How to Rescue Your Bamboo: 6 Essential Care Tips

Bamboos are a genus of over 1,000 different species of woody grasses. Bamboos range in size from giant bamboo, which can grow over 100 feet tall and is common in Asian forests, to much smaller species that grow to be 1 to 2 feet tall and are popular as indoor houseplants. While bamboo is a hardy plant that proliferates and requires little maintenance, bamboo plants are occasionally vulnerable to insect damage and other adverse conditions and must be treated cautiously.

The bamboo plant varieties available have a distinct allure, each with its care requirements. However, bamboo can quickly turn yellow, fade, and die if not properly cared for.

After many failed attempts to maintain vibrant bamboo plants, I discovered what I was doing wrong. Here are some of the tried and true ways that worked for me. 

Signs That Your Bamboo Plant Is Dying

Dried Up Bamboo Leaves
Dried Bamboo Leaves

Whenever my bamboo is dying and not thriving, I usually notice yellowing and drying leaves. There will be little or no new growth, and my bamboo will appear tired and faded.

While older leaves on bamboo naturally die off, your bamboo should not appear dead than alive.

As soon as I notice these signs, I know I must act to save my bamboo. 

How to Revive a Bamboo Plant

Person Planting Bamboos

Bamboo plants are generally quite hardy, and given the right conditions, they can thrive with little care. If conditions aren’t ideal, some plants may begin to wilt, brown, burn, and die. The best approach is to solve the problem before it causes significant damage to the plant. Bamboo, unlike other plants, is frequently past the point of no return when it begins to look bad. It may not be too late to try some interventions if you have a sickly plant.

1. Adequate Watering 

Knowing that bamboo plants can withstand quite a bit, you can be sure that yours has a chance of surviving. You should check to see if you’re correctly watering the plant. People frequently kill plants by giving them too little or too much water. Ideally, you should keep the soil around your bamboo plant from becoming overly dry.

If the soil has begun to dry out a little, check to see if you should water the plant. You want to give your bamboo plant plenty of water but do it sparingly because that might turn out badly. Root rot can develop if you overwater your lucky bamboo plant, and it may be difficult to save it once it develops root rot.

Avoid watering if the soil around your bamboo plant is still very wet. While you shouldn’t let the soil get completely dry, you also need to be aware of the risks associated with overwatering plants. The type of water you give your plant could also be a problem. The tap water in many homes contains chemicals like chlorine, which is unsuitable for your bamboo plant.

Ensure that the tap water you use doesn’t contain chemicals that could harm your plant. The chemicals in your water should be detectable, but if they aren’t, it might be wise to choose the safer option of caution and use another type of water.

When watering your plants, it should be much simpler to achieve good results if you follow the correct procedures. You may not have considered the possibility of chemicals in your water, but you can do something about it now that you’re aware.

2. Improve Lightening

As you might anticipate, your lucky bamboo plant’s general health can be affected by lighting problems. All plants require light to survive, but you must ensure that your bamboo plant receives the ideal light. Your bamboo plant will have significant issues with excessive and insufficient light. It typically needs moderate indirect sunlight to flourish. Direct sunlight will scorch the leaves and make it more difficult for your bamboo plant to thrive.

That being the case, you can’t just leave the bamboo plant in front of a window and hope for the best. The sun may have burned your bamboo plant if it appears a little worse for wear. Examining the leaves will reveal that this has occurred if you notice edges that appear to have been burned by fire or slightly browned. 

Fortunately, relocating your bamboo plant to a better location will solve the problem. Find a spot in your house where your plant can receive some moderate indirect light to thrive there.

If your plant isn’t receiving enough sunlight, try your best to increase its exposure to the sun. To find the best location for moderate indirect sunlight, you’ll need to look at different areas of your home.

3. Give Your Plant a Good Prune

Bamboo is a grass family member, and cutting grass stimulates growth. The same is true for bamboo plants.

Pruning will rejuvenate ailing bamboo because it promotes new growth, removes sickened parts of the plant, and taxes the bamboo, consuming nutrients and energy.

Pruning a bamboo to revive it entails removing weak stems and yellowing leaves, reducing flowering stems because they consume a lot of energy, and removing dead leaves that may limit the amount of sunlight your bamboo receives.

I frequently have to be quite aggressive in pruning my outdoor bamboo, prune back dying leaves with a hacksaw and sometimes a spade, and divide the rhizomes to keep the roots from growing beyond the plant’s ability to sustain.

This helps revitalize my bamboo, and I know that your bamboo will thrive with proper watering and fertilization.

4. Feed Soil With Fertilizers

Your happy bamboo plant may occasionally need more nutrients to improve. This will be an excellent time to think about fertilizing the plant to see if that will help. Your lovely bamboo plant might start to look better again with the help of a small amount of liquid fertilizer.

Of course, you want to ensure that you adhere to the directions when purchasing fertilizer. Avoid using too much fertilizer because doing so could harm your plant.

The happy bamboo plant will now have more energy to fight and, in a sense, recover. It’s important to remember that fertilizer can be helpful whether you grow bamboo plants in water or soil, which is how most people do it.

So long as you follow the instructions and take precautions, standard liquid fertilizer should be relatively simple and produce great results

5. Check For Pests

While bamboo does not succumb easily to most pest species, it is occasionally susceptible to aphid, mealybug, mite, or scale infestations. Bamboo shoots, stems, and leaves are juicy and sweet and attract insects.

So it’s no surprise that only about 100 insect species can attack a bamboo plant.

After a few weeks, the bamboo I planted in my garden began to sicken and wilt, and upon closer inspection, I discovered it was covered in mealybugs, and bamboo spider mites burrowed into the leaves and stems.

To revitalize my bamboo, I removed the infected parts and applied natural insect repellents such as neem oil and baking soda around the roots and over the leaves.

6. Your Bamboo Plant Needs a Larger Pot or Vase

It should be no surprise that your bamboo plant can outgrow its container. Its stalk will eventually grow, which will cause the roots to encircle the pot more tightly.  

You may need to adjust soon if your plant has been kept in a far too small pot. People sometimes refer to a plant as being “rootbound” when its roots are overly crowded.

You’ll be relieved to learn that repotting a bamboo plant isn’t all that difficult in the grand scheme. Simply purchase a pot that matches the current plant size. 

Let the soil get damp, then transfer it to a bigger pot. You’ll likely need to fill the space in the new pot with soil, but this will be simple and shouldn’t significantly shock the plant.

Important Notes

  • Too much direct sunlight is usually the cause of death. Bamboo prefers to grow in bright, indirect light rather than direct sunlight. Too much sunlight causes the bamboo’s leaves to turn yellow and white, drooping and dying, and the stalk to turn yellow and wrinkled.
  • Bamboo turns white due to chemicals in tap water, low humidity, and too much sun, which bleaches the leaves and stalks white. Bamboo requires bright, indirect light and should be watered with rainwater to keep its leaves from turning pale and white.
  • The browning of Bamboo leaf tips is caused by a high concentration of chlorine and fluoride in tap water. Because bamboo is susceptible to chemicals in tap water, it should always be watered with rainwater, distilled water, or bottled water to avoid browning the leaf tips.
  • Overwatering is a common cause of bamboo turning brown. When growing bamboo in water, only the roots should be submerged because the stalk does not tolerate being submerged in too much water, causing the bamboo’s leaves and stalk to turn brown and die.
  • Bamboo usually does not grow because it does not receive enough light. Bamboo requires bright, indirect light to grow.

While a dead bamboo plant cannot be saved, a dying one can be saved and revived. The first step toward ensuring your bamboo’s survival and thriving are determining what is killing it. Add more water if your plan is thirsty. If the soil becomes waterlogged, stop watering and add moss and bark to potted bamboo to allow the roots to drain correctly. Follow up on the soil pH, ensure it’s slightly acidic, and provide organic fertilizer to stabilize your bamboo’s nutrient levels. 

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