Lotus bamboo are so named because they have leaves growing from their tops resembling the sacred lotus flower and their stems resemble those of true bamboo. However, these plants are not related to bamboo plants or lotus plants. In fact, they're members of the lily family. Lotus bamboo grow rapidly in good conditions, and trimming and pruning are essential to keep them attractive and healthy. Pruning and thinning the leaves helps with water evaporation, which prevents mold and fungus growth.
Wait until spring if possible. Springs kicks off the active growing season for lotus bamboo, and your plant will be better able to recover from aggressive pruning.
Examine the leaves for damage and brown spots. Brown spots can be caused by lack of water or too much exposure to sun (sunburn), wind or heat.
Use clean, sharp scissors to snip off only the brown tips, as close to the brown spots as possible. Make sure the brown tips fall away and don't get caught in the foliage, as they can rot and harbor harmful bacteria and fungus.
Remove whole leaves if the foliage becomes too compact and thick. Locate the base of the leaf where it attaches to the node. A node is one of the vertical rings on the outside of the stalk. Use your fingers to pinch off the entire leaf by grasping it between your thumb and first finger and quickly but firmly pinching back. Use sharp scissors if the leaves are too large to pinch back. Understand that leaves will grow back at or below that node, so continual trimming may be necessary.
Avoid trimming the stem or trunk if at all possible. Doing so will remove all foliage that grows from the top of the pant and disrupt the root-foliage balance. It is more difficult for your plant to recover from this type of pruning. If you have disease or fungus at a point on your plant where it's necessary to remove part of the plant at the stalk, use a sharp knife or sharp pruning shears to make a quick cut an eighth of an inch above the node. Discard the diseased portion.