Most Lucky Bamboo plants are sold potted in clear glass containers with decorative glass gems all around the roots. These are ideal since they are pretty to look at, and they help hold your plant up! If you see Lucky Bamboo sold another way (i.e. in soil, bare root) try to look for little glass gems at the dollar store or online to help hold up your plant. Stones or pebbles also work for this. Simply repot the plant into a glass container with water instead of soil. (Lucky Bamboo potted in water is easier to care for than one in soil -- due to the fact that soils carry bacteria and many fungal diseases).
If your Lucky Bamboo container or pot hasn’t been cleaned out in a while, it’s a good idea to do from time to time, both for cleanliness reasons and the health of your plant. As the plant gets larger, its roots will grow longer and begin to fill the pot. It’s a good idea to give these leggy roots a trim. Also, because this plant is (usually) potted in water alone, algae will build up over time on the inside of the container and must be cleaned properly.
Read on to find out how to change the water and clean out your bamboo pot!
A large bowl
A cup with high sides
Your kitchen sink (or a place with running water)
Soap and water
Clean water for your plant
2. Hold plant pot over the bowl.
3. Gently pull bamboo out of the container. Let all glass gems/stones fall into the bowl. Next, clear off all gems from plant roots.
4. Set bamboo into the cup (right); high sides prevent your plant from toppling over. Set aside.
This step helps remove algae buildup and refreshes your gems (which surround the plant and are in direct contact with it); It is important the gems and container remain clean so bacteria doesn’t harm your plant! Changing the water periodically is also useful in preventing plant diseases.
6. If needed (using scissors) trim excessively long roots to a uniform length. You can remove up to (but no more than) 1/3 of the plants’ roots. Doing this keeps the plant from sucking down a whole ton of water, and also makes it aesthetically pleasing when displayed in glass containers.
7. Replace plant into the clean container. Hold the stalks straight and make sure they are centered.
8. Then, replace gems around the roots and stalks to stabilize the plant
Give Lucky Bamboo good light, but not direct sun; this will kill your plant! A western or eastern facing window works very well. Keep an eye out for any spotting or discoloration of the stalks. If you notice this, it means one of two things: either too much water, or the plant is getting too much sun. Fill the container with less water and move the plant to a less sunny location.
Watering and Your Container Size
Depending on the container size, the plant may need more or less water. Clear glass containers work well to help you keep track of the water level. For example, if your plant is small (less than 5” tall) the container won’t need to be filled to the top. If your plant is larger (7-10” tall or taller) you can safely fill the container to the top. (Be careful if the stalks are mostly inside the pot -- filling it with water all the way can cause rotting. If, on the other hand, the stalks are completely above the pot and not really inside [that is, underwater], your bamboo will be safe from rotting)
So generally speaking,
Shallow container – fill to top with water
Deep container – cover roots and fill about ¾ way up
Keep in mind, there are exceptions to this rule; I'm speaking generally here! Be careful when watering, but always keep roots covered. The leaves tend to get a bit dusty, so rinse them off occasionally. Yellowing of leaves does happen sometimes. I find this to be a normal occurrence with Lucky Bamboo. Simply trim them off with scissors to keep it looking nice!
One of the major mistakes people make with Lucky Bamboo is letting the roots dry out. Although the plant can stay alive for weeks (sometimes months) in a dry state, the plant needs regular watering to thrive. On the other hand, I have seen bamboo get too much water – this causes the stalks to turn yellow and rot. Once this happens, the only option is to buy another plant!
I hope this little guide will provide you with some tips on care and maintenance for your plant. If anyone has questions or comments, please let me know!