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Caring for a Dying Bamboo Plant

By Lillian Downey ; Updated September 21, 2017

Bamboo plants are generally hearty and easy to care for. They can survive in less than ideal conditions and even through periods of neglect. Still, you might occasionally find yourself with a sickly-looking bamboo plant on your hands--as with all plants, things can potentially go wrong. If this is the case, you can take several steps to try to reverse the situation and nurture your dying plant back to health.

Determine if your plant can be saved. Your plant may be able to recover from yellow leaves, thin, spindly growth and slight discoloration. If you plant's stalks are mushy or have turned yellow or brown, your plant is dead and cannot be revived.

Use better quality water. Bamboo plants are notorious for being picky about their water conditions. Tap water is usually high in treatment chemicals like chlorine or fluorine, which bamboo plants don't tolerate well. Place your plant on a filtered water diet for one to two weeks and watch closely for signs of improvement.

Change the water more often. If your bamboo plant's water looks cloudy or has a foul smell, it could contain bacteria that's destroying the plant's root system. Bamboo plants need their water completely changed every one to two weeks. Also rinse and clean the rocks or other materials your bamboo plant is sitting in.

Try fertilizing. Bamboo plants do not need regular feedings. In fact, they can go a year or more without plant food and still remain healthy. If your plant is looking weak or spindly, though, add one to two drops of food designed for aquarium plants, the next time you change the water. Regular houseplant food is too strong and must be diluted to a strength of only one part food to 10 parts water. Never fertilize your plant more than one or two times per year, as this is akin to poisoning your plant.

Adjust the lighting conditions. Bamboo plants placed in direct sunlight will yellow, wilt and burn. They are not suitable for sunny windows or other bright locations. On the contrary, if your plant is in a spot where it is not receiving enough sunlight, it will begin to look deflated and the leaves will wilt and begin to fall off. Move this plant to only slightly brighter conditions to see if it improves. If it doesn't, move it slightly closer to the light source. Moving it too quickly can shock the plant.


Things You Will Need

  • Filtered water
  • Aquarium plant food

About the Author


A Jill-of-all-trades, Lillian Downey is a certified Responsible Sexuality Educator, certified clinical phlebotomist and a certified non-profit administrator. She's also written extensively on gardening and cooking. She also authors blogs on nail art blog and women's self esteem.