). I prefer to add equal amounts of this perlite to this potting soil mix to enhance the drainage of my soil (so a ratio of about 1 to 1).

The sort of water you should use is the same whether you are growing your lucky bamboo on soil or in water. Distilled water or rainfall is the ideal water type for fortunate bamboo.

Why are the tips of my lucky bamboo leaves turning brown?

Fluoride, chloramines, and chlorine in tap water can cause the leaf tips of your lucky bamboo to turn crispy and brown since these chemicals are sensitive to lucky bamboo. This issue can be resolved by watering your plant with rainfall or distilled water.

In the long run, salts from the tap water might build up in the soil (or water container if you’re growing in water only) and result in brown leaf tips. Periodically leaching or draining the soil can eliminate excess salts (or, if grown in water, by changing the water every few weeks and cleaning the container).

Take your lucky bamboo plant outside and water it until water is consistently coming out of the drainage holes. Allow the water to flow for a minute or so to allow the soil to leach.

Underwatering is not a problem as long as you are watering your lucky bamboo as I previously explained.

I suggest this humidifier if your home’s humidity is below 50% and you live in a dry environment as I do. This humidifier is my favorite since it is quiet, dependable, and maintains the humidity level I specify (unlike many other humidifiers).

Placing a pebble tray filled with water under your pot to induce localized humidity is another, less desirable method. In an emergency, this approach might work, however I’ve found that this humidifier works best.

You can just put up with the brown leaf tips if you don’t want to buy distilled water or worry about reducing the humidity. These have no negative effects on the plant.

Do not be concerned if only a few of the leaves on your lucky bamboo have brown tips. Lucky bamboo just gets unlucky sometimes (and Dracaena plants in general).

You’ll have to wait till new leaf growth to see the effects of any water or humidity changes you make. Although the brown leaf tips cannot be reversed, the plant is not harmed by them. Simply let them expand, and fresh growth will eventually take over. The actual beauty of your fortunate bamboo will then be seen after you cut away any dead or unattractive leaves.

How often should I fertilize my lucky bamboo?

Fortunately, bamboo requires less fertilizer. It can be fertilized twice a year, or possibly not at all.

My lucky bamboo has been growing well for the past two years even though I haven’t fertilized it.

I will note, though, that over those two years I either used tap water or filtered water, meaning that my plant was probably receiving the nutrients it need from the water.

If you use distilled water, which I now do because my lucky bamboo has been developing a lot of brown leaf tips, you might need to fertilize your plant a few times a year because distilled water has had many nutrients removed.


Since bamboos are simply a large grass, cutting them down doesn’t hurt them in any way. The culms (poles) cannot re-grow taller from the spot where they have been clipped once they have been made shorter. This implies that already-trimmed poles won’t need routine maintenance! Branches will still be there below as usual; in fact, trimming will make it bushier. But don’t worry; even if you cut the shoots too short, the cluster will continue to sprout new shoots from the ground each growing season. Just like a poor haircut, it will grow back!

The majority of smaller screening bamboos are FLEXIBLE, which is an additional fantastic bonus! This entails that you can choose the culm you wish to remove while standing at ground level, bend it down, and then cut it off! NO LEGADS! Trimming is now very simple and practical. Additionally, you simply need to cut the yearly growing new shoots.

Big bamboos have thicker, larger culms that are not flexible, yet they can still be cut without causing harm to the bamboos. Remember that some of these magnificent huge species appear best in their natural height and shape; therefore, cutting too short could destroy the original state. Possibly go with a smaller species.


Different bamboo species have varying amounts of branches and bushiness on their culms. Some plants have poles that are naturally clean-stemmed and have leaves on top. Other excellent screening plants have a dense bushy growth from the top to the bottom.

Cleaning out a bamboo’s bottom foliage to highlight the color or style of the culms is a generally desired look. This will produce a highly modern and streamlined appearance. By doing this, the lower plant is also given access to air and light. The top two thirds are left bushy and the lowest third is cleared out in a significant percentage. On some species, you can also produce a “topiary” effect.

If, for instance, your bamboo has some long branches that are growing over a walkway, you can cut them to be shorter. Simply clip the branch to the desired length if you don’t want to remove the entire branch and lose some screening.

In general, you won’t be frequently maintaining this because your bamboo branches won’t prodigiously grow back these removed branches. On the other hand, you can promote new growth with fertiliser water and some TLC if you prune too much and want some density back.


The stems of clumping bamboo grow in a circle, creating what is known as a “footprint” in the dirt. Depending on the species, your bamboo will often cease growing at a certain size. Like dogs, every species has a range of natural size. More information regarding this can be found on our ‘Running vs. Clumping’ page.

You can do the following if you have clumping bamboo and want to plant it in a narrower garden bed (as long as you picked the proper species for this), or if you already have clumping bamboo and want to trim it down:

The outer ring of the bamboo clump often grows new shoots as they emerge from the ground, increasing the size of the clump until it is fully developed. By physically preventing the bamboo from growing to its normal clump size, you can avoid this by burying a root barrier deep into the ground.

(Note: clumping bamboo just spreads outward until it reaches full size, much like a bird of paradise plant does.)

New shoots can also be cut off as they appear because, when young, they are soft and “snappable”—almost like carrots. These shoots are easily knocked over or severed. Don’t pull them up by the roots. This is needless and could have an impact on the entire plant.

Similarly, if you wish to now lessen the size of the grown bamboo, you can also chop off any completely developed culms.


Different bamboo species develop at varying densities, thus some can form dense clumps with a lot of culms while others form sparser, more open clumps with lots of space between them. If keeping your bamboo less dense is what you like, you can:

Throughout installation, keep your growing bamboo from getting too full. A certain number of new shoots will emerge from the bamboo during each growth season. You can decide which branches you want to eliminate and which ones to leave in the clump to grow.

The bamboo shoots are tender and “snappable” when young, nearly like carrots. These shoots are easily knocked over or severed. Keep them at their “roots,” do not remove them. This is needless and could have an impact on the entire plant. These fresh shoots can be eaten as well! They are harvested in this manner.

The second approach to thin out your bamboo clump is to chop off any fully grown culms after it has established and become too dense for your taste. Once more, you have the option of selecting which culms to remove and which to leave. You may make your bamboo as thin as you like! They naturally produce new shoots to spruce up the clump the next season because they are a huge grass.

You can do this as frequently as you like, or you can let your bamboo grow naturally with little upkeep.