Dying Leaves on a Bamboo Plant


I have an indoor bamboo plant. I've had it for two years and it has grown very very little. The leaves are green but several bamboo sticks have had to be removed from the shallow bowl because of mildew (turning very black or yellow and those leaves were dying). I pulled the plant out of the bowl today and the roots are really packed and very orange. Should I have been fertilizing the plant? The plant sits in my kitchen with indirect sunlight. I bought it with many sticks in one bowl. The rocks have turned black!


I hope I have given you enough information. Do you want me to send a pictures?

Hardiness Zone: 7a

Marianne from Richmond, VA



In their natural environment, bamboo grows under a canopy of tall, tropical trees. It really needs very little sunlight to grow, so start by examining the light it receives. If your kitchen is bathed in natural light, indirect light might still be too bright. The more indirect light it receives the better. Brown leaf tips are the first sign it's getting an overdose of light. Another factor could be the water you're giving it. Filtered water is best, because city water usually contains fluoride, salts and chlorine that can quickly build up and cause problems. The same is true for watering houseplants. Invest in a filtering pitcher and use it to water your indoor plants (and ideally yourself!). Remove the rocks and wash them thoroughly (in filtered water) before putting them back. Start over with filtered water and give your plant some time to form healthy new leaves. Whether you keep your bamboo in water or soil, it isn't going to get the nutrients you need unless you supplement its growing environment with fertilizer. A houseplant fertilizer will work fine, just follow directions carefully and don't overdo it.



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June 25, 20060 found this helpful

I have never had a problem with mine and it is growing quite large. I add water everyday, use a little fertilizer, a couple drops a month, and have it near the kitcken window in the shade. For your problems I would wash the rocks and let the roots air dry for a day. Clean the pot too. Then use bottled water. I found browning leaves to mean it is getting too much light. Hope this helps a little. Now I need to find out if I can cut the thing in half. My plant is over two feet tall.

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June 27, 20060 found this helpful

Think about potting in in potting soil. I did and mine has doubled in size. Just make sure it has plenty of light and don't overwater but DO NOT let it dry completely out.

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June 29, 20060 found this helpful

Definitely plant it in soil and you will see it grow beautifully. Sadly when I moved a few weeks ago I left behind my plants as I could not take them thinking that the new owners of the house would enjoy them as some of them were as much as 15 years old too. I was a renter there. I went back to pick up my mail only to discover that they had trashed my plants. What a shame!

Good luck with that Bamboo!

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August 3, 20060 found this helpful

Thank you for your feedback, everyone. I dried out the roots. They smelled awful. The roots were orange. Is that normal? After drying out the roots I put them back in with water. I have been fertilizing them also. Still too early to see any difference. I never thought about planting them in dirt. You always see them in water. Since I have so many stalks, I may plant half of them and keep the others in water. I'll keep you posted. Thanks, again. MSL

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April 29, 20070 found this helpful


Could you please help me with the care of these bamboo plants that I got from my Father.

There are two stalks in each tubular glass vase full of water. Both vases are in a sunny window (not direct sun though).In one of the vases, the bamboo plant's leaves are on the light yellow side but some are still green & some of the roots are kind of orangy. In the other vase, most of the leaves are green with only a couple that have a small yellow strip that starts at the beginning of the leave (the part from the stalk, not near the the end of the leaf). The roots in this vase are the regular yellowish green color. My father thinks the plant with several yellow leaves is the one he may have put too much fertilizer in at one point, but he thought it would be ok b/c he eventually emptied the water out & put new water in when he thought that's why the leaves were yellowing (from the fertilizer). The leaves seem to get dusty quickly & I was wondering if I should take a sponge & wipe them down. Will the dust effect their growth. Is it better to not fertilize the bamboo? Are the stalks ok totally submerged in water just like the roots? And one last question...To keep them from growing up into the chandelier over the table they're on, do I take a kitchen knife and just cut the bottom of the stalk? If not please let me know the right way to do this. I really like these plants & don't know if they are fragile or can take all this shuffling around in order to clean the vases and refill the water and so on. Thanks for your help, I really appreciate it.

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July 27, 20070 found this helpful

i bought some bamboo at ikea and on the tag it says to avoid direct sun light and fertilize with mild liquid houseplant food so do i need to get the food for it or will it just live in water?

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July 27, 20070 found this helpful

i bought some bamboo and it says to fertilize with mild liquid houseplant food do i have to buy that or will my bamboo live in just plain old water?

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November 12, 20080 found this helpful

I love my bamboo but the one stalk has turned yellow and the twisted one is starting to turn yellow at the very tip. Any tip on out to transplant mine lives in a vase with pebbles and water.

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