Once considered an exotic plant in the garden, many gardeners have discovered that bamboo is a versatile and robust addition to the home garden. Bamboo growth is fast and thick, and can quickly add a lovely and lush feature to the garden in no time. Caring for bamboo plants is easy and simple. Here are a few tips on bamboo plant care to help you.
Sunlight: Lucky bamboo requires moderate or indirect sunlight. Direct sunlight will scorch the leaves, so avoid placing your plant in front of a bright window. Scorched leaves look like how they sound:
The edges of the leaves will have a brown tinge to them almost like they were burned by fire. If your leaves look a little scorched, move your bamboo to an area with less light.
Water: If growing your plant in soil, make sure it’s kept slightly damp. Don’t let the soil get too dry and don’t overwater since that can lead to root rot. Bamboo does not need much water to survive, but it can be grown in water as well. If you choose to grow your bamboo in water, make sure the roots always stay covered with water. Replenish your lucky bamboo with fresh water every seven to 10 days to keep it happy and healthy.
Algae can form in the water, so try to clean out the container and change the water regularly (about once a week). Tap water is okay for the bamboo plant to drink, as long as chlorine levels are low. To be safe, leave tap water out overnight so the chlorine can evaporate before you use it to water your lucky bamboo.
ProTip: If you have high levels of fluoride in your tap water, we recommend using filtered water, such as bottled water. Fluoride will not evaporate and is toxic to plants like lucky bamboo.
Temperatures: Lucky bamboo thrives in temperatures anywhere from 65–95°F (18–35°C), so it makes a great office or house plant. During colder months, be wary about leaving your plant near windows or other places with a cold draft.
Toxicity: Lucky bamboo is toxic for cats and dogs, so make sure to keep it out of reach. If consumed by your fur babies it can cause incoordination, weakness, vomiting, abdominal pain, diarrhea, drooling and dilated pupils. Lucky bamboo is not toxic to humans, however.
Pests: Some common pests that affect lucky bamboo include mealybugs, mites and fungal infections. If you notice grey fuzz on your plant it could be a fungal infection, so remove the infected growth, keep the stalk and leaves dry, and increase air circulation. Mealybugs are small white insects that should be removed manually and with rubbing alcohol. Although mites (presented as white webbing or fuzz) don’t typically affect lucky bamboo, they can be caught by other household plants. They need to be eradicated with water and dish detergent — see plant disease treatments for more detail.
Problems: Your lucky bamboo should be green, but if any part of the stem or leaves are yellow, this indicates your plant could be sick. Remove the yellow part of the stem or the leaves completely so it doesn’t spread to the rest of the plant.
Repotting: How do you know when to repot your bamboo? You should repot once the roots become too tight in the container. Once you see the roots crowding, move the bamboo to a larger container. If your plant is growing in just water, simply move it to a new vase. If you’re using rocks, dump them out, place your plant in the new container (or trim back the roots to use the same container) and replace the rocks. If you’re using soil, dampen the soil, flip the plant with your hand on the stalks and soil to remove the plant, and move it to a larger pot.
Propagation: To propagate a lucky bamboo plant, first identify a healthy parent stalk (should have more than two bamboo segments) with an offshoot. Clip the offshoot from where it connects to the parent plant stalk and remove its bottom layer of leaves to create a new independent stalk. Place the new stalk in a small container of water and nurture the plant as you would a larger one. Repot as needed.