I have several bamboo plants that the stalks are all yellow/brown but the shoots (leaves) are all still green. What should I do? Is there a way that I can remove the green shoot clusters and re-root them to grow once again?
The plants themselves are about 5 years old, but I have a twisted stalk one that is over 7 years old and under the same light, water, feed everything and it didn't happen to it.
I would truly appreciate any help that you could give as I really feel badly about the loss of these plants. Thanks in advance for your time.
Hardiness Zone: 7a
Sherry from Omak, WA
I am going to assume your talking about ribbon dracaena (a.k.a. Dracaena sanderiana) or as it is commonly referred to, "Lucky Bamboo". In general, these plants are tough and seem to be able to hang on for quite some time even once they enter an apparent state of decline. Once their shoots turn yellow, though, there is not usually a whole lot you can do to reverse the damage and revive them. The good news is, you can still cut off some of the remaining healthy green shoots and root them in water.
I'm curious. Are they all in similar types of containers (ceramic or glass is best)? If the bottoms of the containers hold rocks, are the rocks all the same kind? If not, could some type of metal from either the rocks or container be leeching into the water holding the sick plants?
Are the 5 year-old stalks related to each other (from the same plant)? Are they together in the same container? If so, you may want to remove the sickest stems from the container and change the water to prevent anything from spreading to the remaining stalks.
You said you feed them all the same kind/amount of food, but is it possible that you overfed them? If so, change the water immediately and don't feed them for at least a month. Remember that even though they are all "bamboo", as individual plants the younger plants may still react differently to water chemistry, food, etc., than your older plant.
Normally when Lucky Bamboo stalks turn yellow, it is an indication of something in the water, or a sign that the plant has been overfed. My only other suggestion is to place the bamboo in a dark room for a few days and then bring it back out into the light to see if it perks up at all.
I have lots of bamboo in my yard and the stalks turn yellow as they are dying. The leaves stay green for a short period of time, but eventually they go to brown. I just pull straight up on the brown stalks and they come right out of the ground. Remember that this is the growing season for your bamboo and in a month or two there will be lots of new shoots coming up, so it's not really a problem if a few of them die right now. Once they start sprouting up, I can hardly keep up with cutting down the ones that I don't want (for example the ones that come up inside my hot water heater cabinet or in the middle of my lawn!). (03/17/2008)
I had a bamboo plant in my home for a few years. Then I noticed that it was slowly turning yellow from the roots and moving up the stalk. What I did was cut it above the yellow, place the plant back in water, and it is still alive today.
Hope this helps.
Bamboo is an unbelievably hungry plant for nitrogen. Get some buckets together, head for the nearest herd of cows and gather manure, then pile it on the dirt around the stems when you get home. Lawn fertilizer works almost as well. Make the manure 6-8 inches deep, bury the newer under the older manure to cut smell, and repeat every year. (03/19/2008)
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