Commonly sold growing in water, the lucky bamboo is not a true bamboo. This vigorously growing evergreen is a Dracaena sanderiana, often referred to as the ribbon plant. This tropical plant thrives in most light conditions but requires, at most, moderate temperatures that fall no lower than 60 degrees F. The plant grows indoors or out (in warm climates), but is susceptible to several diseases which can disfigure the lucky bamboo if left untreated.
Oedema is a physiological disease that results from excessive water intake. The lucky bamboo becomes infected with oedema when its roots take in more water than it is able to process. The infected plant will experience small blisters on its foliage which results from the pressure of the excess water. As the disease progresses, the small blisters develop into hard, tan-colored bumps and the foliage becomes discolored and droopy. Severely infected bamboo will die from the disease. Oedema is easily controlled by reducing the amount of water that is provided to the lucky bamboo. This is no chemical control for this disease and severely infected lucky bamboo should be discarded, according to Cornell University's Plant Disease Diagnostic Clinic.
Powdery mildew is a common fungal disease that is spread by fungal spores. These fungal spores lie dormant during the winter months on fallen debris that rests around the lucky bamboo. The fungal spores are transported onto the foliage of the lucky bamboo during the cool, wet periods of spring. The foliage of the infected bamboo develops small, white fungal spots. These spots accumulate and coalesce until the surface of the foliage displays a powdery, white covering of mildew. The infected foliage of the lucky bamboo experience growth stunt and dieback as a result of the lack of sunlight penetration to the surface of the leaves. Powdery mildew is easily treated with fungicidal treatments. Severely infected foliage cannot be saved and must be removed from the plant.
Leaf spot is a fungal disease that is caused by varying fungi. Like many fungal diseases, the fungal spores of this disease travel onto the foliage of the lucky bamboo after lying dormant on fallen debris. The foliage of the infected bamboo develops small, dark-colored spots with reddish-colored margins. As the disease progresses, these foliage spots decay and die, leaving the leaf riddled with dead spots. Fungicidal spray treatments are effective in controlling and preventing leaf spot when combined with pruning and maintenance.